Joe Pantoliano really wants to be in The Matrix 4. The actor starred in the 1999 The Matrix as the treacherous Cypher, but hasn’t received the call from Lana Wachowski, who returns to direct the long-awaited The Matrix 4, which brings back original trilogy stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. Despite that — and the fact that his character kind of kicked the bucket in the first film — Pantoliano has put in several calls to Wachowski with his ideas how Cypher can return.
It seems like every franchise is making a comeback lately. Even the Bad Boys franchise, in which Pantoliano had a recurring role, returned after a 17-year-hiatus and had a cozy spot available for Pantoliano to reprise his supporting role. So it’s no surprise that Pantoliano is trying to campaign for his The Matrix character, Cypher, to make a return in The Matrix 4. Just a few problems: his character is dead. And he hasn’t received a call from director Lana Wachowski.
But that’s not stopping Pantoliano from appealing to Wachowski for a return. In an interview with CinemaBlend on their ReelBlend podcast, Pantoliano revealed that he’s “lobbied” for Cypher to return and has even “sent little notes to Lana and asked her, to no response.”
Pantoliano made a memorable turn in The Matrix, appearing as the hacking expert Cypher, who would betray the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar to Agent Smith in exchange for a life of ignorant bliss (his steak monologue remains an iconic part of the film). But Cypher would end up being shot and killed by the people he tried to betray before he could re-enter the Matrix, unable to reap his rewards. Pantoliano wouldn’t appear in the two sequels, 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, due to his character being dead. But with Neo and Trinity apparently returning to life after their characters’ apparent deaths in Revolutions, anything is possible.
But even Pantoliano has acknowledged how unlikely it is, telling CinemaBlend, “I doubt they’re going to be bringing me back.”
It’s by no means because of Pantoliano himself, who has maintained a good relationship with the Wachowskis, making a recurring appearance in their Netflix sci-fi series Sense8. But it seems like for now Wachowski’s decision to not bring Cypher back in The Matrix 4 is a creative one and not a personal one. And with production on The Matrix 4 currently shut down amid the coronavirus (COVDI-19) pandemic, it’s likely Wachowski is not taking many business calls either.
The Matrix 4 is being directed by Lana Wachowski, who co-wrote the script with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon. Original franchise cast members Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Jada Pinkett Smith are all set to return, with new cast members including Priyanka Chopra, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Toby Onwumere, Brian J. Smith, Eréndira Ibarra, Andrew Caldwell, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. There’s still no word if original series star Laurence Fishburne is coming back, and rumor has it that Abdul-Mateen is playing a younger version of Fishburne’s character Morpheus. Beyond that, plot details remain a secret.
The Matrix 4 is still set for a May 21, 2021 release date.
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