Warner Bros. has halted production on The Matrix 4 as concerns over the coronavirus pandemic continue to rise. The film moved to Berlin for what was meant to be a three-week shoot, but Warner Bros. decided to indefinitely delay further filming after President Trump banned travel to and from Europe. It's unclear if this will affect the film's scheduled 2021 release. The news follows Warner Bros.' decision to shut down production on The Batman for two weeks. It comes at about the same time that the studio announced it would delay principal photography on Fantastic Beasts 3, the third in its series of Harry Potter prequel films.
This after Universal shut down production on its upcoming live-action feature films amid fears about the spread of the new coronavirus and COVID-19. The biggest film affected is Jurassic World: Dominion, the end of a trilogy of films that revived Universal's Jurassic Park franchise. The film began shooting in London in February. Other Universal productions ramping down include boxing drama Flint Strong and an untitled Billy Eichner film. Disney, Netflix, Sony, and others have also halted production on projects. There have also been delays in the releases of finished movies, including A Quiet Place Part II and The New Mutants.
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. The cast also includes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, and, reportedly, Priyanka Chopra.
One original Matrix trilogy star who will not be returning is Hugo Weaving, who played Agent Smith. In a recent interview, Weaving explained that it's not because he wouldn't like to return, but because his schedule is too full.
The original film in the series released in 1999 and introduced audiences to a cyberpunk world where humans are kept as batteries and live in a shared fiction we call reality. The film cast Keanu Reeves as Neo, a hacker searching for the truth about reality who falls in with rebel leader Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and falls in love with Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). The film's blending of philosophy, martial arts, and the aesthetics of the hacker and club subcultures of the era made it a touchstone film at the turn of the century. The film was followed by two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, which completed the story of Neo and the human uprising. Or at least it seemed that way at the time.
The Matrix 4 is currently scheduled to open in theaters on May 21, 2021.