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The Matrix Resurrections finally arrived for the world to see last week, allowing fans of the beloved sci-fi franchise to indulge in at least one more journey for Neo and Trinity on the big screen, or from the comfort of their couch. The film, led by Matrix co-creator Lana Wachowski and original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, was one of the most-anticipated releases of 2021 because of its willingness to return to a franchise that had seemingly been dormant for nearly two decades, and its ending leaves open the possibility of more stories to come.
So now that it's finally here, is The Matrix Resurrections actually the beginning of a whole new trilogy, or a standalone movie with no sequel potential at all?
On the red carpet at the film's premiere last week, Lana Wachowski -- who co-wrote and co-directed the first three films with her sister Lilly (who chose not to participate in Resurrections) -- laughed off the suggestion that Resurrections could be the start of a new trilogy. Speaking to the Associated Press during the premiere, when asked if a "new trilogy" was happening, Wachowski first jokingly asked "Who sent that question in?" and then tried to refer the reporter to her producer who was further down the interview line before laughingly answering with a flat "No."
Wachowski has been open in previous interviews about the origins of Resurrections, noting that it emerged in the wake of losing both her parents. While grieving, she found that resurrecting Neo and Trinity was, in its own way, a very "healing" process that allowed her to move forward creatively and personally. That means we got a new Matrix film, but also means Wachowski was only working with one story, and not necessarily a whole trilogy of stories.
But does that mean the Matrix film series is now once again closed off to all outside influence? Not necessarily. As producer James McTeigue noted in an interview with Collider, Warner Bros. was already interested in returning to the franchise even before the story for Resurrections emerged.
"That was real. There were versions out there," McTeigue said. "But I guess the fates dictated that Lana's story came at the right time, and Warner Brothers were willing to move forward with that story."
It's certainly possible that Warner Bros. could once again go back to the Matrix well, and do it without the Wachowskis. In terms of a Lana Wachowski-led sequel, though, for the moment McTeigue has a slightly more complex version of the same answer as his director.
"Look, for us, I think, at the moment, it's just the movie you've seen," McTeigue said. "We've got no prequel in mind. We've got no sequel in mind. We've got no further trilogy."
He continued, "But I think the film also works where it's really open to audience interpretation, like what happened in those 60 years before they fished Neo out again, or Thomas Anderson to Neo. When Neo and Trinity are there at the end, and they're talking with the analyst, what do they actually mean that they're going to change? So I think that it's out there, but it's not in our wheelhouse at the moment."
Then there's David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, the film's co-writers, who worked with Wachowski to flesh out the story that would become Resurrections. Speaking to io9 about crafting the film alongside Wachowski, both Mitchell and Hemon left the question of sequels, like the film itself, a bit open-ended.
“Well, we haven’t talked about it,” Hemon said. “It’s too early for us, certainly, to be involved in that. There’s so many things that need to be happen. So as of now, this is it.”
Mitchell added, “That’s the situation to the best of my knowledge as well. But of course, who knows what happens in the future, dot dot dot question mark. But to the best of our knowledge, there are no plans.”
So, for the moment, The Matrix will remain a four-film series. This is Warner Bros. we're talking about, though. If there' s a financial opportunity in there alongside a creative one, further revivals of the franchise could definitely be coded. For now, though, Lana Wachowski has seemingly said everything she intended to say.