You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed...
It would appear that pigs can, indeed, fly.
Back in 1999, audiences had no idea when entering The Matrix that the face of action cinema would be changed forever. Looking back on that year, we saw the release of such masterpieces as Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, The Blair Witch Project, Fight Club, The Sixth Sense and more. What a year, and yet, if you ask anyone to reminisce, it's The Matrix which arguably stands out as the most iconic.
Its blend of innovative action sequences and thought-provoking sci-fi themes made it a winner for all audiences, inspiring two sequels which sadly failed to live up to the towering original. 2003's The Matrix Reloaded certainly had its highlights, most notably a scene on the freeway which warrants repeat viewing alone. The Matrix Revolutions, on the other hand, signalled the death of the series, and by that point, most were glad to hammer in that last nail.
Matrix 4: No Laurence Fishburne?
Over the years, appreciation of the sequels has admittedly grown. Those instalments are nostalgic for a lot of people, and as they've grown older, fans have become far more open to seeing the franchise deliver a fourth entry.
Those in favour must have felt as though they were waking to a dream world when the recent news broke. As reported by Variety, Lana Wachowski will write, direct and produce the sequel which nobody really saw coming. Fortunately, main man Keanu Reeves (who plays The One, Neo) and Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity) will be reprising their roles, and honestly, you can't really have a Matrix movie without them.
The same source indicates that Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures are back to produce and distribute, with the former's chairman - Toby Emmerich - saying: “We could not be more excited to be re-entering The Matrix with Lana... [She] is a true visionary — a singular and original creative filmmaker — and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in The Matrix universe.”
However, there's a glaring omission from these announcements... Where is Laurence Fishburne?
Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne
It's Morpheus, Neo and Trinity, the iconic trio of the trilogy.
So, why have only two of the actors been cited as attached? Surely you can't have a Matrix movie without any one of these, right? As we learn throughout the series, it was Morpheus who believed in Neo, who found him and unlocked his potential.
The Lord of the Rings has Gandalf, Star Wars has Obi-Wan, and yes, The Matrix has Morpheus; the wise guide who can convey such emotion and insight without even having to say anything, and that's with the glasses on too! Let's face it, they really have to pull something incredible out of the bag with this one, with him or not. There's so much hostility towards the sequels, and to resurrect the series after so long, you need justification. Blade Runner 2049 proved that it could be done right, no matter how belated. Then again, it had Harrison Ford.
Young Morpheus? Not quite feeling it
Sure, it's premature, but I can't help but feel they'd be falling at the first hurdle taking Laurence out of the picture. If the others are returning then it makes us pine for his inclusion more; he even starred alongside Keanu in the recent John Wick instalments, and he's as charismatic as ever - his chemistry with recurring co-star thoroughly intact. Of course, he hasn't aged like Keanu Reeves, but other than Tom Cruise, who has?
An older and wiser riff on the character could definitely work, but instead, there is news that he'll be recast. As reported by We Got This Covered, executives are supposedly interested in casting a young Morpheus and have numerous actors in mind for the part. This certainly raises narrative questions, but with the franchise already on thin ice after Revolutions, you don't really want to befuddle your audience before wowing them. His absence from the announcement is absolutely a cause for concern.
What would it mean?
When I think of the possibilities of Matrix 4, I envision Neo, Trinity and Morpheus, back on screens in that famous attire ready to convince us that Lana has contemplated the franchise for almost two decades and has a wealth of things to say, with their full enthusiasm. It would be Back to the Future 4 without Christopher Lloyd, a Harry Potter sequel without Rupert Grint and, dare we say, Shrek 5 without Donkey.
It's the first announcement, and perhaps they're just working up to the next, but let's hope that the first promotional still we see confirms Laurence is back to take us back down the rabbit hole on the ride of a lifetime.
In other news, has Preacher been renewed?
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