The last time we were inside The Matrix was in December 2021. Many fans were nervous before the release of the new sequel, The Matrix: Resurrections. Would the return of Neo, Morpheus and Trinity match expectations, or would it be a flop? And with the sequel, fans had started to wonder if they would ever see a The Matrix TV series.
The film got modest to high reviews from most critics, but fans were less enthusiastic. Despite hoping for the best, the film tanked at the box office. It didn’t help that Warner Bros. released it on HBO Max on the same day as its theatrical release. The film was one of the highest-viewed releases on the streaming network.
Even if streaming numbers are accounted for, it still didn’t absolve the poor box office legs shown by Matrix: Resurrections. The months, weeks and days before the film’s release were filled with optimism for the franchise’s future. At the time, The Hollywood Reporter mentioned a new trilogy might be in the works. They said there were rumours of a spinoff series based on the Bugs character, played by Jessica Henwick.
No Such Luck
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The report threw water over all this talk of new films and spinoff series. The failure of Matrix: Resurrections at the box office quelled all plans being hatched for the future. Sadly, fans did not get the opportunity to enjoy a fun, exciting quasi-philosophical sci-fi action film. In fact, many had their perception of the franchise tainted by a dud Matrix film that undermines everything that made the original great.
Warner Bros. was said to have been harassing the Wachowskis to make more Matrix films for years. The siblings were led to believe that if they didn’t take the helm and make more films, the studio would proceed to make the films without them, according to a report by Screen Rant. Rather than let this happen, Lana Wachowski intervened to direct a new sequel. However, no one from the studio seemed to be harassing them to make it a good Matrix film.
The Wachowski’s battle with the studio is in Matrix 4’s storyline. The film reimagines Neo as a game developer. Like Lana, he is cornered and pressured to make a sequel to his game. His boss, a reimagined Agent Smith, tells Neo that the studio will make the game with or without him. The parallels between the creators of the Matrix and Neo are apparent in this scene.
What The Matrix Series Could Have Been
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Maybe Lana killed the film to ensure that no one will touch the franchise for a long time, if ever. Instead of going scorched earth with the property, another option could have been to send The Matrix to streaming and allow different creators to take the helm under Wachowski’s leadership. The siblings, or Lana, could have been the producers or showrunners of the show.
Writing in The Hollywood Reporter, Phil Pirrello speculated that The Matrix was primed for a limited streaming release. He writes, ‘A new, deeper dive into The Matrix would benefit from an expanded, multi-episode arc. Basically, a more successful version of what the noble misfire The Animatrix was trying to achieve.’ The Animatrix was a short film anthology series that detailed the backstory of The Matrix universe.
The Matrix Universe
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Pirrello believed that a series, ‘would allow for the type of world-building and character-driven storyline audiences can’t help but invest in for the long haul of several seasons. The series could have explored Neo’s character with more nuance and depth. How did he handle his new flight abilities after the first Matrix?
A multi-season run could have allowed The Matrix mythology to expand the character development of Neo, Trinity and others. With the freedom to have more intricate writing, the creators could have explored the main characters’ backstories in greater depth. How did Neo become a hacker? What choices did Trinity make that put her on the path to joining Morpheus and the resistance?
Just as Danny Boyle’s new Matrix-inspired stage production called Free Your Minduses the film to make a contemporary statement on machines and technology, a TV series could have taken the current technological zeitgeist and weaved a new storyline, similar to the original but updated better than the last film did.
A whole season could have explored the history of Zion. The underground city was never fully delved into within the films; thus, a series could linger here and show the foundations of how the city was created and who the principal characters were that laid its foundations. The Zion aspects would be more like a prequel. The series could also focus on the machines and how they eventually took control of the natural world and created the Matrix. If you focus on Zion, the creators would be forced to focus on the initial battles between humans and machines.
The Matrix‘s incredible potential for excellent sci-fi storytelling is dormant and can be extracted to make a great series or a reboot film. The only question is why the Wachoskis didn’t recognize this, or perhaps they do and, for some reason, do not want to carry on their legacy.
Filmgoers and fans were eager to see if The Matrix 4 would reignite the franchise.
The fourth film was a massive disappointment for many fans.
The Matrix could instead have been released as a limited television series that explores the characters and world of the Matrix in more detail.
What do you think about The Matrix as a limited TV series? Please give us your thoughts in the comments below.