With the exciting, highly anticipated release of the first The Matrix Resurrections trailer, as well as a handful of TV spots, the Internet has been abuzz with speculation as to just what the heck will be going on in this fourth film installment. The material we’ve seen has been less than forthcoming, providing barrages of quick, almost indecipherable snaps of footage and cryptic scenes involving characters we know (and don’t) in strange settings and circumstances. However, with some serious sleuthing and in-depth analysis, we’ve been able to separate some of the more probable theories about the movie from the collective cloud of fan rumor rubbish. Strap in tight. This may feel a little weird.
Both Neo and Trinity Are Captives of the Machines and Have Been for a Long Time
There are scenes in the trailer of both Neo’s (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity’s (Carrie-Anne Moss) real-world bodies being handled and prodded by the insectoid machines that feed the Matrix. Both bodies seem to have been kept exceptionally well-preserved, especially considering Trinity was turned into swiss cheese by rebars when she and Neo crash-landed in the Machine City at the end of The Matrix Revolutions. However, she must still be alive on some level, even if it’s only her brain activity, as she is shown being jacked into the Matrix by the machines. Ditto for Neo, despite his seeming death at the end of the same film. It should be noted, though, that his eyes are still scorched in the real world – a result of a Smith-possessed Bane (Ian Bliss) blinding him with a live wire in Revolutions.
It seems both of the duo’s residual self images (RSI) needed a little help from the machines as well. In the case of Neo, a couple of quick reveals in mirrors (one in a TV spot before he takes some blue pills, and one in a full stand-up mirror in the trailer) show reflections of him as much older than he appears, with balding, long gray hair and a matching beard. It seems the pills help keep him under the illusion that he’s younger, just as they keep everyone under the illusion that the Matrix is real. With regard to Trinity, there are shots of green Matrix code cascading down her face, as well as her being fractalized into multiple images. This may be a result of the machines working double-time to assert her RSI, which otherwise might be one of a corpse, considering her fate at the end of the original trilogy.
Bugs is Either Really, Really Good or Really, Really Bad
First, in case you don’t know, let’s get this out of the way: Bugs has been revealed to be the name of Jessica Henwick’s character in The Matrix Resurrections. This is probably due to the white rabbit tattoo on her shoulder. But why does she have this tattoo? A clue can be found in her dialogue to Neo: “If you want the truth, Neo, you’re going to have to follow me.” This is a very obvious reference to Trinity’s UNIX message to Neo telling him to follow the white rabbit in the original Matrix. A similar tattoo showed up on the shoulder of an unexpected guest to his house moments later, and he followed it to his first face-to-face meeting with Trinity. This isn’t the only call-back to the first film Bugs makes. In a TV spot, Bugs shares a very familiar conversation with an unknown third party:
Bugs: “I’m in. Looks like old code. It feels really familiar.”
Unknown: “Drop a pin. I’ll send out for backup… Did you hear that? Bugs, this feels like a trap.”
Bugs: “I’m gonna check it out.”
This is, of course, extremely reminiscent of the conversation Trinity had with Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) at the beginning of The Matrix, before she got busted by the cops. Now, why all of this repetition? Is it The Force Awakens fever? Or is it something far more sinister? Is the system using her as a way of leading Neo down the rabbit hole it wants for him, by triggering his subconscious memories? The blue hair Bugs sports, like the blue glasses Neil Patrick Harris wears, triggers thoughts of blue pills, which doesn’t help her case.
However, it must be pointed out that Bugs is in several action scenes, shooting at and evading Agents, which points to the opposite conclusion. Unless of course, there are two separate machine factions fighting for control, which is fodder for a completely different article. Getting back to her action prowess, Bugs is in all the best action sequences in the trailer and TV spots. She jumps off a roof into a backflip, and lands on a lower roof, crushing it underneath her. She’s shot at by both police and Agents, evading their fire and flipping backwards over a police car for cover. And, most impressive, she emerges from a sideways-placed doorway, allowing her to do an extended wall-run while firing back at Agents pursuing her and Morpheus. She then flips upward onto the other wall, before the two burst through a skyscraper window, crashing through a skylight and winding up in Matrix code.
What does all this mean? It could mean she’s a pawn of the machine system, meant to institute control over Neo. Or it could mean, she’s a soldier of the free people of Zion, doing what she can to liberate those still stuck in the Matrix. Or even more interesting, it could mean that she’s the new incarnation of the One, as it’s probably been long enough since the original Matrix for a new savior to have been born. Time will tell.
Neo May Be in the Machine Mainframe When the Movie Begins
The beginning of the trailer shows Neo in a therapy session in an idyllic seaside town free of any green hues. This is a far cry from the sprawling, dirty metropolis that is the Matrix. Further, the Architect (Helmut Bakaitis) told Neo in The Matrix Reloaded that his anomalous code needed to be reinserted into the Source in order to jump-start the Matrix again. So that may be exactly what the machines did with Neo after his big fight with Smith (Hugo Weaving). One clue for the eagle-eyed viewer is shown in an office hallway where Neo is fleeing from gunshots and explosions. A sign on the ceiling reads, “Deus Ex Machina.” While most writers know this as a cheap, easy way to give a movie a happy ending, in the Matrix, Deus Ex Machina is the name of the machine overlord that Neo deals with in Revolutions to end Smith and broker a peace. Further, a scene in the trailer shows Neo, Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), and Bugs (Jessica Henwick) fleeing through a wall onto a running train. This may be a train belonging to the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson), who uses such transportation to smuggle rogue programs between the machine mainframe and the Matrix. This may be Neo’s way back into the Matrix.
