For the first time since 2003, fans will take a trip back inside the simulated reality that is the Matrix for one of the most hotly anticipated upcoming movies, The Matrix 4. The next chapter in the science-fiction franchise, which is currently untitled, has been shrouded in secrecy ever since it was first announced.
The first Matrix film was released in 1999 and told the story of Neo, a hacker who discovers that the world he lives in is a simulated reality. This world, the Matrix, was created by artificial intelligence to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source. The real world has become a barren dystopian society where the few free humans live in hiding. Neo is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, led by Morpheus and Trinity. Morpheus believes that Neo is “The One,” an especially powerful human who is destined to free humanity from the Matrix. The rebels are hunted down by Agent Smith, a sentient program of the Matrix who exists for the sole purpose of keeping humans from escaping. After a confrontation with him, Neo discovers that he has boundless strength and abilities, including the ability to perceive and control the Matrix. In the following sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, an all-out war breaks out between the machines and the people of Zion, the city in which the free humans took refuge. Meanwhile, Agent Smith has become a rogue program and has gained powers on par with Neo. He attempts to destroy both the Matrix and Zion, but Neo makes a deal with the machines to destroy him in exchange for freedom for all humans. Neo succeeds, but he is killed in the process while the world is finally at peace, fulfilling the prophecy.
The original Matrix featured Keanu Reeves in the role of Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, both of whom are confirmed to be returning for The Matrix 4. Since Neo died at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, fans are curious as to how he will return and in what capacity. Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving, however, will not be returning as Morpheus and Agent Smith. Virtually nothing is known about the premise of the film, but fans can assume that it will be going in a different direction than the first three due to the conclusion of the war between humans and machines and the numerous first-time cast members.
While many fans are ecstatic that the Matrix franchise is making a comeback, others expressed concern. Some feel that The Matrix 4 coming after all this time is yet another example of studios trying to milk as much money as they can out of a big-name franchise. When you consider that The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were far less well-received than the original Matrix, there is some validity to that claim. Nonetheless, Lilly Wachowksi, one of the creators of The Matrix who is not involved in the new film, was confident that her creation is in good hands. Wachowksi stated, “I like it when stories go out into the world and then come back to you in different ways. I mean, that’s what storytelling is all about. I’m part of a bigger thing. I don’t have any ownership over stuff like that, so whatever story anybody wants to tell, I can’t wait to hear. I hope it’s better than the original.”
The Matrix 4 is scheduled to be released theatrically on December 22nd, 2021. It will also stream digitally on HBO Max in the United States for a month on that same date.
Media by Cole Simpson.