In the week since the release of The Matrix Resurrections, the response to the film has been hugely polarizing. Some (like us) praised it for its fascinating ideas and smart continuation of the franchise. Others have dumped on it for being too self-aware with not enough of the action the franchise was built upon. Whatever side of the argument you fall on though, we can surely agree on one positive thing: that the film was made by one of the people responsible for the franchise, Lana Wachowski. Because that wasn’t always going to be the case.
Memories on the internet are short so odds are many people have forgotten that back in 2017, Warner Bros. was reportedly developing a new version of The Matrix from writer Zak Penn (Last Action Hero, Ready Player One) for star Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther, Creed). That was never officially confirmed, just reported on by reputable trade outlets, but in a new interview, one of the Matrix’s producers, James McTeigue, confirmed talks to continue the franchise without the Wachowskis did happen.
“Yeah. That was real,” McTeigue told Collider when asked if there were versions of this film that could have happened without Wachowski. “There were versions out there. But I guess the fates dictated that Lana’s story came at the right time, and Warner Bros. were willing to move forward with that story.”
McTeigue explained that while Warner Bros. was looking at other versions, which is to be expected from any major franchise with a brand name, the company “hadn’t landed on the right version,” he continued. “So when Lana eventually came back around and said, ‘Look. I’m interested in making another movie,’ of course, they went with the filmmaker who was the genesis of the Matrix.”
Interestingly enough, while the new interview does not get into it, around the time the Jordan/Penn version made news, Keanu Reeves made it clear he would not return to the franchise unless the Wachowskis were involved. “The Wachowskis would have to be involved,” Reeves said in 2017. “They would have to write it and direct it. And then we’d see what the story is, but yeah, I dunno, that’d be weird, but why not? People die, stories don’t. People in stories don’t.”
So even if you don’t like Resurrections, at least Wachowski’s involvement made sure it was Neo in this story and not someone else. The Matrix Resurrections is in theaters now and streaming on HBO Max for a few more weeks.
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