Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is heading to The Matrix. Variety reports that Abdul-Mateen, who played Black Manta in last year's Aquaman and continues to land high-profile roles, has landed a leading role in the upcoming fourth installment of the sci-fi franchise, which will be directed and co-written by Matrix co-creator Lana Wachowski.
Wachowski has reportedly spent the last few days meeting with various actors to fill the still-undisclosed but prominent role in The Matrix 4, and Abdul-Mateen won out. He'll join a cast that already includes returning stars Keanu Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity. Since starring in Aquaman, Abdul-Mateen's star has continued to rise with roles in films like Jordan Peele's Us. His slate of upcoming projects was already impressive, and includes roles in the HBO series Watchmen and the Peele-produced reboot of Candyman. Now, he's also adding one of the most influential sci-fi franchises of the 21st century to his resume.
The big question, of course, is what this secret role is. Abdul-Mateen could obviously be playing a completely new character with no ties to the past of the franchise, but there are rumors afloat that a younger version of Morpheus (played by Laurence Fishburne in the original Matrix trilogy) could show up in this film, and Abdul-Mateen would be a nice fit for that. Variety's sources "would not confirm" who Abdul-Mateen is playing, though, so for the moment it remains an open question.
The Matrix 4 was announced back in August after years of effort behind the scenes at Warner Bros. to return to the blockbuster franchise. When it finally happened, fans rejoiced when it was confirmed that Wachowski would return to steer the project (her sister and co-creator Lilly Wachowski is sitting this installment out), and that Reeves and Moss would also rejoin the series. Wachowski co-wrote the new installment with Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell, and will also serve as producer.
The Matrix 4 is continuing to fill out its cast in the ramp-up to starting production early next year.