This huge sci-fi franchise is to get a surprise fifth instalment

The fifth movie in the Matrix trilogy is in development and should make its streaming debut on Max

Matrix Resurrections
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

It's 25 years since The Matrix had an explosive impact on cinema, and while it's fair to say that the sequels – the two originally planned sequels and the unexpected Matrix Resurrections from 2021 – didn't have quite the same effect, the world of The Matrix remains one of cinema's biggest hits. So it's not entirely surprising to see that there will now be a fifth Matrix movie, albeit this time without the direct involvement of either Wachowski sister.

The new and currently untitled Matrix movie will be written and directed by Drew Goddard, who wrote the screenplay for The Martian and who directed The Cabin in the Woods. According to Warner Bros' president of production Jesse Ehrman, "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".

But will a Matrix movie without the Wachowskis be the real thing, or just a simulation?

Will a fifth Matrix movie know the path, or walk the path?

The first three Matrix movies were written and directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, with Lana staying in the director's chair for Matrix Resurrections. Lana will be executive producing the new movie, but that's a pretty vague term that doesn't necessarily mean direct involvement. It's also unclear which members of the original cast, such as Keanu Reeves, Carrie Anne-Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving and Jada Pinkett Smith, will be returning.

There's no doubt that Drew Goddard has sci-fi chops: in addition to The Martian his CV includes Cloverfield and World War Z. But some fans of the franchise worry that without either Wachowski, a new Matrix movie may look like the real thing but lack its heart. The sisters had previously ruled out making any more Matrix movies, and it was only after the death of their parents that Lana Wachowski had a change of heart and wrote Resurrections. 

Resurrections made it pretty clear what Lana Wachowski thought of the studio and what she claimed were annual pleas to make another Matrix movie: in one scene, Neo (Reeves) is told by his boss that "things have changed, the market's tough. I'm sure you can understand why our beloved parent company Warner Bros. has decided to make a sequel to the trilogy. They informed me they're going to do it with or without us."

There are already concerns by LGBTQ+ fans of the movies that a Matrix movie with a cisgender straight man at the helm isn't really a Matrix movie: the Wachowskis are both trans and the original movie was famously a trans allegory. But perhaps a newer, straighter Matrix was always inevitable. As Jessica Henwick's character Bugs says in the same movie: "They took your story, something that meant so much to people like me, and turned it into something trivial. That's what the Matrix does. It weaponizes every idea. Every dream. Everything that's important to us."

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (