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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, more than 15 years later, another Matrix installment is on the way. So grab a spoon, pick a pill, and find out everything there is know about The Matrix 4 (or whatever cool name they decide to give it).

What is The Matrix 4's 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 is scheduled to begin sometime in early 2020. As movies take a long time to film, edit, and perfect the digital effects the movie is likely to need, that pushes the release date out to at least 2021. Summer is still the big blockbuster movie season, so fans probably won't see The Matrix 4 until around that frame in 2021. That would be in keeping with tradition. The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded hit theaters in late March 1999 and mid-May 2003, respectively. The Matrix Revolutions, shot immediately after Reloaded, made its way to theaters in November 2003, less than six months after its predecessor, later in 2003 so as to not keep fans waiting for the trilogy's conclusion. That means it's a possibility that a fourth Matrix could also arrive in some future autumn.

Who's in the cast of The Matrix 4?

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 didn't pull 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. 

Lots of other big names appeared in the Matrix trilogy, including Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith), Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus), and Jada Pinkett-Smith. But as of the initial announcement about The Matrix 4 in August 2019, only Reeves and Moss have locked in their commitment to return to play Neo and Trinity.

Who's making The Matrix 4?

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 4 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 Cloud Atlas screenwriter David Mitchell. 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 4?

Prominently and suspiciously not mentioned anywhere in Variety's August 2019 report about the launch of The Matrix 4 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 suggests The Matrix 4 takes place in a different time (or in a different timeline) than the original trilogy.

Are they rebooting The Matrix?

The news of a new movie set in the world of the original Matrix trilogy starring two members (so far) of the original Matrix cast written and directed by one of the two sci-fi visionaries (so far) 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, The Incredible Hulk) 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 Wachowski siblings 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 the Wachowskis, Keanu Reeves, and Carrie-Anne Moss will be busy with The Matrix 4, this other new Matrix is now old news. Whoa.