Saying the quiet part out loud. Somehow, this has always felt like the bleeding heart of The Matrix movies. Under the simulation theory, cool bullet-dodging, and even cooler soundtracks, the movies are about pointing out the facades and fakery that surround us. Evil forces are trying to placate everyone and it’ll only stop if you talk about it. That is perhaps why so many people expressed relief when Lilly Wachowski, who wrote and directed the original Matrix trilogy with her sister Lana, seemingly confirmed that the series was, in some ways, a transgender narrative.

Fans had been speculating about it for years, particularly after the Wachowskis came out as trans, but then one of them finally said it.

Typically, saying the quiet part out loud means accidentally revealing a secret motive. In the case of The Matrix, the (not) hidden agenda is just about the importance of individualism. The red-pill-or-blue-pill of it all is whether you choose to accept reality. This is why, as my colleague Jason Kehe pointed out a few years ago, Matrix Resurrections put a mirror up to the self-hatred and nostalgia baked into its own audience. To love The Matrix is to love something perfectly comfortable with screaming its own intentions—and imperfections.

Which is why, on this weird April day, I find myself asking: Why is Drew Goddard making the next Matrix movie? No offense to Goddard, but the man is nothing if not earnest. Painfully so. He made The Martian better, though far less wry, than the book. Alias, Cloverfield, Lost, Cabin in the Woods. He’s got the mystery box thing down. His projects, though, are rarely what one would call edgy. They’re crowd-pleasers. Matrix movies never felt crafted to please anyone. That’s what made them so much fun.

According to Jesse Ehrman, president of Warner Bros. Motion Pictures, Goddard got the gig because he came to the studio with “a new idea that we all believe would be an incredible way to continue the Matrix world.” I’m also compelled to note that Lana is executive producing, so it’s not that there is no Wachowski involvement here, but it’s unclear what anyone’s motive is for continuing a franchise that could’ve been left alone.

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Normally the answer to this question would be “money,” but the last Matrix—2021’s Resurrections—didn’t, relatively speaking, make a ton of it. Perhaps that’s what Goddard’s emplacement is an attempt to fix. Ever since the Warner Bros.–Discovery merger, the company has been focusing on surefire winners and sending movies like Batgirl to the dustbin. Maybe handing Goddard the keys to the Nebuchadnezzar provides an opportunity to make a Matrix with a little more mass appeal. Saying the quiet part out loud, maybe it’s a chance to make a less weird, bankable hit.


Admittedly, I’m wont to bristle at the idea of a Matrix reboot, even when the result turns out surprisingly well. There’s a chance The Matrix 5 (or The Matrix Rebrand, etc.) will be fantastic, even if it doesn’t come directly from the minds of the Wachowskis. But after watching The People’s Joker this week, it’s been hard not to ponder what happens when someone completely reimagines worlds everyone thought they knew. Director-star Vera Drew’s parody is unlike any Batman movie before it. The Joker serves as hero and Bruce Wayne is a media mogul. There’s no quiet part; it’s just loud. A template for the Matrices to come.


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