Keanu Reeves has revealed that The Matrix (1999) almost had a transgender character but “the studio wasn’t ready”.

The Matrix Resurrections is set to serve as the fourth film in the groundbreaking franchise, which generated over $3 billion in revenue after the release of the third instalment.

Directed by Lana Wachowski, it will bring original stars Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss back to their iconic roles of Neo and Trinity.

Also among the star-studded cast are Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl), Brian J. Smith (Sense8) and Jada Pinkett Smith (Angel Has Fallen).

The trailer shows clips of Reeves, Moss and Harris’ characters together – with the latter playing Neo’s therapist.

“Am I crazy?” Neo asks, with Harris responding: “We don’t use that word in here.”

There is also speculation that a young Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is seen in the preview, instructing Neo that “it’s time to fly” as he hands him a red pill.

Wachowski directed from a screenplay by herself, David Mitchell and Aleksander Hemon, based on characters created by The Wachowskis.

She is highly regarded as a director due to her work with sister Lilly Wachowski, which saw them involved with several critically acclaimed projects such as V for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas and the first three films in The Matrix franchise.

Wachowski made history in 2012 when she spoke out about her experience of being a transgender woman during her acceptance speech for the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Reeves and Moss reflected on the legacy of the original trio of movies, as well as plans for a character in the first film that never came to be.

Reeves recalled that an earlier draft of the movie’s script had an expanded role for the character of Switch that would have seen the character be depicted as a man in the real world, but a woman in the Matrix – something hinted at by their name.

“I think the studio wasn’t ready for that,” he explained.

Switch was instead depicted in a more androgynous manner and not featured heavily in the first film, before meeting their end at the hands of Cypher (Joe Pantoliano)

The Matrix Resurrections premieres on HBO Max and in cinemas on 22 December.