“What is the Matrix?” Keanu Reeves asked in the Wachowskis' 1999 sci-fi classic. Fans of the sci-fi franchise may be coming to terms with the same question follow a report from earlier this week that Warner Bros. hopes to return to "The Matrix" in a new film based on a treatment by Zak Penn.
However, the co-writer of "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Pacific Rim: Uprising" was quick to take to Twitter to head off rumors that the nascent project is a reboot or a remake.
The series of tweets began with Penn asserting that "no one could or should reboot" the beloved franchise. He then reached out to hardcore fans by referencing the "Animatrix" anthology anime, which explored the origins and the evolution of the Matrix. He also hinted the project may take place in an expanded Matrix universe.
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
The writer then got a little mysterious, saying he "can't comment," and that reports of a reboot or a remake are inaccurate.
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
While he may have urged fans not to buy into the hype and rumors, he threw a little powder on the fire himself. Penn asserted he wouldn't recast the iconic role of Neo, originated by Reeves. While that says nothing about the return of the character, it can only lead to further speculation.
If I were going to recast Keanu Reeves, I would cast Keanu Reeves.— Zak Penn (@zakpenn) March 17, 2017
Penn then got a little meta, suggesting he is writing a reboot of "Ready Player One," the upcoming Steven Spielberg film he scripted, featuring the same cast and crew, for simultaneous release. That, however, was merely a prelude to his view that the original "Matrix" should be re-released rather than remade or rebooted.
I'm working on the reboot of Ready Player One. Same creative team and cast. To be released concurrently with the original.— Zak Penn (@zakpenn) March 17, 2017
How about just re-release the matrix? Don't reboot it, you can't do better.— Zak Penn (@zakpenn) March 17, 2017
The writer then doubled down on the idea of an expanded universe, suggesting fans are ready to see such stories, and that the Matrix universe is a "brilliant idea."
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
He concluded by praising the quality of Fox's X-Men universe, which may have been somewhat self-serving, as Penn wrote the story for "X-Men 2," and co-wrote the script for "X-Men: Last Stand."
Look at what people are doing with Xmen universe. Between Logan and Legion and Deadpool, does anyone want them to stop? Not me.— Zak Penn (@zakpenn) March 17, 2017
The potential revival of the "Matrix" franchise comes at a crucial time for Warner Bros. Despite the studio's tremendous success, last year's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Suicide Squad" failed to meet box office expectations, and were met with mixed reviews from fans and critics.