Since its release in 1999, The Matrix has been regarded as an absolute sci-fi classic, pushing the genre forward with its stylish action, intriguing concept, and a fantastic cast of characters. Most fans assumed that the series had reached its conclusion with the release of the third film, The Matrix Revolutions, in 2003. However, after a nearly 20-year hiatus, the franchise is ready for a big-budget return. After a handful of production issues that led to delays, The Matrix Resurrections is slated to release in December of 2021.
Now that the official trailer has been released, we have loads of questions about the upcoming fourth Matrix movie. Is it a reboot? Why do some characters look different? Didn’t half of these characters die already? Hopefully, as we examine the history of The Matrix so far and take a closer look at the official trailer for The Matrix Resurrections, we’ll be able to make some solid guesses for these lingering questions. Either way, we’re excited to catch back up with Neo and the gang in another explosive sci-fi adventure!
The Matrix Franchise So Far
The Matrix and its two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, were written and directed by sibling directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski, and star Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, and more. The film series follows Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), a talented coder who moonlights as a nefarious hacker called Neo. During his search for an elusive figure known as Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Neo uncovers a startling truth. He, along with the rest of humanity, lives in a simulated world known as the Matrix, created by a species of intelligent machines to pacify humans and harvest their energy. In addition to dealing with this mind-blowing revelation, Neo must fulfil his destiny as the Chosen One – a hero prophesied to overthrow the machines and revitalize humanity.
The sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions continue this tale, concluding in an epic battle against the machines in the ruins of the last human city, Zion. While the story goes a bit off the rails from time to time, The Matrix trilogy is unanimously praised for its innovative action and unique tone that has since been imitated but rarely replicated. It’s the series that popularized the signature slow-mo action nicknamed “bullet time”, made sunglasses-wearing hackers cool again, and nudged mainstream audiences towards tech-heavy sci-fi. Many consider the original Matrix one of the best sci-fi films ever made, so The Matrix Resurrections has a hefty legacy to live up to.
What is The Matrix Resurrections About?
All things considered, the original Matrix trilogy tells a pretty conclusive story. Neo achieves his goal of rescuing humanity and shutting down the simulation, although it is quickly rebooted and a truce is made. When The Matrix Resurrections was first announced, many fans were at a loss for a potential plot. Now that the official trailer has come out, we have some expectations, but are still pretty confused about where the story will go. Despite dying at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, Neo is back and seemingly living in the Matrix once again. The same thing goes for his love interest Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), who has also returned despite suffering fatal wounds during the battle of Zion. Other familiar faces appear as well, including a much younger-looking and recast Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).
Judging by the trailer, The Matrix Resurrections looks to be both a soft reboot and sequel, treading familiar ground but with a renewed context. Trapped in the Matrix and going by his layman name Thomas, Neo once again questions his reality, leading to a rabbit-hole discovery aided by Morpheus and his cohorts. The team is seen fighting off the suited and super-powered Agents, complete with reality-bending physics and slow-motion aplenty. Apart from some explosive action scenes, not much else is given away in the trailer, leaving us with lots of questions.
Fan theories are already ablaze online, with some suggesting that Trinity, Morpheus, and other recognizable faces are simply programs intended to keep Neo imprisoned inside the Matrix. Many also question the motives of a few new characters, including Neo’s therapist (played by Neil Patrick Harris), who keeps him sedated with blue pills, as well as a sleek man in a black suit (played by Jonathan Groff) who casually name-drops the Matrix simulation while conversing with Neo.
Our personal The Matrix Resurrections plot-theory is that Neo has chosen to stay in the Matrix after somehow surviving the events of The Matrix Revolutions, heartbroken over the death of Trinity. After decades of peace, the machines have broken their truce with humanity and returned to war. Finding themselves at an impasse, a group of surviving humans in the real world will attempt to awaken Neo from the Matrix to overthrow the machines once and for all.
We’re holding out hope that The Matrix Resurrections will hit that sci-fi sweet spot and reignite the franchise for a new audience. There’s a possibility that this modern entry might miss the mark, but we remain optimistic. We’ll just have to wait and see when The Matrix Resurrections releases on December 22, 2021.