Everyone calm down: The new Matrix movie is NOT a reboot

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Mar 17, 2017, 3:13 PM EDT

A couple of screenwriters -- including the one actually writing the thing -- have weighed in on that new Matrix project that broke the Internet earlier this week.

The good news is that they've more or less confirmed that whatever is being developed by Warner Bros. is in fact not a reboot or remake of the original movie or trilogy. Zak Penn, the screenwriter the studio hired to pen the piece, took to Twitter to clear a few things up:

While Penn doesn't say exactly what he's up to, that last tweet is the most important one. He's essentially saying that like the X-Men universe (with which he's been involved as well, as a writer on X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand), the Matrix mythology is large enough to encompass stories not necessarily involving Neo, Morpheus or their story.

In fact, as Penn suggests, it's already been done to a smaller degree with The Animatrix, a series of nine short films made to accompany the release in 2003 of The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

And in case anyone didn't get that point, writer Eric Heisserer (Arrival) pointed to another recent example of what Penn is alluding to:

His annoying use of Rogue One as a verb aside, Heisserer cuts to the chase: Now that it's been proven there's a huge audience out there for Star Wars stories that don't involve people named Skywalker (or their immediate circle), studios want to test that concept out with their own franchises. Warner Bros itself would almost certainly like to get another big sci-fi/action franchise up and running in case the whole DC thing flames out.

The Matrix would seem like an obvious choice, because the world created by Lilly and Lana Wachowski -- regardless of what you think of the trilogy overall -- was certainly a vast, complex and mysterious one where all kinds of stories and characters could potentially exist. 

Penn does not address the absence, at least for now, of the Wachowskis from this undertaking, which continues to remain one of its more troubling aspects. But that aside, do you think the idea of telling more stories in the Matrix universe is a viable one?

(via Screencrush)