Lilly Wachowski has opened up about her decision to step away — or rather step forward — from The Matrix franchise ahead of its fourth installment.
On Wednesday, during a Television Critics Association Summer Tour virtual panel for her Showtime series Work in Progress, Lilly was asked about her reasons for moving in a different creative direction than her sister, Lana Wachowski, who directed The Matrix Resurrections (a.k.a. The Matrix 4) solo.
"That's a tough one," Lilly began. "I got out of my transition and was just completely exhausted because we had made Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending, and the first season of Sense8 back-to-back-to-back. We were posting one, and prepping the other at the exact same time. So you're talking about three 100-plus days of shooting for each project, and so, coming out and just being completely exhausted, my world was like, falling apart to some extent even while I was like, you know, cracking out of my egg. So I needed this time away from this industry. I needed to reconnect with myself as an artist and I did that by going back to school and painting and stuff."
Amy Sussman/Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Lilly Wachowski and Lana Wachowski
The filmmaker, who is the showrunner, executive producer, writer, and director of Work in Progress, explained that she first stepped away creatively ahead of the second season of the Wachowski siblings' Netflix series, Sense8 (which returned in 2017).
When Lana came up with an idea for the fourth Matrix movie (the first footage of the film was released Tuesday at CinemaCon), it came at a time when Lilly, who is transgender, felt the need to move on to new things, and walk a different path.
"[Lana] had come up with this idea for another Matrix movie, and we had this talk, and it was actually — we started talking about it in between [our] dad dying and [our] mom dying, which was like five weeks apart," Lilly said. "And there was something about the idea of going backward and being a part of something that I had done before that was expressly unappealing. And, like, I didn't want to have gone through my transition and gone through this massive upheaval in my life, the sense of loss from my mom and dad, to want to go back to something that I had done before, and sort of [walk] over old paths that I had walked in, felt emotionally unfulfilling, and really the opposite — like I was going to go back and live in these old shoes, in a way. And I didn't want to do that."
For Lilly, working on Work in Progress (with series star and co-creator), a comedy that follows the life of Abby, a 46-year-old "self-identified fat, queer dyke" (the show's wording), who suffers from depression, and has a thing about Julia Sweeney's problematic former Saturday Night Live character, Pat (Sweeney is also in this show), felt like the right place to be.
"And it felt like a new thing that I could go do and be myself in, more than go back and do the same thing that I sort of did before," Lilly said on Tuesday's panel. "And so, like Lana made [Matrix 4] for different reasons… I can't speak for her, but that's what I was feeling at the time."
Asked if the sibling pair have any future collaboration plans, Lilly left it up in the air.
"Who knows? Who knows? Maybe," she said.
Work in Progress season 2 currently airs Sundays at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.