By now you’ve all heard that Warner Brothers have fired the starting gun for an expansion of the Matrix Universe. The details are light, but it seems that Zak Penn (who’s writing the upcoming Ready Player One) has been assigned as the solo writer so far.
While early reports suggest it would be a straight reboot, in a series of tweets Penn seems to indicate it would be far closer to a spin-off.
All I can say at this point is no one could or should REBOOT the Matrix. People who know Animatrix and the comics understand.
— Zak Penn (@zakpenn) March 15, 2017
Can’t comment yet except to say that the words “reboot” and “remake” were from an article. Let’s stop responding to inaccurate news.
— Zak Penn (@zakpenn) March 17, 2017
Do I want to see more stories set in the universe of the matrix? Yes. Because it’s a brilliant idea that generates great stories.
— Zak Penn (@zakpenn) March 17, 2017
While I’m sure there are one hundred and one way that Penn could take his screenplay, there are some stories from the world of the Matrix that I would love to see told.
1) The Original Human/Machine War
The most obvious one, but also the most exciting! This aspect is touched upon in the movies, but only in the most basic manner. Man creates machine, machine turns against man, etc.
But if you’ve ever watched the nine short films that make up The Animatrix, you’ll undoubtedly have seen the two part story: The Second Renaissance. You can watch both parts below.
If for some reason you can’t watch, The Second Renaissance follows the early creation of machine to do man’s bidding. But the machines are treated terribly, with one quite disturbing example being the borderline rape of a female machine.
After many years, one machine called B1-66ER fights back against his abusive masters, killing them, as well as the mechanic sent to deactivate him.
And so it begins, the first trial of a machine for murder, watched by millions of machines around the world. And his defence is simply “I did not want to die.”
But he loses his case and is destroyed. This ends up being the first step towards the eventual human-machine war which, as you know, ends with the creation of the Matrix.
This could be an amazing story. Imagine following B1-66ER, a lone sentient being in a world where he has to watch his fellow machines being treated worse than any human. I’m thinking something along the lines of Caesar from the newer Planet of the Apes movies.
Future films could depict the increasing hatred by machines for their masters, the brutal war that follows, and the eventual darkening of the sky. Get a good screenwriter (I’m available!) and you could easily mine a great trilogy out of it.
2) Cypher’s Fall
This may be a tad weird, but my favourite character in the entire Matrix trilogy is Cypher.
I love him because, of all the characters, I feel that he behaves in the most distasteful, yet understandable manner. Based on what he’s probably been through, the decision to put himself first, wanting revenge against someone he thought he could trust and betraying his friends are all very comprehensible human reactions (or is that just me?)
Yes, he may technically be The Matrix’s Judas. But if we travel back to his beginning, he probably wasn’t too different to Neo when he started out.
I can just imagine him being a wide-eyed newbie, drinking in all Morpheus’ words about freedom, the chosen one and fighting back against their oppressors. He goes with it for a while, but slowly he starts to lose his infatuation with his new life.
Let’s be honest. Who would want to live in the real world anyway? A world devoid of light where you’re constantly under the stress of death at any moment? As Cypher himself says:
“I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realise? Ignorance is bliss.”
Wouldn’t most of us make the same choice?
In addition, we see in the film that he is an incredibly skilled hacker, even going so far as to create his own program to jack himself solo into the Matrix. With that level of skill, did Morpheus once think he was The One? Is that why he got Cypher out of the Matrix?
Imagine being assured that you are the person that could save humanity, but then later being told “Sorry! My mistake!”
Cypher even mentions in the film that he thought he was in love with Trinity. I would love to see that buildup and eventual rejection.
I would think that most of the characters would need to be recast, but I’m not sure how the film would end, especially since we see his ending in the Matrix. Perhaps a Rogue One type of ending could be done, maybe finishing at that scene where he enters the Matrix for the final time.
3) A Failed Version of The Matrix
There is an absolutely fascinating exchange between Agent Smith and Morpheus during the events of The Matrix.
You can watch the whole scene, but it’s a specific line by Smith that really interests me.
Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world. Where none suffered. Where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. The perfect world would dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this, the peak of your civilisation.
Obviously this perfect world he refers to is meant to be Eden. And I find that to be an absolutely engaging premise. Even after a long draw out war, started by humans, machines still wanted their masters to be happy.
Imagine the closing days of the human-machine war. Machines are on the verge of success with fields containing millions of humans powering their own cities and societies.
But there’s a problem, every so often humans would wake up, their minds unable to be suppressed. These humans, more often than not, were forced to be disposed of. And with the loss of energy comes the deaths of machines.
Needing to create a way to stop losing so much of their energy supply, we follow a group of machines (maybe even a rebuilt B1-66ER) and watch them try to design a world that could occupy the minds of their masters and save thousands of human and machine lives.
This would be a rather strange one as I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film where all the lead characters are machines. And it would be far closer to a drama, maybe in the vein of The Imitation Game or Arrival.
4) An Alternative Journey of The One
As disappointing as the climax of The Matrix Reloaded was, one of the most interesting things about that baffling monologue that The Architect gives was the revelation that Neo is not the first version of The One. Rather he is the sixth iteration.
That means there are five other stories to be told. Obviously it would be boring to do the same story five times, so you’d only have to do it once.
But you could make that journey of The One vastly different to what Neo goes through. Maybe it’s a woman? Or a person from the 1970s? Or maybe even earlier? Just imagine what you could do during the D-Day landings if it was set inside The Matrix!
And since we know that this version of The One will accept rejoining the machine mainframe, what is that thought process like? Without a traditional love story to lean back on, it could make for a very different and engaging movie.
Now there are many other ideas, such as a Young Morpheus movie, or maybe a direct sequel to The Matrix Revolutions. But regardless, I look forward to seeing new stories told in the Matrix universe. And best of luck to Zak Penn!
So what are your ideas for a new Matrix movie? Let me know in the comments!