Franchise star Keanu Reeves has confirmed that The Matrix 4 will not be a prequel, or set in the past, but takes place after Matrix Revolutions. The long-awaited fourth film in the franchise is currently shooting in Berlin, where Reeves is set to reunite with a number of the original stars of the franchise, including Carrie-Ann Moss (Trinity), Jada Pinkett-Smith (Niobe), and Lambert Wilson (The Merovingian). Also returning is Lana Wachowski, who co-wrote and co-directed the original trilogy alongside her sister Lilly. She took sole directing duty and collaborated with David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) and Aleksandar Hemon on the script.
The plot of the fourth film in the hit sci-fi/action franchise is being kept under wraps. Still, there is speculation Reeves and Moss will be taking on different roles, either as the Morpheus-type mentors to new cast members Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen, Candyman) and Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones) or even perhaps as agents of the machines. There was also a theory that the movie might be a prequel, with Mateen taking on the role of a young Morpheus, and Neo using time travel to recruit him to the future human cause. However, Reeves says that theory is wrong.
Speaking to the BBC's The One Show to promote Bill and Ted Face The Music, Reeves shut down rumors of a prequel, adding that the movie won't go into the past. This confirms the events will take place after the much-maligned third film, Matrix Revolutions, meaning it will be a sequel of sorts. Reeves does add the caveat, though, that this new film is a different version, perhaps hinting that it takes place in another construct than the original trilogy. You can read his full comments below:
No, no. No going in the past. It’s another version, a call to wake up and it has some great action. All will be revealed.
It is admittedly very little to go on, but any crumb of information about The Matrix 4 is essential, given the secretive nature of the production. Little has been released, besides small comments from stars on the film, with potential new villain Neil Patrick Harris saying that the visual style for this entry will be different from the first three. That adds to the theory that this movie will present a different version of The Matrix, an exciting prospect.
While the original, 1999's The Matrix, was a groundbreaking film, arguably changing the sci-fi action genre forever, for better and worse, the sequels were less innovative. Focusing on the increasing use of CGI and including several long and confusing philosophical diatribes, both Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions were critical failures. Even now, 17 years following their release, the films are consistently ranked well below the Wachowski sisters' other efforts. Hopefully, The Matrix 4 will buck the trend and re-invigorate the franchise, taking the universe, and the characters, in a new direction rather than retreading familiar ground.