We don’t think we’re going to shock anybody by saying that the cinema historians of the future aren’t going to view 2020 as a vintage year for films. For reasons that nobody could have foreseen or prevented, almost every major movie that was scheduled to start or finish filming this year has either been postponed or canceled. Even some films that have already been filmed and finished post-production have seen their release dates pushed back because not enough people can currently get into movie theaters to see the finished products. After a year of bad news, we’re glad that we can finally bring some good news to fans of “The Matrix.” The film has bucked the trend and seen its release date move forward, and it’s now scheduled for 2021.
Even a few months ago, this seemed unlikely. Filming had only just begun on the project early in 2020 when it had to be brought to a halt in March. Because of that delay, it was thought to be a lock that we wouldn’t see the movie until 2022 at the earliest. We’re not sure how the production crew has got around the current set of restrictions, but as of August 2020, the crew has been back on set, and production has resumed. They must have made some excellent progress during the two months they’ve been back because this week, we received the news that the release date for this highly-anticipated sequel has shifted from April 2022 to December 2021. If everything goes according to plan, we’ll see the fourth (and currently untitled) “Matrix” film just in time for Christmas. We’ve never thought of “The Matrix” as a Christmas movie before, but we’ll happily accept it as an unexpected gift!
The cultural influence of “The Matrix” on cinema and science fiction is hard to overstate. Aside from being the first blockbuster to showcase new and innovative camera and special-effects techniques, it also popularized the theory that the entire human race might be living inside a sophisticated computer simulation. If you’ve ever head people talking about taking “the red pill or the blue pill,” they’re making a “Matrix” reference. Even after so many years since the third film, it’s still a money-making brand today. You can see that at online slots websites such as DoveCasino.com, where an officially-licensed online slots game based on the movie has proven to be extremely popular with players. If we were technically gifted, we’d be able to draw a connection between the code of “The Matrix” and the insanely-advanced mathematics that go into the design of online slots games, but we’re not – so we’ll leave that to the experts! One thing’s for sure, though – if the online slots game is still making money in 2020, a brand-new movie is sure to make hundreds of millions of dollars in 2021.
Keanu Reeves is – perhaps understandably – extremely excited about returning to the role of “Neo” and making the new film. He’s praised Lana Wachowski’s script and direction and assured fans that this fourth film would have relevant things to say about the sometimes-fraught times that we’re living in. To us, that makes it sound like there will be either social or political commentary in the film, but social and political commentary is nothing new for the “Matrix” franchise. Earlier this year, we found out that the first “Matrix” film is actually a metaphor for trans acceptance, but the metaphor was so subtle that most of us didn’t catch it on first viewing. In fact, it was so subtle that even Keanu Reeves didn’t know it was there until Wachowski confirmed it earlier this year, but he’s been fully supportive of her comments since then.
When the movie does eventually arrive, it will have some significant explaining to do. The continuity of the “Matrix” franchise is already convoluted, but the central problem of Reeves being in this new film is that his character Neo is – or at least, ought to be – dead. Neo has ‘died’ on screen more than once in the existing trilogy, but his last death appeared to be final and irreversible. There’s also the question of how and why Neo would appear to be older when he was never ‘real’ anyway and should, therefore, be ageless. We’re sure that these questions will have been given careful consideration during the writing process, and ultimately we’re all along for the thrill ride anyway. It will be great to see Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss together again as Neo and Trinity. For those keeping score, Trinity is also ‘dead’ according to established continuity. The only major character from the first film who isn’t dead is Morpheus, as played by Laurence Fishburne, but ironically he’s not thought to be in this fourth film. Based on that alone, some hardcore fans have already speculated that the narrative might take place in some kind of cyber-afterlife.
Whatever the solution to the continuity problems might be, we’re excited to see it play out – and we’re sure you are, too. Almost all the news we’ve had recently about films has been bad, and even the news about “Matrix 4” came with a kicker. We might be getting this blockbuster early, but other big-name films have been pushed back at the same time. We were supposed to get our first look at Robert Pattinson’s fresh incarnation of Batman in October 2021, but that’s drifted to March 2022. The rebooted version of “Dune” has slipped from this Christmas to October 2021. Even the legendary British secret agent James Bond isn’t immune to these problems – his latest outing in “No Time To Die” should have been released in April 2020, but was pushed back to November this year and has now had another shove into April 2021. We guess we’re just going to have to take 2020 on the chin as a terrible year for cinema and deal with it. If it’s any consolation, though, 2021’s packed schedule looks like it will more than make up for this year’s damp squib. Let’s just hope that nothing else happens to push things back even further!