The film will be a joint production by Village Roadshow Pictures and Venus Castina Productions and is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures theatrically on December 22, 2021; it will also stream digitally on the ad-free tier of HBO Max in the United States for a month beginning on that same date.
While making the Matrix films, the Wachowskis told their close collaborators that they, at the time, had no intention of making another film in the series after The Matrix Revolutions (2003). Instead, they gave their blessing to the notion of gamers "inherit[ing] the storyline", and The Matrix Online video game was billed as the official continuation. Rumors of a new installment began to circulate online in 2012 when it was reported that the Wachowskis had been planning two additional films in the series and had discussions with Keanu Reeves about reprising his role as Neo. Another rumor in 2014 claimed that the siblings had submitted a story treatment for a new Matrix trilogy to Warner Bros. These were later confirmed to be false. In February 2015, in interviews promoting Jupiter Ascending (2015), Lilly Wachowski called a return to The Matrix a "particularly repelling idea in these times" when studios preferred to green-light sequels, reboots, and adaptations over original material, while Lana Wachowski, addressing rumors about a potential reboot, said they had not heard anything but believed the studio might be looking to replace them. At various times, Keanu Reeves and Hugo Weaving each confirmed their interest and willingness to reprise their roles in potential future installments of the Matrix films, with the stipulation that the Wachowskis were involved in the creative and production process.
In March 2017, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Warner Bros. was in the early stages of developing a relaunch of the franchise, with Zak Penn in talks to write a treatment, and interest in getting Michael B. Jordan attached to star. Neither of the Wachowskis was involved at that stage, although the studio had hoped for their blessing. The notion of a reboot or remake was denounced by Penn, and ideas for stories set in the already established universe were explored, including, reportedly, a prequel film about a young Morpheus or a sequel film from a descendant of his. In March 2018, Penn said he was working on a revival of the franchise and teased the possibility of an expanded universe. Penn clarified in October 2019 that he had been working on one of two Matrix projects at Warner Bros., and that his work was separate from the planned film.
The film was officially announced by Warner Bros. on August 20, 2019. Lana Wachowski returned as sole director, with Reeves and Moss confirmed to reprise their roles. The script was written by Wachowski, David Mitchell, and Aleksandar Hemon, who had previously written the series finale of Sense8 together. The Wachowskis also previously directed the film adaptation (2012) of Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas. Lilly Wachowski was not involved with the film due to work on the Showtime series Work in Progress, but gave her blessing to those involved to come up with a story even "better than the original". She further elaborated by stating that she needed time away from the industry to "reconnect with myself as an artist and I did that by going back to school and painting and stuff", in addition to being emotionally affected by the passing of her parents.John Toll was hired to serve as cinematographer that same month. Toll was cinematographer on the Wachowskis' films Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending, and Sense8. In October 2019, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was cast in the film, with some sources speculating he would be playing a young Morpheus, while Neil Patrick Harris was added in an undisclosed role. Jada Pinkett Smith entered negotiations to reprise her role as Niobe, with Jessica Henwick entering negotiations to join in an undisclosed role. Pinkett-Smith and Henwick were confirmed in December, along with the additions of Jonathan Groff and Toby Onwumere.
The film's press release states that The Matrix Resurrections is a direct sequel to the story established in the first film. This has led to some confusion among fans, who wonder if this means that Resurrections is still a sequel to the original Matrix trilogy or if it works as a sequel to only the first film, ignoring the events of Reloaded and Revolutions.
On March 16, 2020, production on the film was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 16, 2020, Keanu Reeves confirmed filming had resumed in Berlin. Principal photography wrapped on November 11, 2020.
On August 24, 2021, the title was revealed as The Matrix Resurrections. A trailer was screened as part of Warner Bros.' panel at CinemaCon that day, featuring a meeting between Neo and Trinity. Ahead of the film's first official trailer being released on September 9, 2021, the movie's official website was updated on September 7, presenting random clips of the trailer to the user and narration based on their time of day.
The film was initially set for release on May 21, 2021, which would have premiered alongside John Wick: Chapter 4 also starring Keanu Reeves. However, the film was postponed to April 1, 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On October 5, 2020, the film was moved to December 22, 2021. The film is set to be the final film from Warner Bros. Pictures to have a simultaneous release on the HBO Max streaming service for one month as part of the studio's plans for all of its 2021 theatrical films, as Warner Bros. will discontinue the release model in 2022 in favor of a 45-day exclusive theatrical window as part of new agreements the studio reached with Cineworld (which owns Regal Cinemas) and AMC Theatres.
^"'The Matrix Resurrections': Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Reveals He's Playing Morpheus". Collider. September 9, 2021. Archived from the original on September 10, 2021. Retrieved September 9, 2021. After the release of the trailer for The Matrix Resurrections, many long-time fans of the franchise have pondered what role Yahya Abdul-Mateen II would be playing, given his eerily similar appearance to Laurence Fishburne's Morpheus. Fans can now rest easy (or not, depending on your perspective), as the Candyman star has confirmed on Instagram that he is, in fact, taking over the role of Morpheus for the franchise's fourth installment.