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The Matrix 4 release date, title, cast, Priyanka Chopra role and more news

The Matrix 4 with Keanu Reeves
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Get ready to plug in because The Matrix 4 is booting up for a year-end release in theaters and on HBO Max. The fourth installment in The Matrix franchise has been a long time coming — 18 years have passed since The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions were released in 2003. That's basically an adult's entirely life. 

The Matrix 4 is shrouded in secrecy, and director Lana Wachowski has kept a tight lid on the plot. However, some details and rumors have emerged. For one, Laurence Fishburne won't be returning as Morpheus, though the current theory is that Watchmen star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is playing Young Morpheus. Priyanka Chopra is also joining the cast in an unknown role, as are Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris. The latter has called The Matrix 4 filming "intimate" 

The Matrix 4 does not appear to be a remake. Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss are confirmed to be returning, and since they’re significantly older now (though they may not look it), it wouldn’t make sense for the movie to be a prequel, either. We expect this to be a full-blown continuation of the series. 

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. 

The Matrix 4 release date

The Matrix 4 is scheduled for release on December 22, 2021 concurrently in theaters and on HBO Max. 

Warner Bros. committed to releasing all of their 2021 movies on HBO Max, with each one streaming for 31 days before leaving the service. 

The Matrix 4 cast

Original trilogy stars 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.

Most recently, Reeves has starred in the big-budget action movie franchise, John Wick, as the titular ass-kicking antihero, and played a version of himself in the charming romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe. Meanwhile, Moss joined the Marvel/Netflix universe as tough-as-nails Jessica Jones lawyer Jeri Hogarth, a character who also made appearances in sister shows Daredevil, Iron Fist and Defenders.

(Image credit: Ronald Siemoneit/Sygma/Getty)

Laurence Fishburne told Vulture that he wasn't asked to reprise his role as Morpheus. "I have not been invited," he said. "Maybe that will make me write another play. I wish them well. I hope it’s great."

Another original film star who is not returning is Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith. He was reportedly approached to reprise the role but scheduling conflicts precluded his involvement.

There are several cast members who will be back: Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe and Lambert Wilson as The Merovingian.

And The Matrix 4 is adding quite a few new faces: Priyanka Chopra, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Toby Onwumere, Jessica Henwick, Max Riemelt, Eréndira Ibarra, Andrew Caldwell, Brian J. Smith, Ian Pirie, Michael Sommers, Lavish and Ellen Hollman. All of their roles are undisclosed.

The Matrix 4 Priyanka Chopra role

As for what Priyanka Chopra will be doing in the movie, she told Variety that "I can’t say much, but she’s something you don’t expect. What I can say is I finished filming and it was the first movie I did after lockdown and I’ve never felt safer on a set."

Which makes us think her character will be in some sort of hermetically sealed chamber or pod. But since she says her role is something we 'don't expect,' we're thinking it's not one of the pods that humans such as Neo were stuck in.

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. 

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. ScreenRant suggests Matrix Resurrections, which makes sense, considering the film will have to bring back dead Neo somehow.

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. 

Kelly Woo

Kelly covers streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.