Though the franchise’s two sequels fell a bit flat, the original 1999 The Matrix revolutionized action movies and special effects, as well as cementing actor Keanu Reeves as a Hollywood action star. The last Matrix film, Matrix Revolutions, debuted in 2003, and since then the franchise has slowly faded away, despite video game and animated entries trying to keep it alive.
Beyond the franchise itself fading, the talent behind The Matrix and its sequels – The Wachowskis – have also seemed to have floundered after reaching meteoric heights in Hollywood. Previously known as “The Wachowski Brothers,” both Larry and Andy underwent gender reassignment and now both identify as females, answering to Lana and Lilly. Following The Matrix Trilogy, The Wachowskis delivered a series of high-profile flops, such as Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas, and the super-bomb Jupiter Ascending.
Despite desperately trying to recapture the magic they tapped into in the late 90s, the Wachowskis’ endeavors post-Matrix have all fallen flat, but the failure of Jupiter Ascending was particularly damning to their careers in Hollywood, with the duo not having made any movies since 2015. (Jupiter Ascending had a budget of $176 million and only grossed $47 million in the domestic box office, eventually taking in $183 million worldwide. Believe it or not, simply making back one’s production budget in Hollywood is actually a failure, as marketing and distribution costs tend to double the figure that’s needed to break even.) The Wachowskis then turned their attention to writing and producing the Netflix original series Sense8, which was cancelled after two seasons.
So what are two once celebrated filmmakers to do when their careers are on the rocks? Why, run back to the well that made their fortunes and begin tapping it again, of course! Rumors are circulating that The Wachowskis are looking to revive The Matrix franchise. As reported by Discussing Film:
As previously reported by THR, Zak Penn will write the screenplay and Michael B Jordan will star. We have learned that the Wachowskis will return to direct the film and will begin production in early 2020 in Chicago, they have been secretly prepping the film under the working title “Project Ice Cream”. Plot details are currently under wraps for the film however the project is already beginning to fill out it’s crew with Hugh Bateup, who was an art director on 1999’s ‘The Matrix’ set to return to the franchise as the production designer for this film.
Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society Productions and Warner Bros will produce the film, it is currently unknown whether the film will still be a reboot or will be a sequel to the previous trilogy.
The GWW has also reported that the film will shoot in Chicago under the name ‘Project Ice Cream’ with Lana Wachowski set to be one of the directors.
My guess is that whatever new Matrix film the Wachowskis are working on will most likely be a sequel that will expand upon the universe they’ve already built. Making it a sequel would also allow them to bring back actors from the original Trilogy if they so choose. The real question here is will the Wachowskis continue their habit of bogging down their movies with burdensome philosophical themes that sucked much of the fun out of the the two Matrix sequels? Or will they focus on making a fun action/adventure film like the original Matrix was?
Frankly, I personally do not have much hope for a Matrix revival, if this rumor should indeed pan out. In the 90s, the Wachowskis were a brave and visionary cinematic voice. I was a fan of theirs after seeing their hyper-stylized crime noir film Bound. But after the success of The Matrix, the directing duo seemed to have lost their touch, and everything they’ve done post-Matrix has, at least in my opinion, been pretty terrible. Even Sense8, which started off promising, became a mess as the show went along.
But I’m sure Warner Brothers would love to revive such a huge franchise, and because of the lack of news surrounding The Wachowskis (and the fact their Netflix show is over), I have the feeling there is probably something to this rumor, since they have nothing else going for them at the moment. I guess time will tell.
What do you think of this? Would you like to see a Matrix revival? Do you think it will be any good? Let me know in the comments!