This article about the film The Matrix Resurrections was originally published on January 12, 2019 and updated on January 16, 2022 following the movie’s release. Read on for the original article, with some new changes to reflect the latest updates on this topic.
Do you still know kung fu? Nearly two decades after the original trilogy ended, the fourth movie about Neo and humanity's war with the machines arrived in theaters and HBO Max in 2021.
Lana Wachowski, one-half of the Wachowski siblings who wrote and directed the original movies, returns as the sole director along with novelists David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon joining her as co-screenwriters. Here’s everything you need to know about The Matrix Resurrections, including new and returning cast members, whether other sequels are in the cards, and more.
When is the release date of Matrix 4?
The Matrix Resurrections released on December 22, 2021.
The movie was released both in theaters and on the streaming platform HBO Max. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, Warner Bros. announced in late 2020 it would release its entire 2021 film slate in both theaters and on HBO Max, where audiences still abiding by quarantine and lockdown orders can watch new movies like The Matrix Resurrections. The movies would be available at no additional cost.
Before the pandemic, the movie's original release date was May 21, 2021, which would have put the movie in competition with the fourth John Wick movie, also starring Keanu Reeves. In case you're wondering, John Wick 4 (final title TBD) had its release date pushed to 2022.
Wait, there is seriously a fourth Matrix film?
Yes! News of a new, fourth Matrix film surfaced in an exclusive Variety story in August 2019, where Warner Bros. producers confirmed the movie's development.
“We could not be more excited to be re-entering The Matrix with Lana,” said Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich. “Lana is a true visionary — a singular and original creative filmmaker — and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing, and producing this new chapter in The Matrix universe.”
Principal photography for The Matrix 4 began in February 2020 and continued until March. When the coronavirus pandemic began and kept the movie from filming in Europe early on, a reported eight weeks were added to the films' original schedule. In June 2020, TMZ published paparazzi photos of the movie resuming filming. In an interview, Keanu Reeves said that the pandemic did not "interrupt" the creative rhythm of the movie.
I missed out on the late '90s and early '00s. What is The Matrix?
The Matrix is an influential series of science-fiction action films that arguably defined mainstream sci-fi at the turn of the 21st century. The series famously starred Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Ann Moss, Laurence Fishburne, and Hugo Weaving, who played the villainous "Agent Smith."
The premise of The Matrix is that our "real" world is not real, but a false simulation we are forced to "live" in. In the real real world, mankind lost a war to advanced machines with sophisticated artificial intelligence. Aside from the few humans who live in Zion, the last living human city residing near the Earth's core "where it's still warm," most humans are no longer born but "grown" to power the machines. (Think of humans as batteries.)
In The Matrix, Neo (Reeves) awakens from the Matrix simulation and is recruited by Morpheus (Fishburne), a zealot who believes that Neo is "The One," a prophetic messiah said to end the machines' rule and lead humans to reclaim Earth.
There are four films in the Matrix saga:
- The Matrix (1999)
- The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
- The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
- The Animatrix (2003), an anime anthology made up of nine short films. Though the movie was only released on DVD and aired on Cartoon Network, fans consider the movie equally important to the theatrical movies and necessary to understand the complete story. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss reprise their roles for segments in The Animatrix.
Creators Lana and Lilly Wachowski cite a great many influences to The Matrix, including the 1927 film Metropolis, the action movies of Hong Kong director John Woo, science-fiction literature (especially the work of authors Wiliam Gibson and Philip K. Dick), American comic books (Grant Morrison's The Invisibles), Japanese manga and anime (the movies Ninja Scroll and Akira), and religious mythology and philosophy.
Many critics also frequently point out Matrix as a transgender allegory. This was confirmed years later by Lilly Wachowski herself.
"The Matrix stuff was all about the desire for transformation but it was all coming from a closeted point of view," Wachowski said in an August 2020 video produced by Netflix. "I'm glad people are talking about the movies with a trans narrative. I love how meaningful those films are to trans people." The Wachowskis themselves are trans women, having come out and transitioned in the years after the films' release.
