The Hollywood Reporter dropped a cinematic bombshell on the moviegoing public when they announced that Warner Bros. was exploring reboot potential for its Matrix trilogy which last enjoyed a theatrical release in 2003 when The Matrix Revolutions received less that stellar reviews from critics.
According the report, “Warner Bros. sees a model in what Disney and Lucasfilm have done with Star Wars, exploring the hidden corners of the universe with movies such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or the in-production young Han Solo film. Perhaps a young Morpheus movie could come out of the exploration.”
In the original trilogy, Morpheus was famously played by Lawrence Fishburne who provided added credibility to the film and a certain amount of mystique. Thus, anyone who steps into his shoes – even if that means playing a more naive version of the character – must have the acting chops and an upward career trajectory so as not to jeopardize what Fishburne already accomplished.
Here are five actors we think should be the frontrunners if they do indeed explore the life of the future captain of the Nebuchadnezzar.
Michael B. Jordan
As one of the most promising young actors in all of Hollywood, Michael B. Jordan has already established a precedent that he can carry expectations associated with bearing the name of an established character after he portrayed the son of Apollo Creed.
When doing press for the aforementioned film, Creed, Jordan stated that he felt no pressure and was aware that he could make the character his own, saying, “No pressure, as far as carrying the franchise was concerned, honestly because of getting to know Sly and working with him and working on all the character stuff, the process, the time spent on it before we actually started filming. To hear Sly himself say, ‘Mike, don’t try to copy what I did. This isn’t Rocky; this is Creed. This is your own thing, so don’t worry about having to live up to any expectations. Just put the hard work in, and let’s go out there and have some fun” – that took all the pressure off of me, so I’m not thinking about that legacy or anything like that.”
Donald Glover is another actor aiming to reimagine a classic hero by portraying a young version of Lando Calrissian in the standalone Han Solo film.
Billy D. Williams, who played the original version of Lando, described Glover as, “[Someone] particularly eclectic in the way he approaches his art. When I talked to him I really got the sense of him being a worldly person.”
If the music video for “Sober” from his 2014 EP, Kauai, is any indication, Glover looks quite natural in bullet-time style filmmaking which became hallmarks of the franchise.
Arguably the biggest breakout star of the bunch in 2017, Daniel Kaluuya rose to prominence thanks to his featured role in Jordan Peele’s horror film, Get Out, which saw classic genre tropes removed and more relevant issues like racism infused into the unique plot line.
With additional credits like Skins, Sicario and Black Mirror under his belt, he’s already shown a diversity to his work which has landed him his biggest assignment yet; a place in the Marvel universe in the upcoming film, Black Panther.
While Shameik Moore may seem like a tenured actor in the Hollywood sphere after appearing as the lead in Sundance darling, Dope, and as Shaolin Fantastic in Netflix’s The Get Down, the Atlanta-raised actor is still only 21-years-old – six years younger than the youngest of the aforementioned actors.
Moore has already displayed that he has a good understanding of how to portray a young man in a world that doesn’t quite make sense – whether that be Inglewood in the contemporary or the Bronx in the past .
In speaking about Moore’s acting prowess, Dope filmmaker, Rick Famuyiwa, stated, “He has an intelligence and a sense of humor and this ability to be confident and naive at the same time, which I guess sometimes go hand in hand.”
One can only assume that a role of “Young Morpheus” would contain a similar level of naivity that slowly awakens as he becomes aware of the Matrix.
John Boyega is not satisfied with simply being a part of the updated Star Wars universe with a planned appearance in the forthcoming The Last Jedi.
Hollywood elite outside of that realm have taken note of his acting expertise – with planned work alongside Tom Hanks – and with directors, Kathryn Bigelow and Guillermo del Toro on projects spanning racial inequality in Detroit to a sequel for Pacific Rim.
Whoever ultimately lands the role of a younger Morpheus – should producers settle on that narrative through line – will carry a heavy burden so as not to jeopardize the original trilogy.
Boyega has already been through that process with Star Wars and channeled energy into his character, Finn, that would seem to inform Morpheus’ own journey.
“I think I’m always interested in characters that start off one way and end another,” he said. “I find it very boring to have to read a script where the character always knows what to do, knows who they are, has a blueprint for their lives. I just feel that sort of character is painted for a perfect story. What has always interested me, and what has interested a lot of people, are the characters that are unlikely. The characters that don’t necessarily fit or match the status quo.”
- Featured/Main Image: Warner Bros.