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The Matrix 4 Release Date, Cast, And Rumors

In 1999, a daringly original, dazzlingly shot sci-fi classic that had something to say became the must-see blockbuster hit of the year, inspired a new generation of filmmakers, and launched one of the most successful trilogies of all time. Sorry, "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," but we're talking about "The Matrix." Keanu Reeves went from "star" to "legend" with his role as Neo, the leather duster-wearing savior who hooks up with a gang of hackers to infiltrate, expose, and blow up the fake reality in which humans live while machines use their bodies for its energy.

Sequels "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions" followed in 2003, completing the ambitious epic that writer-director siblings Lana and Lily Wachowski set out to tell. Now, nearly 20 years later, another "Matrix" installment is on the way. So grab a spoon, pick a pill, and find out everything there is to know about the long-awaited and highly anticipated "The Matrix Resurrections."

What is The Matrix Resurrections' release date?

When the news of a fourth "Matrix" movie broke in Variety in August 2019, producer and distributor Warner Bros. didn't announce a release date for the film. It did say that production was scheduled to begin sometime in early 2020. As it takes a long time to film, edit, and perfect the digital effects a movie like this one is likely to need, it would take a while for fans to reenter the Matrix. In December of 2019, Warner Bros. announced a "Matrix 4" release date of May 21, 2021.

Unlike "The Matrix" and "The Matrix Reloaded," which hit theaters in late March 1999 and mid-May 2003, respectively," the fourth "Matrix" won't see a spring release, or even an autumnal one like "The Matrix Revolutions," which made its way to theaters in November 2003. Per The Hollywood Reporter, filming on "The Matrix Resurrections" was paused in March 2020 over coronavirus spread concerns, and Warner Bros, accounted for that delay by pushing the scheduled release to April 2022. About six months later, with production picking up, Warner moved up the release date, planning to unspool the film on December 22, 2021, per TheWrap. The same day "The Matrix Resurrections" hits theaters, it'll also be available to stream for subscribers of HBO Max for a limited time.

Who's in the cast of The Matrix Resurrections?

The special effects — particularly that cool "bullet time" trick — were the real stars of "The Matrix" and its sequels, but those films wouldn't have been nearly as good or as memorable if the human actors hadn't pulled their weight. Keanu Reeves proved his action hero turn in "Speed" wasn't a fluke with his role as Neo. Carrie-Anne Moss, at the time of the release of "The Matrix" in 1999, was a little-known talent with a bunch of episodic television credits to her name, but "The Matrix" made her a star. Moss played Trinity, a hacker who managed to escape from the all-encompassing Matrix.

Reeves and Moss quickly locked in their commitment to return to play Neo and Trinity. One actor who definitely won't be back: Hugo Weaving. Due to a scheduling conflict, he's not available to reprise his role as the villainous Agent Smith. Lots of other big names played central roles in the "Matrix" trilogy, like Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus) and Jada Pinkett-Smith (Niobe). Fishburne won't reprise his role, but Pinkett-Smith will, along with Lambert Wilson (Merovingian in "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions") and Daniel Bernhardt (Agent Johnson in "The Matrix Reloaded").

New additions to the Matrix Resurrections cast

In October 2019, the cast of "The Matrix Resurrections" started to take shape. According to Variety, Neil Patrick Harris landed a role that the film's trailer indicated was a therapist (at the very least) of some sort. Harris is primarily a TV performer, best known for his work on "How I Met Your Mother" and "Doogie Howser, M.D.," and "The Matrix Resurrections" will mark his biggest movie yet.

Writer/director/producer Lana Wachowski, per Variety, saw several actors for another secret part "The Matrix Resurrections," later revealed to be Morpheus, the role made famous by Laurence Fishburne in the original "Matrix" trilogy." The right man for the job: Yahya Abdul-Maheen II, a rising star thanks to his work as bad guy Black Manta in "Aquaman" and his work in HBO's "Watchmen" miniseries.

Another new member of the Matrix family: Priyanka Chopra. According to Variety in January 2020, the Quantico star underwent fight training for weeks in anticipation of the film beginning production. In 2021, a Korean "Matrix Resurrection" poster divulged that Chopra is playing the adult version of Sati, a child in 2003's "The Matrix Revolutions" being taken care of by the Oracle. (Fans speculate that Sati may be the new Oracle in "The Matrix Resurrections.") Brian J. Smith and Erendira Ibarra, best known for their work on the Wachowskis' Netflix series "Sense8," will also appear in "The Matrix Resurrections," as will Christina Ricci, Jonathan Groff (of "Hamilton" and "Mindhunter"), and Telma Hopkins ("Family Matters").

