Fanboys and girls, along with everybody else in Hollywood, were overwhelmed to hear that there is going to be another Matrix movie. Then, once a tiny bit more information was doled out, people discovered it wasn't a rehash at all. The Matrix 4 isn't going to be a reboot or a remake. Rather this film is going to be a prequel or sequel, and may even focus on a young Morpheus. Then again, maybe it won't be any of those things. Like the Matrix itself, what is real and what is not, all depends on your perception of reality.
No amount of conjecture is really going to make a new film in Warner Bros.' Matrix canon anything at all. The film is going to be what it is, and that will be that. However, beyond the conjecture, there are going to be things that this Matrix film needs. There are aspects of what came before in this franchise that need to be served (or at least acknowledged) in this new installment. At the same time, these things can't be relied on, otherwise this will simply be a repeat of what viewers have already seen.
The Matrix burst onto screens in 1999 and completely knocked out the world of cinema. Some might cite the special effects. Others might cite the biblical undertones of a story told in the cyberpunk world. Even more might see the film as a manifesto for the world we live in. With so much information coming at us nowadays (much more than we had nearly 20 years ago), we don't know what is real or fake.
The original Matrix was ultimately the story of Neo (Keanu Reeves). He's a hacker who isn't doing much with himself, and suddenly he's thrust into a war with people who control his reality. The story was big, bold, yet simple enough to make many wonder why they hadn't brought a similar story to the big screen much earlier than the late 90s.
Now, with a new film in the The Matrix franchise being discussed, the question seems to be one of appreciation. How can a new film in The Matrix world be a worthy part of this groundbreaking franchise? One knows that nothing in Hollywood is 100%. What we do know is what we don't want to see. So it is without further conjecture that we give you 9 things a new Matrix movie needs."
The newest installment in The Matrix franchise needs to severely break from the past. Take a page from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and look back but be forward thinking. The reason why that film works is because with or without the other Star Wars film, The Force Awakens is a great piece of storytelling. Honestly, The Matrix doesn't have the history or lore that Star Wars does. It does have history and lore. Everybody knows the story of Neo. Whether The Matrix is a prequel, or even if it ends up being a reboot, it's got to feel fresh. It needs to feel grand in its scope, yet restrained in how it tells this new tale. It can have a link to the past but that can't be all that it has. We need a new story, but that story needs to be able to stand on its own.
Keep it diverse.
Matrix diverse cast
One thing that made the original films in The Matrix franchise work, is that they were inclusive. This might seem like common sense but oftentimes inclusivity isn't handled that way. Sure, they will have actors that represent a broad demographic, but those actors won't be the main story. This new Matrix film needs to build on what it did with the first three films. It needs to cast the right actors, while at the same time showing how diverse our world is. Reality isn't just for a privileged few. We all get to experience it. As such the people coming to see this film should be seeing a film that represents their reality.
Tell a totally different story.
The current rumor about the new Matrix film's storyline is that it will follow the character of Morpheus. There's also a rumor that Michael B. Jordan (Creed) will be playing this character. Whatever happens with The Matrix prequel, reboot or whatever it is, this film can't simply be a retread of what we've already seen. There is no benefit to that for the characters or the franchise. First of all, part of what made The Matrix so awesome was how this fractured reality story seemed to come out of nowhere. That it told a tale we had kinda seen before (but not really), only seemed to bolster its credibility. Truthfully, the other two films in this franchise were not as amazing as they probably should've been. Heck, the third film felt like it was made with leftovers from the other two. Still, enough time has passed that people would be stoked on a new Matrix movie. More to the point, they'd want to see just how far down the rabbit hole this world goes, not simply where it's been.
Bring back the Wachowskis.
