The Year Of Keanu Reeves May Not Happen In 2021 Anymore
by Chris Agar
Keanu Reeves was supposed to have a banner year in 2021 with the release of The Matrix 4 and John Wick: Chapter 4, but that seems unlikely to happen now. Back in 2014, Reeves experienced a renaissance when the first John Wick movie came out, reaffirming his status as one of this generation's greatest action stars. Becoming a sleeper hit, John Wick spawned a franchise and two sequels were released in 2017 and 2019. Both followups were successful critically and commercially, paving the way for a fourth film.
As Reeves continues to play one of his trademark characters, he's also getting the chance to revisit what is arguably his defining role. The actor is reprising Neo again in the upcoming The Matrix 4, which was currently in principal photography ahead of its May 2021 release date. Coincidentally, The Matrix 4 was set to open on the same exact day as John Wick: Chapter 4, but given current events, that will probably change.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Warner Bros. paused Matrix 4 production indefinitely. Right now, it's too early to tell if the film will have to change its release date, but that's certainly a realistic possibility. From the looks of it, filming only started back in February (when the first Matrix 4 set videos started popping up online), so odds are there's still a lot of work to be done. Plus, when one factors in the required time to take care of the visual effects and any additional photography (blockbusters like this usually always have reshoots worked into the schedule), WB might be better off pushing The Matrix 4's premiere back so the creative team isn't rushed to finish the movie. Obviously, whether or not this happens depends on how long Matrix 4 filming is delayed.
Even if The Matrix 4 remains on track for a 2021 release, this unforeseen postponement will almost assuredly have a domino effect on John Wick 4, which hadn't started filming yet. Odds are, the original plan was for Reeves to shoot John Wick when he was done with The Matrix, and now there's no telling when he'll be able to play the Baba Yaga again. Ultimately, Lionsgate may not have a choice when it comes to John Wick 4's debut. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused travel bans, lockdowns, and closings of schools, businesses, and movie theaters. For the immediate future, people are recommended to stay at home to prevent further spread of coronavirus. It could be months before The Matrix 4 resumes filming, which would set John Wick 4 back. Logistically, it could be impossible for Reeves to do both projects this year.
Chances are, one of The Matrix 4 or John Wick 4 was going to move at some point to avoid competition. These films are clearly targeting similar audiences, and would benefit from a bit of separation so Reeves fans and casual moviegoers can see one, wait a bit, and then go to the next. But even in that case, the expectation was both would come out in 2021. However, due to the coronavirus, the movies are in a state of flux as the studios wait and see how things transpire over the next several weeks. Reeves and his fans had big plans for next year, but all of that's on hold.