Who's making The Matrix Resurrections?

Would it really be a "Matrix" movie if Lana and Lily Wachowski weren't involved? After turning heads with the stylish 1996 crime drama "Bound," the Wachowskis made themselves legends with "The Matrix" in 1999, unveiling a novel premise set in a marvelously realized universe. The siblings co-wrote and co-directed "The Matrix," "The Matrix Reloaded," and "The Matrix Revolutions," but the reports announcing "The Matrix Resurrections" don't note the involvement of Lily Wachowski — Lana Wachowski is evidently going solo this time around. "We could not be more excited to be re-entering 'The Matrix' with Lana," said Warner Bros. Picture Group head 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."

Wachowski won't have to go it totally alone, however — she'll direct from a script co-written with literary figure Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell, who both wrote an episode of the Wachowskis' "Sense8" while Mitchell wrote "Cloud Atlas," turned into a film by the Wachowskis in 2012. John Toll, meanwhile, will handle the cinematography. He previously shot "Jupiter Ascending" and "Cloud Atlas" for Wachowski, and won Academy Awards for his work on "Legends of the Fall" and "Braveheart."

What is the plot of The Matrix Resurrections?

Prominently and suspiciously not mentioned anywhere in Variety's August 2019 report about the launch of a then-untitled fourth movie in "The Matrix" series was the key character known as Morpheus. Nobody said anything about whether the mentor figure would return for the new movie or not, nor was there any mention of the involvement (or lack thereof) of Laurence Fishburne, the actor who played the part in the original three movies.

Not to worry, says Variety reporter Justin Kroll. Shortly after he published his story about "The Matrix 4," he tweeted, "If you've asked yourself, 'Where's Morbius,' [sic] sources have told me this may point to where and when the film is set as I've heard execs are looking a variety of actors to possibly play 'young Morris.' Stay tuned on that front..." And that's about all we know about the plot. The fact that Morpheus might be played by an actor younger than Fishburne (highly likely to be Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) suggests "The Matrix Resurrections" takes place in a different time (or in a different timeline) than the original trilogy.

The film's pre-release plot summary doesn't offer much in the way of details. "Plagued by strange memories, Neo's life takes an unexpected turn," the longline reads, "when he finds himself back inside the Matrix." The film's official trailer, uploaded by Warner Bros. on September 9, 2021, is equally cryptic.

Are they rebooting The Matrix?

The news of a new movie set in the world of the original "Matrix" trilogy starring several members of the original "Matrix" cast directed by one of the two sci-fi visionaries responsible for the original series means that a different "Matrix"-based product is likely no longer happening. In March 2017, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Warner Bros. had started preliminary development of a reboot/relaunch of "The Matrix." Screenwriter Zak Penn ("X-Men: The Last Stand," "Ready Player One") was reportedly in talks to write a detailed narrative plot outline, all because original "Matrix" producer Joel Silver approached Warner Bros. with the suggestion of a revival. The Wachowskis were not involved with that project, and no actors signed up to star, although initial reports hinted that Warner Bros. would've liked to cast Michael B. Jordan. As Lana Wachowski, Keanu Reeves, and Carrie-Anne Moss (among others) all reunited to make "The Matrix Resurrections," this other new "Matrix" is now old news. Whoa.

When did production begin on The Matrix Resurrections?

It takes months for a major motion picture production to get off the ground, what with all the scripting, casting, budgeting, set building, and location scouting. After months of preparation, filming on the fourth installment of "The Matrix" evidently began in early 2020. On February 5, social media user Doug Dalton (as shared by Keanu Reeves fan account Keanu Planet) captured a video of Reeves and a film crew in San Francisco banking some simple footage of a street scene. Not much can be ascertained about the plot of the new "Matrix" from the footage, although Reeves is dressed in "real world" attire of jeans, blazer, and knit cap, not the sleek, all-black, duster-topped ensemble he sported through previous "Matrix" films.

Another Keanu Reeves fan account posted additional footage of the same San Francisco film shoot. It depicts Reeves — along with a small group of extras — receiving instructions from instantly recognizable "Matrix Resurrections" director Lana Wachowski, she of the distinctively styled and brightly-colored hair.