Matrix directors The Wachowskis
At present Lana and Lilly Wachowski are not involved in this new Matrix film. In fact, Keanu Reeves has gone on record as saying that he is up for another turn as Neo (more on that later), however, he would only come back if the Wachowskis came back. The big question is why wouldn't Warner Bros. give them the chance? Who knows? Maybe they offered this project to Lana and Lilly and they turned it down. These are two iconoclastic directors. They might see re-entering the world of The Matrix as a dry heave. However this plays out, these two should be involved in some way. Maybe not as directors or even producers. Perhaps, they could use their particular sensibility and knowledge of the material to be in charge of the story? Maybe they could write the script? It just doesn't seem right to have a new Matrix film on the docket and not have these people involved in some way.
Respect for the lore of The Matrix.
This article has been very pro moving things in new and fresh directions. I am not backing away from that. What I am imploring the creators of this new Matrix film to do is not make things so new that they in no way represent the old. The idea of The Matrix films is the need to open our eyes. It is the need to face reality. That needs to be the cornerstone of this new Matrix film. The idea that we all have the choice to know the truth about our lives has never been more apparent. We are living in a very fractured world. In a place where people benefit by us not getting along, The Matrix tried to show us that once we open our eyes we would feel compelled to act. Once we had knowledge that we couldn't ignore, we would have to face the facts of our world around us. Hopefully, this new Matrix film will have that and not merely a nod to the blue and red pills.
Expend previous characters' backstories.
Matrix character backstories
If the new Matrix film expands the story of Morpheus, it only seems right that we find out more about other characters. Who might these characters be? Truthfully, it doesn't really matter as long as they expand on Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). Yes, it would be great to know more about Trinity, the Oracle, Cypher and the other others. Heck, it might even be nice if they could flesh out Marcus Chong's Tank character. However, all of that pales in comparison to finding out about Agent Smith. Why is he the way he is? What has happened to him (or, I should say, the person who created his AI program) to make Agent Smith the bloodthirsty entity that he is? Sure, they delved into this a little bit in the other Matrix films, but it would would be nice to really get to the bottom of this in the new one.
Reference Neo in name only.
This might sound odd considering that Keanu Reeves has said that he would come back. However, if the new Matrix film is about a young Morpheus, couldn't it also somewhat be about a Young Neo? Keanu Reeves wouldn't even have to play him. Considering how forward thinking these films are, couldn't they do a CGI version of a younger Keanu Reeves ala Rogue One? Another idea is that this new Matrix film, if it is a prequel, could actually end right when Morpheus decides to make contact with Neo in the original Matrix film. Or, if they want to really build upon the world of The Matrix, they could have three prequels (there's that link to Star Wars again) and then they could all lead up to Morpheus's first, legendary encounter with his favorite student.
A lot less dialogue.
This might seem like a no brainer. It isn't like The Matrix movies are known for being Fences. At the same time, they're not known for being Silence either. My biggest gripe with The Matrix Reloaded was when Neo meets up with the Architect and proceeds to have an unnecessarily long conversation. It doesn't work for many reasons. The main one being that it is too long. The other one being that it attempts to explain everything about the matrix and thus ends up making things more confusing. The problem with The Matrix Revolutions is that it hardly had any dialogue. It honestly felt like this franchise had run out of storytelling steam by this point. The new Matrix films need to be more even. They can still tell out of this world stories, but they need to keep them dialed back. If the new saga of The Matrix doesn't need to be three movies, darn it, don't make three movies and focus your story elsewhere for the other films. Which leads me to...
Don't let the franchise overstay its welcome.
To put this as bluntly as possible, The Matrix isn't Star Wars so it shouldn't try to be. The first film in the Matrix canon was out of the box insane and interesting. The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were not. This franchise would've been better served if they had just made 2 films. The creators could've kept the first Matrix film as it was. Then they could've combined The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. By doing this, they would've made two stellar films that would be seen as untouchable. In fact, it could've set a precedent for this series would've made it even more special. Aside from more money for this franchise (which is obviously a huge consideration), there's no reason to make more films than are necessary. This is why the Wachowski's are needed. They can make demands that will keep this world as contained as it needs to be. And if it's not the Wachowski's behind the camera (or somewhere involved in the storytelling process), then it needs to be a director with their artistic credibility.