Due to the failures of the lasting Matrix film, no subsequent films are in the works.
1999’s The Matrix is an undisputed seminal work of sci-fi film history, but subsequent entries never managed to live up to the lofty highs of the original. The most recent film, The Matrix Resurrections, did not instill confidence that the franchise should move forward, and it did terribly at the box office to boot. After a lukewarm critical reception and a terrible box office performance, is there any hope that audiences will get to see Keanu Reeves take the red pill again in the future?
At this time, it seems pretty clear that we won’t be seeing more from the franchise anytime soon.
It’s not an exaggeration to say The Matrix Resurrections was a financial failure, which is never a good sign when you’re asking if a franchise has a future in Hollywood. The film only made $157 million at the global box office against a budget of $190 million, which means it would likely be pretty difficult to convince the studios that financing another film would be a smart investment.
From a fan perspective, The Matrix Resurrections didn’t quite live up to expectations either, with the reception from the film being very divisive. While there were a decent amount of fans that didn’t hate the movie, it still left unanswered questions that were brought up in earlier films that left fans feeling dissatisfied. It’s possible that the next film could be an even bigger financial disaster if fans don’t feel like the film will be worth their time.
The most recent update on the future of the franchise came from producer James McTeigue, who said there were no current plans for new films after the poor reception of The Matrix Resurrections. Of course, McTeigue didn’t shut out the possibility completely, saying that the plans could possibly change in the future since the end of the most recent film was open-ended. In any case, it seems like it would be a long time before we saw anything announced or in development.
If the franchise were to return after, there are two ways they could potentially go. One is to pick up where the last movie left off, and the other is to break away from the main storyline and start a new storyline with new actors. As evidenced by the relatively well-received animated film The Animatrix, there are potentially other interesting stories to tell set in the Matrix universe that don’t revolve around Keanu Reeves’ Neo. While Reeves would undoubtedly be missed, it might be the best direction for the franchise to proceed.
It’s not like there haven’t been discussions of spin-off Matrix films in the past, although the last time we heard anything official was back in 2019 when screenwriter Zak Penn said he was working on a film set before the original trilogy. With McTeigue’s aforementioned statement about there not being any plans for future films, it seems like this spin-off may never come to fruition.
The spin-off Matrix film idea was originally reported in 2017 when The Hollywood Reporter said that Warner Bros was in the early development stages of a re-launch. Potential plotlines for the re-launch included a prequel film about a young Morpheus or an alternate storyline about one of Morpheus’ descendants. There were even rumors that Michael B. Jordan was being considered for the lead role in the prequel film.
Although Michael B. Jordan didn’t make it into The Matrix Resurrections, this did end up casting Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a different version of Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus. If this spin-off sequel ever was greenlit, it seems likely that they would cast Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the role for continuity’s sake. In either case, it seems pretty unlikely at this point that the spin-off will see the light of day, considering the statements from the producers about the franchise’s future.
It’s also worth noting that the Matrix franchise is under the thumb of Warner Bros Discovery, a company that has been pretty happy to cut content and cancel projects lately. Many of these cuts and cancellations have been in the name of revenue or profits, and given the fact that the last movie did poorly in that respect, it doesn’t seem likely that Warner Bros Discovery would be eager to move forward. Then again, the franchise has made over $1.79 billion overall, so the potential is definitely there.
In short, there’s really no way to know what is in store for the Matrix. Financially, things don’t look positive. But there’s always a chance that the studios would go back to the well for a historically reliable franchise.