The irony of making Matrix 5 after The Matrix Resurrections

Drew Goddard is set to make a new film in the franchise for Warner Bros.

'The Matrix Resurrections'. (Murray Close/Warner Bros)
The Matrix Resurrections made it clear where the Wachowskis stood on the idea of the franchise continuing beyond their original trilogy. (Warner Bros)

The Matrix franchise is returning for a fifth time, with Warner Bros announcing a new film and confirming the Wachowskis are being replaced by Drew Goddard.

Taking the Wachowskis' creation and adding to the franchise's legacy without them seems wrong in many respects, but not entirely unsurprising. Lana Wachowski did warn us after all in The Matrix Resurrections that this would happen, which makes the announcement of a fifth film rather ironic.

The Matrix Resurrections brought back Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss as Neo and Trinity, with the former helping save the latter reawaken after he follows the white rabbit one more time to discover the true reality.

While it had its faults and failed to set the box office alight, the film was bold in its examination of the Hollywood nostalgia machine, with Wachowski returning without her sister Lilly but delivering a clear message on both their behalves: Sequels aren't necessary.

Resurrections makes several nods to the state of the film industry today with its emphasis on sequels, prequels and reboots. One scene sees Jonathan Groff's Smith share a sentiment that feels pretty on point given the recent announcement of Matrix 5.

Speaking with Neo, Smith said: "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 have informed me they will do it without us."

Read more: The Matrix Reloaded's 'Zion rave' was the moment the series 'jumped the shark'

When Neo claims that he "thought they can’t do that", Smith adds that Warner Bros. most certainly can and went on: "And they made it clear they’ll kill our contract if we don’t cooperate.

"I know you said the story was over for you, but that’s the things about stories they never really end do they? We’re still telling the same stories we’ve always told just with different names, different faces, I’ve got to say I’m excited, after all we’re going back to where it all started — back to The Matrix."

Carrie Ann-Moss and Reeves in The Matrix (Credit: Warner Bros)
Carrie Ann-Moss and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, the 1999 film was followed up by 2003's The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, and then 2021's The Matrix Resurrections. (Warner Bros)

This meta commentary continues sporadically throughout the film, with The Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) returning for a scene in which he berates Neo, Trinity and others for returning to The Matrix, whilst also delivering savage commentary on films and society today.

He says Neo "ruined everything" and adds: "We had grace, we had style, we had conversation, not this beep beep beep [referencing phones]. Art, films, books were all better, originality mattered."

It's hard not to see the clear message Wachowski is sending through The Merovingian's rant, but to top it off for anyone who didn't quite understand, the character later says: "Is this not over yet? Sequel, franchise, spin-off" before spitting on the ground. Message received.

Lana Wachowski returned without her sister Lilly to helm 'The Matrix Resurrections'. (Murray Close/Warner Bros)
Lana Wachowski returned without her sister Lilly to helm The Matrix Resurrections, but she appeared to send a clear message on both their behalves through the film. (Warner Bros.)

The final moments of the movie sees Trinity face off against The Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris), whose last lines also shows Wachowski's feelings on the Matrix franchise continuing beyond the trilogy she and her sister created.

The Analyst urges Trinity and Neo to "remake" the world, but warns: "The Sheeple aren’t going anywhere, they like my world, they don’t want this sentimentality. They don’t want freedom or empowerment, they want to be controlled. They crave the comfort of certainty, that means you two back in your pods unconscious and alone, just like them."

Whether a fifth Matrix film will continue with Wachowski's vision for Trinity and Neo in the franchise at the end of Resurrections is unclear, but Goddard is said to plan on honouring her and her sister's work.

In a statement, Warner Bros. Motion Pictures boss Jesse Ehrman said: "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 honouring what Lana and Lilly began over 25 years ago and offering a unique perspective based on his own love of the series and characters.

Keanu Reeves loves to get involved in stunt work. (Warner Bros)
In one scene from Matrix Resurrections, Smith says that Warner Bros. 'have informed me they will do [a sequel] without us', which has now happened with the fifth film. (Warner Bros)

"The entire team at Warner Bros. Discovery is thrilled for Drew to be making this new Matrix film, adding his vision to the cinematic canon the Wachowskis' spent a quarter of a century building here at the studio."

Read more: Matrix cinematographer blames Kubrick advice for 'soul-numbing' sequels

Fans of the franchise are not as delighted by the news, though, with many vowing not to watch the fifth film because the Wachowskis are not involved. The backlash has been quite fierce, and many have turned to referring to the meta commentary of Resurrections to explain why it shouldn't happen.

The Matrix is a perfect film, it was groundbreaking and completely changed cinema when it was released. It's so good that one could argue it helped soften the blow of three poor sequels —2003's Reloaded and Revolutions, and 2021's Resurrections— that just couldn't live up to the same standards.

Will this change with a fifth film? Previous experience suggests not, and Matrix Resurrections was clear in sharing exactly how the Wachowskis feel about trying to do so.

The Matrix movies are available to stream on Sky Cinema and NOW.

Watch the trailer for Matrix Resurrections: