The writer tasked with bringing The Matrix back to the big screen has offered an update of sorts on his involvement with the project. Let's just say it has a ways to go.
It was last March when the news broke that Warner Bros. Pictures was interested in returning to the groundbreaking sci-fi franchise originally created by the Wachowskis in 1999. Writer Zak Penn (The Avengers, X-Men: The Last Stand) was attached to the project and, at the time, sought to reassure fans that he wasn't writing a remake or a reboot.
So what exactly was he doing? Well, Penn has been silent for a few months, but he took to his Twitter feed earlier today to offer a few more thoughts on the project (thanks to Slashfilm for knitting his tweets together into a single statement):
“Re: the Matrix, yes I’m writing something. Not a reboot, not a continuation, watch Animatrix, read comics to see what Wachowskis did. A script in development is not a movie. No casting, director, style can be discussed yet. Nothing to see here folks…yet. No need to put actors or anyone on the spot, because there’s nothing there yet. No reboot or reimagining, no recasting involved. And this is not the point in process that those decisions get made. So many hoops to jump through, the first one I gotta do myself.”
OK, so Penn is writing something; he's established that much. But if it's not a remake, not a reboot, or not a direct sequel to the original trilogy, then what is it? Our next best guess is that he's writing a story set in the same universe but not necessarily featuring Neo and the gang -- hence the references to The Animatrix (a series of short films also set in the Matrix universe) and the comics.
The smart money says that Penn is writing a script that's along the same lines as the Star Wars standalone films: prequels or sidequels that take place in the world of The Matrix but are tangential to the story we've been told before. In theory it's a vast enough universe that there is room for more stories, but it remains to be seen whether a Matrix movie without Keanu Reeves in front of the camera or the Wachowskis behind it — which would seem to be the case for now — would fly with either diehard fans or general audiences.
What do you make of all this? Should The Matrix be left alone for now, or is there space in that hard drive for a whole different story to be told?