The Matrix franchise has not only been reloaded, revolutionized or even rebooted. As the 2021 film title suggests, it has been resurrected. Up until recently, the creators of the previous films felt uninspired to continue the series. Co-director and co-writer of the original trilogy, Lana Wachowski, at last pursued creating The Matrix Resurrections as a way to process her grief from the loss of her parents.
When interviewed, she explained that “My brain has always reached into my imagination and one night, I was just crying and couldn’t sleep. Suddenly, my brain exploded this whole story and I couldn’t have my mom and dad. I couldn’t talk to my mom and yet, suddenly, I had Neo and Trinity—arguably the two most important characters in my life—and it was immediately comforting to have these two characters alive again.” The other half of The Matrix creative duo, Lana’s sister Lilly, declined the offer of partaking in the new film because “she was in art school and she was on a different path. She didn’t want to go this way to process her grief.”
Still, even with new minds thrown into the mix, viewers of the two trailers that have since been released cannot deny that the fourth movie is reminiscent of the past films. There are going to be themes of love between Neo (aka Thomas Anderson) and Trinity, slo-mo scenes of characters dodging bullets and performing insane martial arts techniques, and the main characters battling the main conflicts found previously in The Matrix world: authoritative figures and freaky machines. The trailers confirm that “there are quick glimpses of the Sentinel or ‘Squidy’ machines and the Power Plant where humans are still being used as batteries. It all suggests the truce between humans and machines has ended.”
In terms of plot, Syfy Wire reveals, “we do know that the story begins with Neo reverting back to his regular life as Thomas Anderson. The war he helped wage against the tyrannical machines is now seemingly relegated to fleeting dreams that he recounts to his therapist (Neil Patrick Harris). It’s not until he meets a blue-haired gunslinger by the name of Bugs (Jessica Henwick) does Mr. Anderson start to remember his life as humanity’s savior. He reconnects with Trinity, starts to train with a younger version of Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who takes over from Laurence Fishburne), and takes on a new Agent Smith-type antagonist (Jonathan Groff).”
Along with familiar faces Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, there has been an additional wave of new characters. The most significant casting change has been for the role of Morpheus. He is now being played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II rather than star Laurence Fishburne. Although, the recasting is justified since Neo is interacting with a younger version of Morpheus.
An article from the entertainment news magazine Vulture summarized that “The Matrix Resurrections is adding plenty of new faces to the franchise. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen, Candyman) and Iron Fist’s Jessica Henwick appear to be the new co-leads, working with a delightful set of new skills and heavy artillery. Neil Patrick Harris appears as Thomas Anderson’s psychologist, who just has to be a program. And Jonathan Groff, Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, Eréndira Ibarra, Priyanka Chopra, Andrew Caldwell, Brian J. Smith, Ellen Hollman and Christina Ricci round out the rest of the cast.” So, viewers can expect a variety of unseen characters to freshen an already established world.
Lastly, “the trailer also suggests that The Matrix Resurrections may be the start of a new trilogy, rather than a coda to the existing one. We can’t know for sure just yet, but it does seem that Neo and Trinity’s reawakening will make up a substantial part of this film. And with the bevy of new characters and an unknown threat looming, it feels as if audiences are on the cusp of a much bigger story.” As a late 90’s or early 2000’s baby, now’s your chance to join the next generation of Matrix hype.
If you decide on taking the red pill this winter break, you can find The Matrix Resurrections in theaters and on HBO Max starting Dec. 22.