Before Resurrections, Warner Bros. wanted Michael B. Jordan for a Matrix reboot or prequel without the Wachowskis, but it’s unlikely to happen now.
In 2017, a Hollywood Reporter article claimed that Warner Bros. was developing a reboot of The Matrix and was aiming to get Michael B. Jordan to star in a revival of the long-dormant franchise. Zak Penn, best known as a co-writer of superhero movies like The Avengers and X2, was attached to write at treatment and later confirmed that he was involved in a potential revival. However, this Matrix reboot never came out, with Lana Wachowski instead returning to helm a direct sequel in The Matrix Resurrections. While there was no official cancellation, it seems very unlikely we’ll ever see Jordan’s Matrix reboot.
According to the Wachowskis, Warner Brothers had long wanted to make a fourth Matrix movie, but the original creators and cast were reluctant to return, and the studio struggled to find the right concept. Penn later said that his movie would be set in an expanded Matrix universe and star a character who was either an ancestor or descendant of Morpheus, which would presumably have been Jordan’s role. He even teased that the revival could turn The Matrix into a broader cinematic universe.
The biggest and most obvious reason why Penn’s The Matrix reboot didn’t make it to screen is the existence of The Matrix Resurrections. In the movie’s meta-textual opening act, Neo, who is in a simulation where he is a video game developer, is pressured into making a sequel to his hit video game trilogy, also called The Matrix. At one point Neo’s boss, who later turns out to be a reimagined Agent Smith, suggests that if Neo doesn’t do it the studio will move ahead without him, which is indeed what Warner Brothers was planning to do with a fourth Matrix movie. This scene not-so-subtly suggests that Lana Wachowski returned to the franchise in part to prevent Penn’s Matrix movie from being made.
Will There Be Another Matrix Movie?
The release of The Matrix Resurrections also makes it less likely that a Michael B. Jordan Matrix, or any other Matrix movie, will be coming out soon. Resurrections had a mixed response and was a commercial failure, making $157.3 million against its $190 million budget. While The Matrix Resurrections‘ simultaneous release on HBO Max, and being released alongside box-office juggernaut Spider-Man: No Way Home probably contributed to the disappointing theatrical total, it doesn’t seem as if there’s a huge interest in more Matrix movies.
It’s also not clear if Michael B. Jordan was ever actually interested in appearing in a Matrix sequel. The Hollywood Reporter article says that the studio has “potential interest” in Jordan, but nothing from the actor or his camp. Jordan also has a lot on his plate as both a star and creator, with upcoming franchise projects including the Creed series (as both actor and director) and a potential Superman project (as an executive producer.)
Given Hollywood’s seemingly endless interest in reboots and sequels, it’s certainly not impossible that we’ll see more Matrix content at some point, although a HBO Max streaming exclusive may make more sense than a theatrical release. While The Matrix Resurrections seemingly set up a lot of potential story directions for a fifth Matrix movie or other continuation, the Wachowskis have said they have no intent to return to the franchise, and stars like Keanu Reeves have expressed reluctance to return without the original creators. All of this makes it pretty clear that Penn’s Michael B. Jordan-starring Matrix reboot is probably dead.
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