So far, everything we’ve seen from The Matrix Resurrections has made it seem like a suspiciously normal film, with teasers that hinted at a relatively straightforward plot (straightforward for a Matrix movie, at least) and a trailer that implies that it will be like the Matrix version of Jurassic World or The Force Awakens. But that can’t possibly be the case, right? Lana Wachowski wouldn’t have signed up to get drenched in that falling code rain if she were going to make a movie that Kurt Wimmer could’ve made. (Yes, we Googled “who directed that gun kata movie with Christian Bale.”)
But if there’s more to this Matrix trailer than meets the eye, what’s really going on? Well, if you’ve ever been on the internet before, you may not be surprised to hear that people have some thoughts about what’s going on in The Matrix… specifically related to old characters from the original trilogy making unexpected returns. We know Keanu Reeves/Neo/John Anderson and Carrie-Anne Moss/Trinity are back, since they’re both all over the new trailer, and we’ve heard that Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Niobe and Lambert Wilson’s Merovingian will return in some capacity, but anyone hoping to see Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus is apparently out of luck. Actually, let’s rephrase that: Anyone hoping to specifically see Laurence Fishburne’s version of Morpheus is apparently out of luck, because it sure seems like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is actually playing a young Morpheus and not just a guy who looks like Morpheus.
Variety’s Angelique Jackson made the connection on her Twitter page, pairing an image from Abdul-Mateen’s Instagram in which he literally referred to his character as “Morpheus” with an exchange from an interview she did with him during which he pointedly refused to answer whether or not his Matrix character is new or “a version of somebody that we already know.” Seems pretty cut and dry, and given the glimpses of Abdul-Mateen’s character being downloaded or printed out or something by a machine in the teaser clips earlier this week, it seems possible that he’s literally a new version of Morpheus. (Not to mention the fact that, assuming The Matrix Online is canon, the original Morpheus died after the events of the movies.)
We guessed the other day that Abdul-Mateen’s character is an unwitting sleeper agent in The Matrix trying to uncover the human resistance, a plant designed to look like Morpheus who believes he’s helping people but is really working for the machines, and that still seems to check out with what’s in this trailer. What better way to trick someone into trusting someone than by passing him off as a younger version of a cool dude who everybody already loves?
Speaking of new people playing old people, the trailer briefly features Priyanka Chopra flashing a smile at Neo and giving him a “I know more than you do” look that somebody gives in every Matrix movie. It seems like an important moment, which has led some people to guess that she’s actually Sati, the little girl who popped up in The Matrix Revolutions as a program who gets smuggled into the Matrix and is placed in the care of the Oracle. When Neo saves everyone from Agent Smith, she shows up again to create a nice sunrise in his honor and wonders if she’ll ever see Neo again. Also, the trailer opens with Neo looking at a black cat, like the one Sati saw when she woke up at the end of Revolutions, so, like Trinity in the first movie, we’ve gotta ask: Is it the same cat?
Finally, there’s one trippy moment in the trailer where Neo looks at a mirror that seems to bug out for a second, changing his reflection to that of an older, bald man with aggressively arched eyebrows. It doesn’t look like so much like Keanu Reeves, but according to some people on social media, it sure looks a whole lot like Hugo Weaving, a.k.a. original series villain Agent Smith. The Wachowski sisters definitely have a fondness for burying Hugo Weaving under weird makeup and prosthetics, so sneaking him in there as an old man definitely seems like something Lana Wachowski would do. Whether or not it’s a cameo, something to further shake up the already-rattled Neo, or evidence of a larger evil plot remains to be seen. The Matrix Resurrections (hmmm) will be in theaters and on HBO Max on December 22.