The Matrix Reussurections star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is letting it be known in no uncertain terms that he is indeed playing the new version of Morpheus in The Matrix 4. Yahya went to his personal Instagram page to post an already-iconic picture of himself from the new Matrix Resurrections trailer, in which he's spraying down a hallway with bullets from dual sub-machine guns. Abdul-Matten captioned the screengrab with a single word: "MORPHEUS". That one-word statement from the actor will answer a lot of questions that mainstream viewers are asking after the Matrix 4 trailer - while at the same time inspiring a thousand more questions.
The trailer for The Matrix Resurrections was unabashed in its echoes of the original film - which is entirely the point, really. The mystery of why Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is back inside The Matrix's faux reality - and why he keeps going through the Deja Vu paces of meeting characters like Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Abdul-Mateen) is basically the major "sell" that director Lana Wachowski needs to make, here. The Matrix 4 hinges on that reveal in many ways - and a pivotal part of it will be explaining why Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is now Morpheus - instead of Laurence Fishburne.
Fishburne seemed confused about the change himself, telling Collider earlier this year: "It would make sense that people ask me that....I am not in the next Matrix movie and you'd have to ask Lana Wachowski why, 'cause I don't have an answer for that."
Fan theories have pointed out that Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss returning for Matrix Resurrections as Neo and Trinity (respectively) could have major implications as to why Fishburne isn't similarly returning. At the end of The Matrix Revolutions, both Neo and Trinity sacrificed themselves to stop Agent Smith from overrunning the machine world - a war that Morpheus lived through. The Matrix was rebooted, and it was teased that Neo would one day return again - as the series established he has many times before. Could Matrix Resurrections be implying something much more literal in its title by having this version of the Matrix function like an afterlife of sorts, where the "dead" characters are actually the "real" souls inside of it.
...As for what that would make Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's version of Morpheus? There's a mystery that could still turn out to be one of Matrix 4's bigger twists...
The Matrix Resurrections hits theaters and HBO Max on December 22nd.