[UPDATED] Déjà vu: Warner Bros. Is Rebooting The Matrix

Neo: “A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it.”
Trinity: “How much like it? Was it the same cat?”

We’ll find out soon enough. Warner Bros. is moving ahead with plans to reboot The Wachowskis Matrix franchise.

Oxford dictionaries reminds us just how funny it is to say The Matrix is being rebooted considering the subject matter of the film.

But I digress. The Hollywood Reporter had the exclusive last night while most of us were busy with some other stuff. Here’s the gist:

Warner Bros. is in the early stages of developing a relaunch of The Matrix, the iconic 1999 sci-fi movie that is considered one of the most original films in cinematic history, with Zak Penn in talks to write a treatment. Sources say there is potential interest in Michael B. Jordan to star, but much must be done before the project is ready to go.

Michael B. Jordan? Ok. Zack Penn has superhero screenwriting experience. Ok. Oh, did I mention Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski are not currently involved?

Not that I think the directing duo would want to redo their own work but if Warner is trying to convince us this is something we want, they’re missing a big part of the picture.

The 1999 film starred Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano. My obsession with The Matrix pre-dates this blog but believe me when I tell you it was an obsession. It was revelatory. It changed me. It directed my life in a big way for a while.

Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions? Not so much.

Either way, while this news hits negatively for me on a visceral level, I’m not actually 100% against it. Here’s why. I should note that while the headline calls this news a “reboot” it may not turn out to be a reboot in the sense that it would tell the same story of the original film over again but rather in the way defined more specifically by Oxford. This would be an effort to “revive” or “give fresh impetus to” the franchise as a whole. Here’s how THR explained it:

The idea of adapting The Matrix as a television series was nixed in recent months. But Warner Bros. sees a model in what Disney and Lucasfilm have done with Star Wars, exploring the hidden corners of the universe with movies such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or the in-production young Han Solo film. Perhaps a young Morpheus movie could come out of the exploration, as an example.

In Matrix lore there certainly is no shortage of areas to mined. So I could get behind exploring more of the world but only if The Wachowskis approve of it. As a final thought, please take the immortal words of Neo:

“I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin…Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

[UPDATE] Zak Penn took to Twitter to comment on the news. I’ve compiled the tweets into one block but also embedded them below.

All I can say at this point is no one could or should REBOOT the Matrix. People who know Animatrix and the comics understand. Can’t comment yet except to say that the words “reboot” and “remake” were from an article. Let’s stop responding to inaccurate news. If I were going to recast Keanu Reeves, I would cast Keanu Reeves. How about just re-release the matrix? Don’t reboot it, you can’t do better. Do I want to see more stories set in the universe of the matrix? Yes. Because it’s a brilliant idea that generates great stories. Look at what people are doing with Xmen universe. Between Logan and Legion and Deadpool, does anyone want them to stop? Not me.

So, a few things. While yes, THR’s headline read reboot, the text of the article explained the situation would look more like what Disney/Lucasfilm are doing with the standalone Star Wars films. I’m sure a lot of outlets misinterpreted the original piece or simply ran with the strict reboot angle because it gets people more riled up. But as I explained up above, “reboot” can just mean kickstarting a dormant franchise or IP. (In all honesty, I think journalists should come up with another word. Relaunch is probably the closest to what’s really intended.)

I was still up late last night when Penn tweeted “Do I want to see more stories set in the universe of the matrix? Yes. Because it’s a brilliant idea that generates great stories.” And I replied, “I would too…but not without the blessing of The Wachowskis. So fingers crossed.”

He didn’t give a reply and obviously he’s trying not to say too much but I’m still hoping they don’t try to do this without the original creators. It’s also important to note that relaunching a franchise like The Matrix and creating new stories in that world is not exactly the same as spinoff superhero films from a franchise that’s been producing steadily over the last 17 years.

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  • Zefram Mann

    Diamanda Hagan made the only proposal I’d actually like to see in a Matrix reboot. Have Neo be a different sex in the Matrix than out, like Switch was originally intended to be.

    In addition to exploring gender-identity, it’d also make the movie far more realistic, given how common this is in virtual communities.

    Sadly, it’d also be a bloody miracle if Hollywood could do an idea that brilliant any justice.

    • Or…just an idea…in the real world, Neo is an office drone. But in The Matrix, he’s a radical pirate.

  • Pixar’s The Matrix

  • WheelchairNinja

    My obsession with The Matrix pre-dates this blog but believe me when I tell you it was an obsession. It was revelatory. It changed me. It directed my life in a big way for a while.

    Well that certainly explains *this*… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/be89dbd6dd08a4126ca17f328b66b8fabea89876849b3313144d28f6b9f1e337.gif

    • HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA

      Oh my god. It took a second for the GIF to start and I was wondering if you were just referring to the jacket and then you killed me.

      • WheelchairNinja

        Eeeeeeeeeeexcellent. I timed it perfectly.

        • XD Excellent work. I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed Jill’s transformation from #ProNerd to #ResistanceNerd and all implied badassery.

  • Howard_Bannister

    Can we reboot just the sequels?

  • They could call it The Invisibles!

  • The Mad Eleventh

    I think if they want to do a reboot of some kind, a series would be more fitting. But you definitely need the Wachowskis approval and hopefully involvement.

  • No.