Dear Readers, my heart goes out to everyone impacted by the pandemic whether that be physically, or fears about the risks, the financial worries and the long list of concerns. I’m filled with pride and hero worship for health workers, grocery store staff and a long list of others on the front line. I’m donating 100% of my book sales revenues for the next three months to health workers relief funds.
Being a bit of a sci-fi nerd, The Matrix series has a place in my heart for several reasons, so I am excited to see The Matrix 4 in production. I fondly remember Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) as some of the first really gritty, female characters in sci-fi who were more significant and real than most of their male counterparts. They were presented as tough equals and not eye-candy (despite the PVC catsuit). This was a feat as ground breaking as the movie's up-to-then unparalleled special effects, and the sort of characters I strive to aspire to make Marcy, Gia and the Kobe sisters in my novels.
I remember watching "the making of" DVDs and being fascinated that The Matrix movies were produced by two brothers, Laurence and Andy Wachowski. I had never heard of sibling producers working on a movie before. Their approach to filming in Australia was unique, and I loved how they demanded the team push the boundaries for several new effects. Trinity's kick, where time freezes and the camera circles around. The bullets that leave sound trails and time slows as Neo dodges around, and later raises a fearless hand to freeze bullets in the air. The scary, spidery Sentinels, which moved in a truly mechanical fashion but also like animals too. The Niobe character stayed with me and was the inspiration for The Nude Detective character Naomi (Books 2 and 3); in part for appearance but also for the way she stood as her own person supporting Neo against her husband Lock (Harry Lennix) in the defence of humanity.
In researching The Wachowski brothers, I discovered two interesting things I didn't know. Firstly, some other of their works that I hadn't attributed to them, but now that I know, I can see the similarity are Bound, V for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Rising and Sense8. Sense8 was a bit more of a shock to discover it was from their stable as, unlike the others, it was so openly sexual. Vivid onscreen sex and sex toys, as well as gay, lesbian and queer characters. Secondly, I discovered that over the last 14 years, both Wachowski brothers (first Laurence and then Andy) came out as transgender women. The Wachowski Brothers are now The Wachowski Sisters. Another first in the movie industry?
The Matrix wrapped up in 2003, and around 2009 Laurence transitioned to Lana, and around 2016 Andy transitioned to Lily. Sense8 Season Two was the first production that Lana completed without Lily (Lana worked on this with her own wife's production company instead). Lana has gone on to write, produce, and direct The Matrix 4 while Lily is writing and is the executive producer for Showtime's Work in Progress.
One thing I take away from the Wachowski's work to date is they don't politely follow the emerging Hollywood formula; they put a lot of themselves into each work and push to break the mold. So I can't wait to see how all of these events might effect The Matrix 4. Obviously, computer effects have advanced, as have what we permit and expect in terms of progressive content. Will The Matrix 4 have LGTBQ characters, and will it be "sexed up?" Will we have to wait until 2021 to find out? I anticipate they will surprise us with the unexpected, as they always seem to do.