'The Matrix 4' Kicks Off Filming With Keanu Reeves, but This Is Not the Neo You Remember
by Zack Sharf
Lana Wachowski is returning to direct the fourth installment in the game-changing science-fiction franchise.
Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and writer-director Lana Wachowski have officially returned to “The Matrix,” 17 years after saying goodbye to the franchise in the polarizing last entry of the original trilogy “The Matrix Revolutions.” The San Francisco Examiner spotted the Warner Bros. production kicking off filming in the Chinatown section of the Bay Area with stars Reeves and Moss. The actors are returning to their iconic roles of Neo and Trinity, but “Matrix” fans would hardly know that from the first batch of set photos and video from the Examiner. Reeves’ Neo is not looking anything like the cyber-warrior fans adore (the character’s trademark black sunglasses and clothing are missing). Instead, Neo just looks like Reeves stepped out to grab a coffee. Most “Matrix” fans probably wouldn’t expect to see Neo sporting a beanie and blue jeans. What does that mean for “Matrix 4”? Warner Bros. has yet to reveal any specifics on the movie’s plot.
Moss and Reeves are being joined for “The Matrix 4” by returning franchise actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who debuted in “The Matrix Reloaded.” Newcomers to the series include Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, and Eréndira Ibarra. There are rumors circulating that the plot involves time travel and Abdul-Mateen II is playing a younger version of Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne in the original trilogy), but again nothing has been confirmed by Warner Bros. One franchise veteran who will not be returning is Hugo Weaving, who starred as the villainous Agent Smith in the first three films. Weaving told Time Out London last month he could not join the “Matrix 4” production because of a scheduling issue.
“It’s unfortunate but actually I had this offer [for a play] and then the offer came from ‘The Matrix,’ so I knew it was happening but I didn’t have dates,” Weaving said. “I was in touch with [director] Lana Wachowski, but in the end she decided that the dates weren’t going to work. So we’d sorted the dates and then she sort of changed her mind. They’re pushing on ahead without me.”
Warner Bros. is set to release “The Matrix 4” in theaters nationwide May 21, 2021. Check out the San Francisco Examiner’s set photos here.