The SciFi Channel is reporting on its Website that the ten animated Matrix shorts will premiere on the official Matrix site sometime this fall. The number of the anime/Matrix prequels produced by the top animation houses in Japan has reached ten, and it is likely that all the Animatrix shorts will be collected on one DVD that will be released before the end of the year. Details about the animated films remain sketchy, though producer Joel Silver appeared to indicate to SciFi.com that the tenth Animatrix installment (produced by Square at the studio where the company made the feature film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within) will act as a ten-minute 'prelude' to the Matrix Reloaded film, which is now set to bow on May 15, 2003.
The creation of the Animatrix films and last year's release of the Matrix Revisited DVD (see 'Matrix Revisited Now in Stores') are all part of an elaborate scheme by Warner Brothers to keep the Matrix property viable during the four-year hiatus between the release of the first Matrix film (1999) and the Matrix Reloaded next summer. While the Matrix Revisited provided a lot of extra 'making-of' and behind-the-scenes features, it will be up to the Animatrix shorts, which reportedly include contributions from Square, Madhouse, Production I.G. and other top anime houses, to begin the process of reviving the Matrix franchise. Since the Wachowski brothers are supposedly shooting two Matrix sequels at once, the wait between the second and third installment of the series should not be as long as the four-year drought between the first two.