Note: The following contains spoilers for “The Matrix Resurrections.”

“The Matrix Resurrections” is here, and Neo’s gray beard isn’t the only thing different from the original trilogy.

The fourth “Matrix” film, directed by Lana Wachowski, who co-wrote the script with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, acknowledges what happened before in the groundbreaking original trilogy, but also moves the franchise in a new direction. And that includes a new Morpheus, this time played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

When it was announced that Laurence Fishburne would not be reprising her role as Morpheus in the new “Matrix” movie, fans were upset. “They haven’t invited me,” Fishburne told New York magazine. I wish you the best. Hope it’s great. “

Then when the first trailer was released, it became clear that Abdul-Mateen II was playing Morpheus. But why was it recast? Is this a younger version of Morpheus? Well, the movie answers many of these questions while raising new ones.

Morpheus in “The Matrix Resurrections” is a show

Warner Bros.

“The Matrix Resurrections” takes place some 60 years after Neo first sacrificed himself for Zion and made a deal to keep a version of The Matrix in place. But in that intervening time, the machines began to fight each other, and Neo and Trinity were rebuilt and connected to a new Matrix program populated by bots, under the leadership of an evil machine known as The Analyst (played in the film by Neil Patrick Harris).

But also during that time, humans learned to live with machines and adopt new technologies in the form of sentient machines that serve as allies. In addition, the programs can now take physical form in the real world thanks to new technology and work hand in hand with humans in the new civilization of Io.

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When “The Matrix Resurrections” begins, this new Morpheus is working as an agent within a modal created by John Anderton, the Matrix version of Neo who now works as a game designer and who is convinced that the events of the Matrix trilogy do not they happened. They actually happen and are the story of a video game trilogy that he created and designed.

When humans in the real world enter this modal, in effect, they connect to a simulation within a simulation: they help make Morpheus sensitive and take him out of modal.

The new Morpheus is a combination of Morpheus and Agent Smith.

Warner Bros.

When Neo disconnects from his own little mini-Matrix, he connects to “the construction” where he interacts with this new Morpheus, who confesses that he has been learning about Neo and Morpheus since he parted ways with the modal. He points to a small television showing scenes from the “Matrix” trilogy, which in “The Matrix Resurrections” are set as scenes from the video game that Neo / Anderton created. “Memories turned into fiction are less real? Is reality based on memory nothing more than fiction? Morpheus asks.


It is here that Morpheus from Abdul-Mateen II explains who he is and where he came from. “As for my role in all of this, my best guess is that you wrote to me as an algorithmic reflection of two forces that helped you become yourself,” he says. Morpheus and Agent Smith. A counterprogramming combo package that was, let’s say, more than a little insane. But it worked because here we are. “

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This explains why Morpheus is an agent in the first scene of the film.

Why is Morpheus played by a different actor?

Warner Bros.

So why wasn’t Fishburne able to reprise his role as Morpheus for this Neo-created version? Well that’s unclear, but it’s telling that the only two leading actors to return in “The Matrix 4” are Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, whose Neo and Trinity form the heart and soul of the story that “The Matrix. Resurrections ”he says.

Even Agent Smith gets “redesigned” with Jonathan Groff filling the role this time in place of Hugo Weaving, although he has been designated as John Anderton’s business partner and is also unaware of his past at the beginning of the film, so he has sense why The Analyst would disguise it.

Why Neo’s video game features Fishburne and his Abdul-Mateen II manners is murky, but it’s possible that because this Morpheus is a hybrid of Morpheus and Smith, it couldn’t be exactly the same. Whatever the case, Abdul-Mateen II is a delight in the role, and it was great to be surprised that he wasn’t just playing a younger version of the Fishburne character.

“The Matrix Resurrections” is currently showing in theaters and airs on HBO Max.


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