As 2020 continues to be unpredictable on nearly every front, Monday saw another round of box office reshuffling. Warner Bros. made some sweeping changes to its upcoming slate of films and while a number of them were pushed back or unscheduled completely, the much-anticipated The Matrix 4 was given a new date that actually pushes up its release. Warner Bros has announced that the Lana Wachowski feature will now be released on December 22, 2021. It had previously been scheduled on April 1, 2022.
The Matrix 4 is being directed by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the original Matrix trilogy. Original Matrix trilogy stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie Ann Moss are returning to their roles as Neo and Trinity, respectively, leading a cast that includes newcomers Watchmen's Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Iron Fist alum Jessica Henick, Mindhunter's Jonathan Groff, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, iZombie's Andrew Caldwell, and Neil Patrick Harris. Former Sense8 cast members Eréndira Ibarra, Max Riemelt, Brian J. Smith and Toby Onwumere will also appear, reuniting with Wachowski after working with her on the Netflix series.
Filming on The Matrix 4 resumed in late August after having been shut down like so many other film productions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reeves spoke about the film's return to production while promoting Bill & Ted Face the Music.
"I'm here in Berlin, and everybody who's working on the production has worked thoroughly and in concert with the local government and industries and the Babelsberg, [Germany] studios. The protocols are in place. They're effective. The process of filmmaking has felt normal, which I'm really grateful for. And knock on wood, everybody's been OK. We're about three weeks in. The writers [David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon] and the director [Lana Wachowski] have come up with a beautiful, beautiful story. It's really thrilling to be making a much easier Matrix movie."
The Matrix 4 is one of the first major Hollywood productions to return for filming after coronavirus effectively shut down the entertainment industry earlier this year, and Reeves previously spoke about the protocols put in place to keep everyone safe as they work to complete the movie.
"It's great. It's an honor to be working. I'm in Berlin, you can hear the sirens," Reeves told the Associated Press. "You know, there's some really thoughtful, effective protocols in place. The rhythm of filmmaking has been not really impacted or interrupted."
He added, "If you're ever going to get into any kind of situation that needs to be figured out or 'How do we do this?' Show business people are the best," the star added. "We're scrappy, we know how to get stuff done. We're inventive, we think on our feet. That kind of kindred spirit coming together. It goes back to 'Let's put on a show! We've got some props, we've got some things, we're going to run it!' That spirit is definitely alive and well on The Matrix."
The Matrix 4 is now scheduled to release in theaters on December 22, 2021.