The Matrix 4 is coming, and it's going to be available to stream the same day it hits theaters. Yes, on Aug. 20, 2019, more than 20 years after the first Matrix movie was released, Variety broke the news that a fourth film in the thought-to-be trilogy will soon begin production.
When the first film was released, at the height of the Y2K scare, it fed on people’s fears for the future by thematizing the relationship between technology and the “real world.” Although our world did not end in the year 2000 (for better or worse), people’s fears and curiosities around technology have only increased, with theories that we’re all living in a simulation becoming increasingly popular in just the past few years.
The plot of the Matrix films — humans being used as an energy source for sentient machines and existing in a simulated world, “our” world, called the Matrix — undoubtedly encouraged such philosophizing, and the plot possibilities for the fourth film are ripe for even wilder ideas based on how the world has changed in the past two decades.
Earning global box office sales of more than $1.6 billion, the first three Matrix films have had an indelible impact on pop culture, spawning video games and an anime movie as well as being quoted and spoofed in countless other forms of media. (Also, who *hasn’t* tried the backward-leaning, slow-motion bullet-dodge move IRL?)
With the movies’ high box office earnings and effect on the public consciousness, it’s surprising we haven’t gotten a new installment sooner, but better late than never? Since we know you’re just as excited as us about this news, here’s everything we know so far about The Matrix 4.
Oh, and before we get to the details: The Matrix 4 is definitely not a remake. At least two former cast members are confirmed to be returning, and since they’re significantly older now (though they may not look it), it wouldn’t make sense for it to be a prequel, either. We expect this to be a full-blown continuation of the series.
The Matrix 4 cast
Variety has confirmed that both Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss from the original trilogy will reprise their respective roles as protagonist Thomas A. Anderson (aka Neo, aka The One) and Trinity for Matrix 4.
Most recently, Reeves has starred in another big-budget action movie franchise, John Wick, as the titular ass-kicking antihero, in addition to starring in the Amazon Prime Video rom-com Destination Wedding alongside Winona Ryder and Pixar’s newest Toy Story movie, Toy Story 4, as Canadian motorcycle stunt driver Duke Caboom.
Meanwhile, Moss joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as tough-as-nails Jessica Jones lawyer Jeri Hogarth, a character who also made appearances in sister shows Daredevil, Iron Fist and Defenders, all of which were recently canceled by Netflix.
There’s no word yet on whether or not other prominent cast members, including Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, will return.
The Matrix 4 release date
The Matrix 4 will be HBO Max's year's big (early) Christmas present to fans, coming out on December 22, 2021.
The Matrix 4 plot
When we last left The Matrix in 2003 with The Matrix Revolutions, the machines were at war with the humans of Zion, and it was up to Neo to make a deal to save all existence. This led to a climactic battle between Neo and Agent Smith, the latter of whom caused a potentially greater threat than the machines. Neo sacrificed himself to eradicate Smith and reboot the Matrix, creating a temporary peace in Zion.
Unfortunately, little is known about the plot of the fourth film right now except that it’s “set in the world of The Matrix.” With Neo seemingly dead, it’ll be interesting to see how Reeves will be reintroduced to the franchise, but with overwhelmingly positive reactions to the news of Matrix 4 on social media, we’re sure to find out more details very soon.
The Matrix 4 title
As of right now, the film is being referred to only as Matrix 4, but that title will likely change closer to the film’s release date (similarly to Bond 25, which just announced its official title, No Time to Die, yesterday).
Given the titles of the two existing Matrix sequels — The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions — chances are high we’ll get another R-word subtitle. Renegades? Restitution? Re-reloaded? Okay, these are admittedly all bad guesses, but stay tuned to Tom’s Guide for updates as we learn more.
The Matrix 4 writer and director
Lana Wachowski of the Wachowskis, the sister team that wrote and directed the first three Matrix movies, will return to write and direct Matrix 4. Joining Wachowski on writing duties will be novelists Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell, both of whom wrote for Wachowski’s short-lived but cult-hit Netflix show Sense8. Lana’s sister, Lilly, will allegedly not be returning for reasons unknown, but it’s safe to say the film is still in good hands.