When Neo took the red pill instead of the blue one in the first Matrix movie, no one could have guessed that we were in for a three-movie blockbuster ride. Now, when Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski have decided to resurrect the franchise with ‘Matrix 4’, is there reason to expect it won’t lead to another trilogy with ‘Matrix 5’ and ‘Matrix 6’?
‘The Matrix: Resurrection’ will hit theatres on the second last weekend of this year. The movie is the fourth instalment of a franchise that transformed cinematic capability. While the makers have tried to keep the ‘Matrix 4’ information archive thin, there’s plenty of food for thought and pieces of the puzzle to collect about it, starting from the title but not limited to it. At the centre of all the ‘Matrix 4’ buzz all is an earth-shattering idea that was neither confirmed nor denied. And finally, there are those small hints that fans with Matrix PhDs can pick up on to figure out that we are, yet again, in for a roller coaster trilogy.
The Title – ‘Matrix 4: Resurrection’
The Matrix franchise revealed the official title of the fourth film as ‘The Matrix: Resurrection’. The title was confirmed by one of the movie’s makeup artists Shunika Terry who mentioned it on a Twitter post. While falling in line with the tradition – the second and third instalments were called Reloaded and Revolutions – the name gives us a teeny tiny hint of what to expect.
The first big and obvious clue into the movie from the title is the resurrection of the protagonist pair, both of who died in visible and evident ways. Both Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are back reprising Neo and Trinity. Trinity sacrificed her life on a mission in the city of the Machines while Neo did so to kill Agent Smith in the final battle at the end of part three ‘Matrix: Revolutions’ which concluded the first trilogy.
But the more profound but less apparent clue is in the plot of the entire project – that is the revival of the Matrix universe. While there are many questions and debates that still rage on fan forums, the trilogy brought a satisfactory and undeniable conclusion to the original storyline. It solved most of the mysteries of the first Matrix movie. The climax was a brilliant resolution for the storyline as humans and the machines broker peace. Now, the new title directly hints at one facet of the Matrix – that was never confirmed in the original trilogy – but was never denied by the makers of the universe. The “Matrix in a Matrix” theory.
The plot and scope for another trilogy
Right at the end of the second movie, an idea emerged – that the real world was not real. That the real world too was a simulation. It’s difficult to point out who exactly came up with this thought but it became the biggest unconfirmed detail about the Matrix. The theory resolved a seeming glitch and answered two big questions about the Matrix universe.
There were two particular scenes in ‘Matrix: Reloaded’ that were based on this underlying idea, quite evidently. When Keanu Reeves aka Neo performed telekinesis in the real world, which was something thought to be only possible inside the program. The other was Agent Smith’s possession of Bane in the real world when he himself was limited to the Matrix.
One thing that Reloaded certainly did was to blur the boundaries between the real world and the Matrix. But one is cautioned to think that anything is possible. Because science needs a reason. The most plausible explanation, even if Wachowskis restrained from outing it, is that the Matrix is bigger than the real world – the overarching structure. Nevertheless, once the idea was in the open, the makers did toy with the fans. Blind in real life in Zion, Neo could see in the Matrix because he was able to see the computer codes. But then a blind Neo was shown able to see the machines in the real world. This all but confirmed the idea.
And now, after twenty years, when Lana Wachowski has decided to bring back the Matrix with Keanu Reeves, a phenomenon once again, the idea is very much out there to play around with, which could very well mean not just ‘The Matrix: Resurrection’ but a second trilogy with parts 5 and 6 as well.
Keanu Reeves hint at future possibilities
The majority of filming for the fourth part of the Matrix franchise concluded in November 2020 after Covid-19 forced a five-month delay. Earlier, star Keanu Reeves had revealed that ‘Matrix 4’ won’t be a prequel film to the original trilogy that concluded in 2003. Instead, it will take off after the resolution in Matrix Revolutions.
Apart from the returning core characters Reeves, Moss, and Jada Pinkett Smith who plays Niobe, ‘Matrix 4’ is mostly made up of young new entrants Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff and Priyanka Chopra. The fact that a bigger part of the cast is made up of young newcomers is also reason to believe that Keanu Reeves might not be the only major protagonist ‘Matrix 4’ onwards.
The first movie pushed the boundaries of what Hollywood could achieve. Likewise, we already have confirmation that Lana Wachowski is well on her way to rethink cinematic depiction, with the “never-before-seen camera rigs” and Jessica Henwick’s the movie will “change the industry again” comment. Henwick is set to be a core character of what could be the second Matrix trilogy (if ‘Matrix 4’ hits home at the box office, of course), and could very well take up the mantle from Keanu Reeves as the protagonist in the new storyline.
Layers of artificial realities, all warped inside a matrix – a computer program. The idea was so novel that not many could comprehend the enormous universe and storyline it could etch. But it would be a folly to think that the Wachowskis too was as ignorant about the scope of their endeavour. At the turn of the millennium, the Matrix helped us widen our horizons through a shape-shifting time-transcending trilogy. Twenty years later, we are set for another ride as ‘Matrix 4’ makes its way into the theatres and on HBO Max with the release now scheduled for December 22, 2021.