Why Lilly Wachowski Sat Out ‘The Matrix 4’: Idea of Return ‘Expressly Unappealing’

“I was going to go back and live in these old shoes in a way. And I didn’t want to do that,” filmmaker says about upcoming sequel

Lilly Wachowski Matrix 4
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Lilly Wachowski, one half of the Wachowski sisters who directed the original “Matrix” trilogy, on Wednesday clarified why she’s not involved as a director or writer on the upcoming “Matrix 4,” saying that the idea of returning to something older in her career felt “expressly unappealing.”

Lilly Wachowski said that her sister Lana Wachowski had come up with an idea for “The Matrix 4” in the short period of time between their parents dying and couldn’t find the motivation to do it.

“There was something about the idea of going backwards and being a part of something that I had done before that was expressly unappealing,” Wachowski said at Showtime’s TCA panel Wednesday on behalf of “Work in Progress,” for which she’s the showrunner. “Like, I didn’t want to have gone through my transition and gone through this massive upheaval in my life, the sense of loss from my mom and dad, to want to go back to something that I had done before and sort of walk over old paths that I had walked in, felt emotionally unfulfilling and really the opposite. Like I was going to go back and live in these old shoes in a way. And I didn’t want to do that.”

Wachowski added that she felt “completely exhausted” after the pressures of making “Cloud Atlas,” “Jupiter Ascending” and the first season of “Sense8” back to back. And when Netflix called about doing a second season, she was eager to do something different.

“My world was like falling apart, to some extent, even while I was like, you know, cracking out of my egg. So I needed this time away from this industry,” she said. “I needed to, like, reconnect to myself as an artist. And I did that by going back to school and painting and stuff. And I made that decision. So I started painting that summer with my mom and then Lana got the call from Netflix that they wanted to order up another season. And I said, ‘I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it.’”

Lilly said that Lana’s reasons for wanting to make the new “Matrix” film were different than her own, and making “Work in Progress” allowed her to “be myself.” Lilly also added that she hasn’t spoken with Lana since work on “The Matrix” sequel was completed and replied “Who knows” when asked if she would collaborate with her sister again in the future.

Though Lilly Wachowski hadn’t previously commented on why she wasn’t working on “The Matrix 4,” at TCA in 2019 she said that since her transition she was less interested in sci-fi and felt like she had “one foot out the door.”

“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,” Wachowski explained (via Decider). “Since my transition, I’m not really interested in subtext at this time.”

Warner Bros. debuted footage from the fourth “Matrix” movie at CinemaCon on Tuesday, revealing that the official title for the film is “The Matrix Resurrections.” The movie brings back stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss and Lana Wachowski as writer and director along with a new cast including Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Jada Pinkett Smith and Daniel Bernhardt. The movie will open in theaters on December 22.

Jennifer Maas contributed to this report.


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