Warner Bros announces new Matrix movie helmed by Drew Goddard

Movie-goers are headed back to the Matrix. Warner Brothers announced on Wednesday that The Martian screenwriter Drew Goddard will write and direct a new movie in the sci-fi action franchise for the studio.

This will be the first in the cyberpunk series, which includes the 1999 original as well as The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Resurrections, not to directly involve its co-creators Lana or Lilly Wachowski, though Lana is attached to executive-produce. No word yet on whether the franchise stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie Anne-Moss, Hugo Weaving and Jada Pinkett-Smith will return.

Goddard, who won an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay for The Martian in 2016, has considerable sci-fi credits, having started his writing career on the 90s show Buffy the Vampire Slayer before moving on to such shows as Angel, Alias and Lost. He is the creator of Marvel’s Daredevil, which ran from 2015 to 2018 on Netflix, and an executive producer and director on NBC’s beloved comedy series The Good Place. Additional screenwriting credits include Cloverfield, The Cabin in the Woods and World War Z.

It was Goddard who brought the idea of another Matrix film to Warner Bros, after 2021’s The Matrix Resurrection grossed a less-than-hoped-for $159m worldwide, in part due to a pandemic same-day streaming release.

“Drew came to Warner Bros with a new idea that we all believe would be an incredible way to continue the Matrix world, by both honoring what Lana and Lilly began over 25 years ago and offering a unique perspective based on his own love of the series and characters,” said Jesse Ehrman, Warner Bros Motion Pictures president of production, in a statement. “The entire team at Warner Bros Discovery is thrilled for Drew to be making his new Matrix film, adding his vision to the cinematic canon the Wachowskis spent a quarter of a century building here at the studio.”

Drew Goddard. Photograph: Vincent West/Reuters

The first Matrix, starring Reeves as a computer programmer turned fighter in the cyber underworld, became a defining cultural touchstone at the turn of the millennium for its groundbreaking visual effects, mind-bending story of simulated reality and propulsive action. The film went on to gross $467m worldwide, turned Reeves into a bankable movie star and won four Oscars, for best visual effects, best editing, best sound and best sound editing. Follow-ups to the red pill didn’t go quite as well; The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, released back-to-back in 2003, garnered mixed reviews and uneven audience interest.

The Matrix Resurrections also received poor to mixed reviews, with the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw calling it “a heavy-footed reboot which doesn’t offer a compelling reason for its existence other than to gouge a fourth income stream from Matrix fans”. It was assumed to be the end of the franchise for a while, until Goddard stepped in.

“It is not hyperbole to say The Matrix films changed both cinema and my life,” said Goddard in a statement. “Lana and Lilly’s exquisite artistry inspires me on a daily basis, and I am beyond grateful for the chance to tell stories in their world.”

This article was amended on 3 April 2024. The Martian received an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay but did not win the Oscar as an earlier version said.

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