The Matrix Reboot Is In Active Development
Zak Penn is writing while Michael Jordan is being eyed for the lead
It’s been almost two decades now but The Matrix continues to remain a sci-fi darling. Both the movie and the franchise are widely regarded as some of the most intelligent stuff to embrace the big screen. The first movie is widely regarded as one of the best science fiction movies ever made. Its sequel, The Matrix Reloaded pushed boundaries and refused to settle for being a flat out rehash of the first one, and remained the highest grossing R-Rated movie of all time for a long while. And ever since the story concluded (or reached a satisfying climax) with The Matrix Revolutions, fans have been wondering if the franchise will ever make a return in some form or the other. Multiple rumors and fake scripts have made the rounds over the internet claiming a Matrix reboot being planned or Keanu Reeves reprising his role as Neo but none gained significant traction and were all eventually dismissed as heresay.
The rumors may not have fallen on deaf ears though. Warner Bros. it appears has not only been listening but is now actively pursuing development of a possible Matrix franchise. It’s too early at this stage to determine whether it will be a spin-off, a prequel, a reboot or a direct sequel (less likely). What is known though is that Warner Bros. is definitely interested in bringing The Matrix back as a franchise and is courting or at least keen on landing Michael B. Jordan for the lead role. For those unaware of that name, he played the lead in Ryan Coogler’s Creed and teamed up with the director again for the antagonistic role of Erik Killmonger in Black Panther. He also played Johnny Storm in the 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four and has been gaining quite some cred in the film fraternity thanks to his high-profile roles.
Zak Penn has been tapped to write in a draft. For those unaware of him, he has written several high profile comic book movies including X2: X-Men United, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, The Incredible Hulk and Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Ready Player One. He also turned in a draft for The Avengers although it was heavily reworked by Joss Whedon. Clearly, he’s gained considerable clout among the nerd community and has in fact been proactively pestering Warner Bros. for revisiting the franchise, as he revealed to Screen Rant in an exclusive interview.
I’ve been working on Matrix right now. Which is in…a phase right now. That’s a franchise I desperately want to see brought back and, I can’t go in to too much detail, but I’ve been harassing Warner Bros. for years to try to get it going again so that’s one thing I’m working on and I’ve been working on a bunch of other things too.
There are some stark similarities between the central premise of The Matrix and Ready Player One in that both revolve around virtual worlds where people comfortably lose themselves in. The difference lies in the fact that people visiting the OASIS in Ready Player One are at least aware to a huge extent that they’re in a virtual world unlike The Matrix where people are enslaved in a digital representation of their own reality, mostly against their will. The comparison was not lost upon Penn as he explained:
I will fight people who don’t under…look, I think OASIS (the interconnected virtual space in Ready Player One) is similar, both the Matrix and OASIS are similar in that they are brilliant ideas for universes. And they are not, you know, when it came out about Matrix, people were like ‘Oh no, there going to reboot Matrix’ I was like, Why, I’m not insane. I mean, the Matrix is still one of my favorite…they’d re-release The Matrix and people would go see it.
It’s good to see Penn excited about The Matrix in the right way. It also seems like he’ll avoid taking the cheap way out and would come up with a clever way to rejuvenate the franchise. While some of the movies he’s written may not have turned out that great, it may not entirely have been his fault. For instance, The Incredible Hulk had many scenes involving some excellent heavy dialogue between its characters that got chopped off at the editing table, resulting in the final product feeling a bit shallow and devoid of strong characterization.
At this point I have mixed reactions to the news. While I’m excited that one of my most adored franchises of all time is returning back, I’m also skeptical of poor reboots. Not all franchises are successful when returning back after a long hiatus, the Terminator movies being a case in point. And the last thing I’d want for The Matrix is to end up like a mere shell of itself, especially when its story concluded on such a strong note. It’s still too early to analyse anything since the final product may be years away or may not even end up happening. But as and when there’s any concrete development on this, we’ll be up there on the scoop to let you know. Stay tuned.