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As an actor’s career evolves, they often find themselves becoming typecast in a certain type of role or genre. Sometimes, a star will actively look to escape the category Hollywood puts them in. And in other cases, they lean into it because of their own interests. The latter scenario seems to be true for Keanu Reeves and his tendency to appear in hit films like The Matrix.

Keanu Reeves at the 'John Wick' special screenings
Keanu Reeves at the ‘John Wick’ special screenings | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Lionsgate

Keanu Reeves has starred in a ton of sci-fi movies exploring the future

Even early on in his career, Reeves began an ongoing relationship with science fiction on screen. Just a few years after his big-screen debut, the actor starred opposite Alex Winter in time-travel comedy Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. That film and its 1991 sequel gave Reeves his first of several movie franchises, including 2020’s Bill and Ted Face the Music.

But the actor has also developed a long relationship with sci-fi fans. He also explored a dystopian version of the future in 1999’s The Matrix and its sequels. Then there’s less successful sci-fi thrillers like 1995’s Johnny Mnemonic, 1996’s Chain Reaction, 2006’s A Scanner Darkly, and 2008’s The Day the Earth Stood Still remake. But why the preoccupation with sci-fi?

The actor explained why his career keeps leading back to the future

Reeves was asked just that in a recent interview with BBC. And the answer is — as the actor’s fans might expect — a lot purer than simply the mainstream appeal sci-fi often offers. Rather, Reeves merely follows his own interest and passion in choosing so many sci-fi projects.

“Yeah, I’m curious about the future and I think growing up on William Gibson and Neuromancer, and reading Philip K. Dick, even Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Watching Road Warrior, Mad Max, Blade Runner. Even Planet of the Apes. Reading Lord of the Rings. Exploration of fantasy, science fiction.

I don’t know. I just feel the motifs that occur in this kind of storytelling is oftentimes examining the world that we live in. For me, there was something aspirational or supportive in participating in these stories that gave me escapism, but also helped me define my world view and interpret the world.”

The actor’s answer certainly helps put his filmography in perspective. After all, his natural curiosity about the world does play well into his ability to explore what the future might hold. He goes on to tell the BBC he’s working on his optimism for the future, an approach that fits nicely with the Bill and Ted franchise.


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Keanu Reeves is suiting up as Neo again for ‘The Matrix 4’ in 2021

And just after returning to play Ted “Theodore” Logan in that series, Reeves isn’t leaving sci-fi behind anytime soon. In fact, the actor is about to leap headfirst into one of the most philosophically rich projects of his career. In 2021, he’ll reprise his role as Neo in director Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix 4.

Given his character’s fate in the previous movie, fans are curious what Reeves’ story will cover this time around. Based on comments he’s made, they have a good idea of how he’ll return. But certainly, The Matrix series has always been concerned with humanity’s grim potential future. Will the upcoming fourth film help or hinder Reeves’ optimism?