The Matrix Resurrections trailer has finally arrived, and is sparking a lot of questions about how this (sequel? Reboot?) of The Matrix franchises exists. As movie fans both new and old get reacquainted with The Matrix Universe, there are some interesting insights about the series' carefully-guarded continuity and where it stands. For those who don't remember, after making the original Matrix movie a worldwide hit in 1999, the Wachowskis and Warner Bros. embarked on making a multi-platform expanded franchises universe that was almost a decade ahead of what Marvel Studios and DC Films would later build.
However, in building the universe of the original Matrix Trilogy, the studio made some pioneering decisions that could come back to haunt it...
By the time The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were released in theaters back-to-back in 2003, Warner Bros., The Wachowskis, and the team behind The Matrix were all expanding the universe of the film into ventures like an anime series, comic books and video games. It was in that latter category that some major changes to the official Matrix canon were made.
Enter the Matrix was the 2003 tie-in game that filled in story gaps from The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, using two supporting characters from the films (Niobe and Ghost). However, it was the MMORPG game The Matrix Online, which made the bold move of having its canonized storyline include the major twist of Laurence Fishburne's Morpheus being gunned down by an assassin in an alleyway. That's right: in the official canon of The Matrix series, Morpheus is now dead.
As you can below, fans of The Matrix series no need to know just what The Matrix Resurrections plans to do about this little bit of continuity:
I wonder if the new Matrix movie will address the supposedly-canon The Matrix Online game from 2005, where Morpheus is shot dead in an alley by a creepy assassin pic.twitter.com/wQxf48nv8H— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) September 7, 2021
“hey why isn’t basically the main guy in the new movie”— torrenting This is Us (@Yelix) September 9, 2021
“well he got shot in an alleyway in a video game you can’t legally play anymore. sorry boss there’s nothing we can do”
Right now, there's a lot of moving parts in regards to the finer details about The Matrix 4's storyline and characters. The press release for the trailer seems to paint The Matrix Resurrections as a direct sequel to the original film, which could seemingly cut away all of the continuity established by the later sequels and universe-expanding tie-ins. In that case, events of The Matrix Online (like Morpheus' death) wouldn't matter. Matrix 4 star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II confirmed he is "Morpheus" in this new chapter of the series, which only raises new questions about how the fourth film is approaching its story - and when it is set.
Will The Matrix Resurrections acknowledge the story of The Matrix Online? To the handful of fans who feel the MMORPG was an underappreciated gem, that little Easter egg would be a major win.
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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