Here we go again.

Last night’s news that Warner Bros. wanted to resurrect The Matrix sent countless fans scrounging for a blue pill to help them escape this horrifying reality in which studios seem hell-bent on issuing reboot after reboot that nobody ever asked for.

But forgetting this reboot won’t keep it from happening. The best we can hope for is Warner Bros. won’t screw it up too much. In that light, then, we’ve got a few suggestions for Warner Bros. as to how to make their new Matrix good, or at least not totally terrible.

Part of the problem is that what felt bracingly new and original 18 years ago can’t help but feel stale now, particularly when The Matrix’s stamp has been all over action and sci-fi cinema in that time. In fact, this month’s live-action Ghost in the Shell kinda brings the influence full circle – it’s being described as the new Matrix when the original Matrix was actually inspired by the original, animated Ghost in the Shell. Do we really need a new The Matrix to follow in the footsteps of the new Ghost in the Shell?

Well, we probably don’t. But Warner Bros. definitely wants that sweet franchise dough. So here’s our wishlist for the Matrix reboot we never wanted in the first place.

Image: Warner Bros/Village roadshow

Unless you can actually bring this guy back, it’s probably best to just leave him alone. (Her, too.)

1. Forget Neo

Keanu Reeves is Neo. Neo is Keanu Reeves. No one else is ever going to be an acceptable substitute, especially when the original model is an ageless vampire currently in the midst of a career renaissance. And given Reeves’ recent comments about only returning if the Wachowskis do, it’s probably a safe bet he’ll have no interest in plugging back in.

So don’t bother trying to replace the irreplaceable. The Matrix universe is a big one, even if most of the population has been asleep so far. Find a new character to latch onto. (While you’re at it, consider leaving Trinity and Morpheus alone, too. They’ve been through enough.)

Image: village roadshow Pictures

What’s this guy’s deal? Let’s find out!

2. Look to The Animatrix

Before we fans get too precious about the thought of other filmmakers playing in the Wachowskis’ sandbox, it’s worth pointing out that The Animatrix invited artists to do just that all the way back in 2003. The animated anthology film consisted of nine vignettes detailing the history of the universe, filling in the gaps between installments, and exploring other corners of the universe.

Instead of trying to pick back up with the same storyline from the original Matrix, the reboot could be a ripe opportunity to tell completely different kinds of stories – including, perhaps, some adapted from the Animatrix.

Image: Luis Tejido/Epa

Too bad the Wachowskis don’t seem interested in returning.

3. Hire LGBTQ and POC talent

At a time when the vast majority of blockbuster franchises are made for, about, and by straight cisgender white males, The Matrix is the rare IP with LGBTQ roots. Not only was it created by two trans women, it’s rich with queer themes and can (and has) been read as an allegory for the trans coming out experience. Moreover, it’s a heavily Asian-influenced film that actually stars a part-Asian lead (Reeves), which is more than we can say for Ghost in the Shell or Iron Fist.

It’d be a shame, then, if the new Matrix turned out to be just another story about a bunch of generically straight, generically cis, generically white dudes – particularly since the “red pill” concept has long since been commandeered by MRAs. The new Matrix should build on, not run away from, the original’s unique roots by bringing on LGBTQ and POC talent in key roles and inviting them to share their experiences through the franchise.

Image: warner bros/village Roadshow

This was extremely cool 15 years ago. Not so much now.

4. Don’t get too hung up on bullet time

… or any of the other visual signatures from the first Matrix. Sure, it’d make sense for the reboot to nod to the moves that made the original so memorable. There’s not much point in reviving a still-beloved property only to render it unrecognizable, after all.

But the original Matrix was mind-blowing precisely because it didn’t feel familiar. It looked and moved like nothing most people had seen before, and influenced countless action films to follow. So much so, indeed, that the same tricks that felt new and fresh in 1999 will only feel tired and hokey today.

The better bet, then, would be to find a filmmaker who’ll do with the reboot what the Wachowskis actually did with the original: show us something we haven’t seen before. Seize this opportunity to nurture fresh talents who’ll transform the genre for years to come. Make the Matrix brand synonymous with cutting-edge style. Don’t find someone who can recreate the original’s look – find someone who can reinvent it.

Image: village Roadshow

Bring back Jupiter Ascending instead! (Said no one but me.)

5. Just don’t reboot The Matrix

Yeah, this one’s a pipe dream. At a time when every familiar property is getting dusted off and “reimagined” for a new generation, there’s just no way Warner Bros. is leaving a brand this famous and this potentially lucrative on the table. But we can dream.

No one was clamoring for a Matrix sequel (or reboot, or remake, or prequel, or whatever this turns out to be). It’d be far more interesting, and exciting, to see Warner Bros. put that time and money toward something people actually want more of, like another Mad Max or an actually good DC movie. Heck, give the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending another go. Just leave The Matrix where it is.

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