The Matrix Resurrections: Are The Original Matrix Sequels Still Canon?

The Matrix Resurrections trailer has dropped, giving a whole new generation of movie fans a looks at the unique sci-fi/action world created by The Wachowskis. Like with the original film, the first trailer for The Matrix Resurrections is steeped in the mystery of what kind of faux world prison Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is trapped in. Even with the knowledge of the entire Matrix Trilogy on the table, we still can't tell exactly how director Lana Wachowski is rebooting the Matrix concept for this new age, using the same principal characters. After The Matrix Resurrections trailer there's also another big question on the table: 

Are the original Matrix sequels - The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions - still considered canon? Or is The Matrix Resurrections a direct sequel to the original film? 

Check out this curious bit of footnote that was included in the "Additional Info" section of The Matrix Resurrections press release from Warner Bros.: 

"The Matrix Resurrections" is a continuation of the story established in the first MATRIX film. It reunites Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss as cinematic icons Neo & Trinity in an expansion of their story that ventures back into the Matrix and even deeper down the rabbit hole. A mind-bending new adventure with action and epic scale, it's set in a familiar yet even more provocative world where reality is more subjective than ever and all that's required to see the truth is to free your mind.

20 years after the first film, the franchise that helped define pop culture at the turn of the century is back for a continuation and extension of the original movie. The Matrix remains in the zeitgeist as a film that has changed the way we look at cinema and reality itself. With its game changing action and visual effects, The Matrix helped pave the way for films to follow.

That press release goes out of the way to mention that The Matrix Resurrections is an extension of the original Matrix movie. What goes unsaid in that repeated statement is that The Matrix Resurrections doesn't seem to be connected to the storyline of the larger Matrix Trilogy, which played out in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. That's something of a major development, if true. 

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Right now, the "direct sequel" format is a popular trend in Hollywood. Franchises like Jurassic World, Terminator, and Halloween have gotten fresh leases on life by cleaving off the less successful portions of canon in later sequels, in favor of soft-rebooting the franchise in the spirit of the original groundbreaking film. Warner Bros. and Lana Wachowski may not have loudly stated it, but with all the divided opinion over Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions that still exists, this may, inevitably, be the smartest approach to rekindling the franchise. 

After all, The Matrix franchise has one of the easiest avenues of explaining such turn in canon: Reloaded and Revolutions were simply an illusion - programming uploaded to Neo's brain to keep him in the program. No continuity mess after that. 

The Matrix Resurrections will be in theaters and HBO Max on December 22nd. If you haven't signed up for HBO Max yet, you can try it out here

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