The Reason The Matrix 4 Could Be One Of The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Ever

The Matrix trilogy's lasting impact on cinema, and the public consciousness, cannot be overstated. Over twenty years ago, the Wachowskis blew the world's collective mind with their masterclass on cinematography, technical ingeniousness, story arc structure, and a densely allegorical script, rife with relevant thematic elements. It was a perfectly timed response to fears surrounding an ever-digitizing world, and stands as history's most influential piece of art about transgender issues by transgender creators. From academics to redditors to conspiracy theorists spitting about humans really living in the Matrix, the trilogy still inspires ongoing discussions.

In 2019, The Matrix 4 (title forthcoming) was announced, with original trilogy's co-screenwriter Lana Wachowski at the helm. She is bringing Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell on board, whose book was the inspiration for 2012's Wachowski film of the same name, as well as writer Aleksandar Hemon, who helped the Wachoski's write season two of their Netflix series Sense8. Keanu Reeves, who has been experiencing an absolute boom of renewed success and fame, is back on board as Neo. Screen Rant reports that Carrie-Anne Moss, who recently took a turn the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is also rejoining the fold, as is Jada Pinkett-Smith. 

Expectations are high, to say the least. For those same reasons, though, The Matrix 4 is poised to be one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made. Plot details are firmly under wraps, but the lore and story of the Matrix extended universe is what gives The Matrix 4 such huge potential.

The cycle of the One continues

Alert: Spoilers for the original Matrix movies follow.

When The Matrix: Revolutions finished in 2003, moviegoers were left with a dead Neo, dead Trinity, and a host of questions about the philosophical underpinnings of the franchise. Neo was not, in fact, the One, but one of the Ones — the sixth, to be precise. He had separated his mind from his body, in true Cartesian fashion, and manifested his powers in the "real world." The machines built into the source code of the Matrix an anomaly that periodically produced Neo-like beings, and the Neo of our trilogy sacrificed himself to destroy all the Agent Smiths of the Matrix. The final shot of the final film alluded to a shinier, happier future for all the slave-battery humans of Earth as they enter the seventh era of the matrix, when they are freer to choose their fates.

All of this backstory might be confusing for some, in and of itself. And taken hand-in-hand with the return of Neo and Trinity (or at least, their actors), it might seem doubly confusing. However, their presence along explains a lot about how the plot of the movie could unfold, and why the film might be such a resounding success, especially considering that Lawrence Fishburne will not be returning for The Matrix 4.

The student becomes the teacher

In fact, a newer, younger Morpheus is reported to be on board, per Screen Rant. Since Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are older now, it makes sense that that Neo and Trinity might be mentors to the younger version of Morpheus in The Matrix 4. If everyone's digital souls are kept as copies in the cache of the matrix, and reproduced during each new era, then the events of the original trilogy might have left an imprint within them that allows them to recollect events from previous lives. 

Early shots from the the filming of The Matrix 4 in Chinatown, San Francisco, as shown on The Matrix Explained, show a clearly powerless Neo riding on the back of a motorcycle ridden by Trinity, in what is assumed to be the Matrix, and not the real world of the films. This lends credence to the idea that these characters are copies of their former selves, bound by rules they'd previously broken. 

Now, this is only one permutation of a possible plot for the film, but it shows how much gold there is to mine in the world that the Wachoskis built. This storytelling potential, taken hand-in-hand with production techniques that have evolved since the release of the original films, makes it easy to see how The Matrix 4 could shape up into a juggernaut. It could inspire an entire new generation of film goers — and pay homage to its own legacy.

Prepare to re-enter the matrix

As a standalone film, The Matrix 4 could shine in theaters. It's easy to see, though, how a young Morpheus-led narrative could kick off a new set of films, and dive into the films' extended universe, as well. In a post-MCU world, fans almost expect movies and comics and TV shows and video games to interconnect, but The Matrix franchise was ahead of the curve when it came to cross-media tie-ins. 2003 saw a compilation of short, Matrix-inspired animated films Animatrix. It also saw the Xbox title Enter the Matrix, which, along with the MMO The Matrix Online, directly tied into the narrative of the movies. It stands to reason that, if The Matrix 4 is successful, there could very well be an expansion of the property's universe across multiple media. All-in-all, this means that the world could be looking at not only a Keanussance, but a Matrixssance.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the film's release date has been pushed back nearly a year, to April 2022. However, this should give everyone all the time they need to prepare for a return to the Matrix.