In 1999, the world was introduced to the idea that we were all living in a simulated reality, thanks to the movie The Matrix. Now, nearly 20 years later, Warner Bros. is reportedly working on a reboot of The Matrix. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Matrix remake is in the early stages of development and so far, the original creators — the Wachowskis — and the original star — Keanu Reeves — have nothing to do with the film. What is the simulated world coming to?
While the two sequels to The Matrix — The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions — were less well-received, the original film starring Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving is iconic. Even if sci-fi isn't your thing, The Matrix was unstoppable at the turn of the millennium with other movies being influenced by its fight scenes and style for years. That, along with the fact that The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Zak Penn will be writing the reboot — not Lana and Lilly Wachowski (who were Larry and Andy, respectively, when they created The Matrix) — has led to some understandable skepticism from fans of the original franchise. The Wachowskis not only wrote The Matrix, they directed it, and are the two people responsible for making the movies what they were.
Another factor that is likely to upset fans is that Reeves — who portrayed Neo — is also not involved in The Matrix reboot right now. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that sources have said there is interest in Michael B. Jordan to star in the remake. While I have nothing against Jordan, whom I have loved since The Wire, his potential casting will inevitably be met with cynicism because of fans' feelings toward the entire project. If Jordan is cast, it's too early on to say if he'll portray Neo — or a version of "The One" — but either way, it doesn't look good for Reeves to be included.
Reeves brings out complicated feelings in me as a movie fan (can he act? can he not act? is this all intentional?), but what's certain is that he defined the role of Neo. As he proved in 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2, he is also still a bonafide action star, so perhaps there is a chance that Reeves could take on a different role — like Fishburne's Morpheus or Weaving's Agent Smith — in the remake. That is, of course, if Penn's reboot will follow the story of the original Matrix.
However, Reeves spoke about the potential of doing another Matrix film to Yahoo Movies UK while promoting John Wick: Chapter 2 just this February. He was specifically asked if he would do a Matrix 4 (which is quite different from a reboot) and Reeves said:
"The Wachowskis would have to be involved. They would have to write it and direct it. And then we'd see what the story is, but yeah, I dunno, that'd be weird, but why not?"
With the Wachowskis not being currently involved, that doesn't look promising for Reeves to be in it either.
If all of this news has you distraught as a Matrix fan, the first thing to remember is that the reboot is very early on in development, so a lot could change over the next months and years. If Warner Bros. is going through with this though, one suggestion I was intrigued by was the idea of gender swapping the roles — à la Ocean's 8 —that Twitter user @Letagere proposed.
Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany being cast as Neo sounds like the only suitable reboot solution to me, but fans of The Matrix will just have to wait in their own fake realities for the time being to see what will become of this remake.