There is often complains from the moviegoing public that Hollywood isn't dealing in original ideas enough these days and that they are a little reboot happy. Hollywood may have gone too far this time. It looks like, as hard as it may be to believe, Warner Bros. is actually looking at doing a reboot or "relaunch" of The Matrix. Yes. This is happening.
Brace yourselves, because this news is coming from a very reliable source and though the project is in the very early stages, it most definitely appears to be a real thing. According to The Hollywood Reporter Warner Bros. is in talk with Zak Penn to write a treatment for Matrix 4. THR made it clear that they don't know what shape the project will take, specifically using the word "relaunch." It could be a full-on reboot, a sequel, or a requel, if you will. Something in between. Either way, this is something fans may need to come to terms with. Warner Bros. is pretty brave, given that The Matrix is one of the most beloved and iconic sci-fi movies ever made. And that may be putting it lightly.
As THR also notes, many folks at Warner Bros view The Matrix as a property that probably shouldn't be messed with, on par with such classics like Casablanca. But, you know, with groundbreaking special effects and Keanu Reeves duking it out with Hugo Weaving. Still, that hasn't been enough to keep those at the studio who feel this is a good idea and that there is money to be made from getting this reboot moving. Even if it is pretty early on in the process. According to THR, they studio is possibly eyeing Creed star Michael B. Jordan for the lead, but a lot would need to happen before those talks could really even begin.
Interestingly enough, it was producer Joel Silver who brought this idea to Warner Bros. He produced The Matrix, but sold his stake in the sci-fi trilogy for $30 million in 2012. Even though he was the man who brought this idea to the table, the studio is wary about bringing him on board because he "not only has a reputation for budget-control issues, but apparently has a strained relationship with the Wachowskis." Speaking of the Wachowskis (Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski), they are not currently involved and what level they would be possibly involved is not yet determined. The siblings directed all three Matrix movies, so Warner Bros. would at the very least probably want them to sign off on it, rather than make waves. It will be hard enough as is to get the general public to accept this idea.
The Matrix is considered among the greatest accomplishments not only in sci-fi, but cinema in general. The sequels were not nearly as well received by either fans or critics and the series didn't conclude in a satisfying way, but still. Messing with this legacy is a risky prospect. As for Keanu Reeves? During the press tour for John Wick: Chapter 2 he discussed the idea of possibly reprising his role in another Matrix movie (possibly The Matrix 4) and was open to it, but only under the right circumstances. Here is what he had to say in an interview with Yahoo.
"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?"
Fans may not have the same "why not?" attitude that Reeves has about it, but Warner Bros. owns the rights and franchises mean big money. So if they can relaunch or reboot The Matrix successfully, that could be a major cash cow. They are reportedly looking to what Disney and Lucasfilm have done with Star Wars for inspiration. We can file that part of this whole thing in the "obvious" folder. Though, the report does say that the idea of a Matrix TV show has been taken off the table and that Warner Bros. could be looking to explore "the hidden corners of the universe with movies such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." There is still a lot that needs to be worked out and this ultimately could fall apart, but there is a very real possibility that The Matrix will be getting the reboot treatment in the relatively near future. You've been warned.