Whoa: A ‘Matrix’ Reboot Is in Development
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill? The story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill? You stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
Here’s where it goes. The Hollywood Reporter says that Warner Bros. is in the “early stages” of developing a relaunch of The Matrix, the sci-fi trilogy that became a surprise phenomenon in the late ’90s and early 2000s. According to THR, the franchise’s creators, the Wachowskis, are not currently involved with the project. Instead, screenwriter Zak Penn is “in talks” to work on this new version and…
Sources say there is potential interest in Michael B. Jordan to star but much must be done before the project is ready to go. At this point, the Wachowski siblings, who wrote and directed the original and its two sequels, are not involved and the nature of their potential engagement with a new version has not been determined. Certainly, Warners would want the two filmmakers to give at minimum a blessing to the nascent project.
THR’s report also notes that Warners considered and then dropped the idea of a television series version of The Matrix, something that frankly sounds like a better idea to me since it gets you away from the comparisons to the iconic original film that are going to be inevitable. (Then again, maybe the budget needed to replicate or exceed the series’ mind-bending special effects wouldn’t work on TV.) They also stress that while some at the studio don’t want The Matrix touched, the modern film industry is a place “where studios are desperately looking for ways to monetize their libraries and branded IP is hard to come by.”
That’s an interesting observation because The Matrix is one of the few wholly original movies of the last 25 years to launch a multimedia empire complete with cartoons, video games, toys, and more. Though obviously inspired by earlier comics, cartoons, books, and films, The Matrix was entirely its own thing; it wasn’t directly based on anything. These days, there’s basically nothing like it, either in its formal daring, or that lack of pre-awareness and what THR calls “branded IP.” These days you don’t make something like that; you just remake the last thing that was like that.