The Matrix Resurrections: Everything You Need to Know
Two years ago, fans of THE MATRIX trilogy were surprised and thrilled to learn that a new installment in the franchise is on the way. Not only is original trilogy director Lana Wachowski returning, but so are some of our favorite stars. That includes Keanu Reeves, of course, because what’s a MATRIX movie without Neo?!
We’re incredibly excited for THE MATRIX 4 — officially called THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS — and we can’t wait to find out how the movie will continue the epic story that seemingly concluded with THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS. Now that the first trailer has launched, here’s everything we know about THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS so far. (Note: Spoilers ahead for the first three MATRIX movies.)
What's the Title of the New Matrix Movie?
For a long time everyone was calling the new movie THE MATRIX 4, even though from the studio's perspective it was called UNTITLED MATRIX SEQUEL. But now we know the film is called THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS, and the title suggests quite a lot about the movie's story.
When Does The Matrix Resurrections Come Out?
The new Matrix movie opens on December 22, 2021. That's 18 years after the late 2003 release of THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, which we had thought would be the final chapter of the series.
Watch the First Matrix Resurrections Trailer!
WOW. This first MATRIX RESURRECTIONS trailer is overwhelming. It's one of the best trailers we've seen in a long time. It's got Neo and Trinity and Morpheus but all of them are… a bit different, and seen in slightly different contexts. What exactly is going on?
You can also take a look at the movie's official website, which will likely have more new teases and materials as the year moves forward. It actually uses the same web address that was used to promote the original movie in 1999, which fits right in with what the trailer presents.
A Quick Recap
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the original MATRIX trilogy, here’s what you need to remember: Thomas Anderson, aka Neo (Keanu Reeves), is a computer programmer and hacker who discovers that all of humanity is actually living in a simulation. This virtual reality is known as “the Matrix,” and it was created by advanced artificial intelligence to keep humans distracted.
Meanwhile, the real world has been overtaken by these intelligent machines, who are using humans as an energy source. After joining other people who have freed themselves from the Matrix in a rebellion against the machines, Neo discovers that he is the "One" who will save humanity from machine rule.
Neo's most notable allies are Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and Niobe (Jada Pinkett-Smith). Over the course of three films, our heroes lead the rebellion while battling the protectors of the Matrix — including Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), who is able to replicate himself by infecting other people, like a virus.
The first MATRIX was released in 1999, followed in 2003 by both THE MATRIX RELOADED and THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS. In the final movie, Neo sacrifices himself to prevent the evil Agent Smith from taking over the Matrix and the real world. Humanity is saved, and there is peace… for a time.
The Matrix Returns
Over the past few years, there have been rumors that a new MATRIX reboot was in the works. Then, in August 2019, Warner Bros. announced a fourth MATRIX movie, with Lana Wachowski (who wrote and directed the original trilogy with her sister, Lilly) returning to direct. It was a pretty surprising development, given that the filmmaker siblings had previously said they had no interest in making another MATRIX.
Wachowski co-wrote the script for the fourth film with author Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell, the latter of whom wrote the novel that served as the basis for sci-fi epic CLOUD ATLAS, directed by the Wachowskis. Mitchell also worked with the siblings on the Netflix sci-fi series "Sense8."
What's the Story in the New Matrix Movie?
Here's where things get a little hazy. The first MATRIX RESURRECTIONS trailer shows an adult Thomas Anderson in therapy (with his therapist, played by Neil Patrick Harris, wearing blue glasses that are exactly the same color as the famous blue pill originally presented to Mr. Anderson by Morpheus) and seemingly lost without purpose.
Without describing everything that happens in the trailer you can see above, the short version is that this movie recreates some iconic scenes from the original movie but it is definitely not a remake. It seems that Thomas Anderson, originally seen as a computer programmer and hacker, works for a tech or gaming company, perhaps with Jonathan Groff's character as his superior. (Is Groff also playing the movie's version of Agent Smith?) Eventually, Mr. Anderson is drawn back out of the Matrix, along with Trinity, and he encounters a slightly different version of Morpheus.
The Stars Align
The cast of the new MATRIX movie features Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, who both reprise their roles as Neo and Trinity. Jada Pinkett-Smith also returns as rebellion pilot Niobe. Laurence Fishburne does not return as Morpheus but Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who starred in hit HBO series "Watchmen," clearly plays a younger (or at least different) version of Fishburne's character. Lambert Wilson, who played the memorable role of the Merovingian in the second film, is also back.
As seen in the first trailer, THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS features several new characters as well, played by Neil Patrick Harris, Jessica Henwick ("Game of Thrones"), Jonathan Groff (FROZEN), Priyanka Chopra ("Quantico"), Toby Onwumere ("Sense8"), and Andrew Caldwell ("iZombie"), among others.
Er… How, Exactly Is Neo Back?
That’s a big question! Early speculation wondered if THE MATRIX 4 would be both a sequel and a prequel. It seems to be more complicated than that. We know from THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS that Neo wasn't the first savior to exit the Matrix, and that he probably wouldn't be the last.
After sacrificing himself to defeat Agent Smith (which explains why Hugo Weaving is not in the new movie), Neo's body was carried off by the machine force at the end of the third movie. Flashes of imagery in the first MATRIX RESURRECTIONS trailer suggest that the machines have kept his body all this time. Is Neo truly alive again, or is the version of the character in this new movie… something else? The Matrix is cyclical so it's clear that the battle fought in the previous three movies will rage again, but the specifics remain unclear.
Where's the Original Morpheus?
While we're talking about the machines carrying Neo away at the end of the third movie, let's talk about the online video video game "The Matrix Online," originally released in 2005. The game's story featured Morpheus trying to recover Neo's body from the machines — and also highlighted the killing of Morpheus by a machine program called, appropriately, The Assassin.
"The Matrix Online" went, well, offline in 2009, and there's good reason to wonder if Lana Wachowski would really retain an event from a game that has been unplayable for 12 years as a core aspect of this new movie. The answer is probably "yes." After all, the Wachowskis shot an hour of original theatrical-quality footage for the "Enter the Matrix" video game, released right around the time of the second movie. That game did not kill off the original incarnation of a major character, but the events within were entirely considered to be part of the MATRIX story. So there's a good chance that Morpheus's fate in "The Matrix Online" is background for the new movie, and sets up that character's rebirth.
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All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.