Where can I watch the trailers for Matrix 4?
The first trailer for The Matrix Resurrections was released in September 2021. You can watch it below:
And you can also check out the final trailer, which features more eye-popping visuals and pulse-pounding action.
What is the plot and story of The Matrix 4?
The Matrix Resurrections is a sequel to the trilogy from almost two decades ago. Taking place sixty years after the events of The Matrix Revolutions, it finds Neo living a quiet, seemingly ordinary life as a video game developer. However, he’s been plagued with being unable to distinguish dreams from reality.
His reality soon comes crashing down when he’s visited by a group of rebels, led by a programmed version of his old friend Morpheus. They reveal to Neo that he has been trapped in a new version of the Matrix. What’s more, he needs to escape and fight a new enemy who holds his love (and previously-assumed dead) Trinity.
Who stars in The Matrix 4?
Only a handful of the original Matrix trilogy cast return in The Matrix 4. The rest of the cast is made up of newcomers, though they're hardly no-name faces:
- Keanu Reeves as "Neo," the protagonist of the original trilogy.
- Carrie-Ann Moss as "Trinity," one of Neo's mentors and love interest in the original trilogy.
- Jada Pinket Smith as "Niobe," a supporting character from The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. The captain of the nimble, three-person ship Logos, Niobe is one of the few to have killed an Agent and survived an encounter with Smith.
- Lambert Wilson as "The Merovingian," a secondary villain in both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Wilson reprises his role from the movies. He is characterized as a leader of a crime syndicate. As a "trafficker of information," the Merovingian runs a smuggling ring for exiled programs.
The new faces to the franchise are:
- Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen, Aquaman) as “Morpheus,” a programmed version of the hacker of the same name who freed Neo from the Matrix in the original trilogy.
- Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist) as “Bugs,” a blue-haired gunslinger and captain of the hovercraft Mnemosyne.
- Jonathan Groff (Frozen, Mindhunter) as “Smith,” Neo’s business partner within the Matrix, and the newest face of the agent played by Hugo Weaving who served as Neo’s nemesis.
- Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) as “The Analyst,” Neo’s therapist and the creator of the current version of the Matrix.
- Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Quantico) as “Sati,” an exile program created without a purpose. A version of the character appeared in The Matrix Revolutions, played by Tanveer K. Atwal.
Laurence Fishburne, who starred as Morpheus in the original film series, was "not invited" for The Matrix 4, according to Fishburne in a New York Magazine interview in August 2020. Fishburne said of his exclusion: “I have not been invited. Maybe that will make me write another play. I wish them well. I hope it’s great,” Fishburne said.
Who else worked on Matrix 4?
Aside from Lana Wachowski, Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell helped out on the script. Both previously contributed to the Wachowskis’ Netflix science-fiction series Sense8. Mitchell also wrote the novel Cloud Atlas, which the Wachowskis adapted into a movie in 2012.
Legendary Hong Kong martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping, who designed the onscreen action of the first three movies, did not return for the fourth Matrix movie.
Where can I watch the original Matrix movies?
Once upon a time, all four Matrix movies came and went on Netflix on a regular basis. However, ever since the launch of HBO Max, all the Matrix films became permanent staples on the WarnerMedia streaming service, HBO Max. You can also purchase the movies through your preferred digital storefront, including iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, etc.
What did critics have to say about Matrix 4?
The Matrix Resurrections has a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 57 on Metacritic. Reviews have been mixed, praising the visuals and cinematography, but criticizing the recasting of certain characters from the previous films and a general lack of originality.
Will there be any more Matrix movies?
One could assume that The Matrix Resurrections could be a, well, resurrection of the franchise. But that appears to not be the cast in the immediate future. Producer James McTeague told Collider after the film’s release that there are currently no plans to make any other Matrix movies. But he did imply the film left the door open for possibilities down the line, such as covering the period of time where Neo lived in the new Matrix before being pulled out.
The Matrix Resurrections was released in theaters and HBO Max on December 22, 2021.
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