Yesterday brought two major bombshell reports that no one saw coming. The first one was the major announcement of Marvel parting ways with Sony and Spider-Man. The other was the long-awaited report confirming Matrix 4 is a go with Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Lana Wachowski returning to direct.
The sequel is also said to feature a young Morpheus with someone else playing Laurence Fishburne’s iconic role.
However, a surprising part of the story is that Lana’s sister Lilly Wachowski will not come back to direct alongside Lana. Especially since both Lana and Lilly, then known as the Wachowski Brothers, helmed all three of the original films.
So what does this mean? Why did Lilly Wachowski decide not to return to the franchise that made her famous? Here is what we know.
Why did Lilly Wachowski decide not to direct Matrix 4?
There was nothing official said yesterday about Lilly not returning — but she actually confirmed the news herself earlier in the summer. At the same time she gave the project her blessing, saying:
I like it when stories go out into the world and then come back to you in different ways. I mean, that’s what storytelling is all about. I’m part of a bigger thing. I don’t have any ownership over stuff like that, so whatever story anybody wants to tell, I can’t wait to hear. I hope it’s better than the original.
Yesterday Lana mentioned Lilly when the news broke that the Matrix franchise was returning, saying: “Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now. I’m very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends.”
As far as anyone knows, there’s no inner turmoil between the two directors. In fact, they have a long history of being quite supportive of one another, including when they both came out as transgender.
Lana (formerly Larry) started making the transition between 2008 and 2010 when they were just coming off the heels of Speed Racer. Lilly (formerly Andy) made her announcement around March 2016 in a public post and mentioned the support of her family, which one can assume includes Lana:
I am one of the lucky ones. Having the support of my family and the means to afford doctors and therapists has given me the chance to actually survive this process. Transgender people without support, means and privilege do not have this luxury.
One of the reasons for Lilly’s departure may stem from a report back in 2018 involving the two directors shutting down their studio in Chicago. The last three projects — Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas, and Jupiter Ascending — did not make a huge splash with the general public despite being extremely ambitious endeavors.
Because of this, it sounded like the duo were on the brink of retirement. It also sounded like the cancellation of Netflix’s Sense8 was possibly the final straw. Lana had this to say about closing their offices down:
“Lilly and I have always tried to build family wherever we worked, and for years this building has been that family’s home. ”
C. Robert Cargill — screenwriter of Sinister and Doctor Strange also had this to say about them closing the doors.
When I talked to Lana this summer, she said she felt pretty much done, like she accomplished everything she set out to do. I'm hoping inspiration and the boredom of a brief retirement brings them back, Soderberg style.
— C. Robert Cargill (@Massawyrm) October 24, 2018
On her Twitter account, Lilly describes herself as an “ex-film maker”. However, she is still involved in television — currently working on new Showtime series Work in Progress, about a relationship between a transgender man and a lesbian woman.
At the Television Critics Association (TCA) summer press tour, when asked about working on the new Matrix movie she replied that she was “pretty busy at the moment” due to her involvement in Work in Progress. She also said she was taking a step back from science fiction, and that working on her new show was “super freeing”:
My agent kept sending me stuff, and a lot of science fiction. Great. It’s good stuff, science fiction. You get to talk a lot about a lot of subjects. There’s always fabulous subtext in science fiction. Since my transition, I’m not really interested in subtext at this time.
All things considered, it seems that Lilly Wachowski is on hiatus from making films — especially sci-fi ones. And while it’s unfortunate that we won’t see the same duo take on the beloved Matrix property like before, it’s still exciting to have one of the voices return.
The Matrix 4 currently does not have the title or release date but stay tuned at Monsters & Critics for updates.