Good Therapist vs. Bad Therapist
Anyone who’s seen the trailer knows there are two therapists that Neo is seeing for his “dreams that aren’t just dreams.” The trailer starts with Neil Patrick Harris in the therapist’s seat and ends with Jonathan Groff playing shrink to Neo. A natural inclination would be to think one is a good influence, edging Neo toward the truth, and the other is a program from the machine world, trying to keep him oblivious to his cerebral imprisonment. If this is indeed the case, it would seem that Neil Patrick Harris’s character is the evil side of the coin.
He’s got a black cat on his desk, which aside from bad luck implications, is a call-back to Neo’s déjà vu moment in the first Matrix. And déjà vu, as we all know, is a sign the machines have changed something (usually in a bad way). He has big, blue-framed glasses which scream "blue pill," probably being the source of Neo’s prescription for said mind-numbing drugs. And, of course, there’s his speech to Neo in one of the TV spots: “You’ve lost your capacity to discern reality from fiction. What’s real is here and now. Anything else is just your mind playing tricks on you. It becomes a problem when fantasies endanger us. We don’t want people to get hurt, do we?” Very cunning and very sinister.
As for Groff, he seems to be encouraging Neo to accept his belief in the Matrix: “After all these years, to be going back to where it all started. Back to the Matrix!” His mouth is also seen melting shut, just as Neo’s once did when he was a captive of the Agents in the first movie. This could be the machines trying to silence Groff and warn Neo about pursuing further action.
Of course, all of this must be taken with a huge grain of salt. Many authorities on the Internet actually theorize that Groff is playing a recreated version of Agent Smith in this movie. Whether they’re right or wrong remains to be seen.
Young Morpheus Seems to Have Been Created by the Machines
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II confirmed he is playing a young version of Morpheus in the upcoming movie. The question is: How is this possible? Is he reincarnated to find and train a new One every so often? Is he a vampire (we know they exist in the Matrix)? Is he just a huge Laurence Fishburne fan in cosplay? Probably not. There’s only one definitive clue as to this new Morpheus’s sudden existence, but it’s a pretty big one, displayed in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene in one of the TV spots. Morpheus’s body (at least the digital version) is very clearly seen being created by a swarm of blue-glowing nanobots, similar to those that made up the face of the Deus Ex Machina in The Matrix Revolutions. If this isn’t ample evidence that the machines created this new, young Morpheus, I’m not sure what would be.
While Morpheus seems very confused by his surroundings at first (freaking out when his fingers go through the surface of a mirror), it seems the machines gave him many of the old Morpheus’s habits, memories, and clothing trends. He provides Neo a choice of a red pill or a blue pill, he trains with him in a dojo, he eventually wears the nose-clipped, round sunglasses he’s famous for, and he shoots double automatic guns, just as he did in the highway scene in The Matrix Reloaded.
Further, he seems to be very familiar with Neo and Trinity’s relationship issues: “The only thing that matters to you is still here. I know that’s why you’re still fighting, and why you’ll never give up.”
The Matrix Uses Blue Pills and Portable Technology to Help Keep People Oblivious
As mentioned earlier, Neo is on a prescription for blue pills, those revealed in the first movie as blinding peoples’ consciousnesses from the truth that the Matrix isn’t reality. This is established Matrix lore, and is obviously still in high use in the new movie. What’s new, and wasn’t available at the time The Matrix was filmed, is man’s dependence on portable phones and tablets to keep themselves informed and entertained 24/7. If you remember correctly, the coolest cell phone they in 1999 was the one Thomas Anderson had delivered to him by courier at his job. It sprang open to answer a call with the touch of a button and blew all of our minds. Cut to twenty years later, and we’re playing KOTOR 2 and watching Netflix on our cell phones. So, as can be seen in the elevator scene in the trailer, everyone, save for Neo, has their eyes and minds glued to their portable devices. This is clearly just another technique by the machines to keep people subdued and happy in their digital prison.
The Woman in the Café is Either Sati or the Oracle
Just about any casual viewer of the Matrix movies could have guessed this one. A wise-looking woman sits in a café, reading “Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass.” Neo walks in and she closes the book, looking up at him very knowingly. The actress is Priyanka Chopra, a thespian of Indian descent, which points to the woman being a grown-up version of Sati (Tanveer K. Atwal), the young Indian child smuggled into the Matrix in Revolutions and saved by the Oracle (Mary Alice) for unforetold future need. At the very end of Revolutions, after Neo has defeated Smith and accomplished peace between the humans and machines, Sati created a beautiful, multicolored sunset in Neo’s honor. The Oracle tells her she imagines they will be seeing Neo again at some time. The other obvious option is that the woman in the café is the Oracle herself in a new skin, having changed appearances before in the original trilogy.
Neo May Be the One Educating Morpheus & Co. About What’s Real This Time
With Morpheus’s questionable reappearance and not one shot of any of the characters in the real world (aside from a couple of scenes involving machines picking up naked humans from the sewers of the battery farm), it’s hard to say what the new players of The Matrix Resurrections know about the desert of the real. But there are a couple of clues that hint they may not know much. For instance, in a TV spot, Morpheus recites to Neo: “This is the moment for you to show us what is real. This could be the first day of the rest of your life. But if you want it, you’re going to have to fight for it.” Further evidence that Morpheus and crew need Neo to set them straight is a scene in which they’re watching wall-projected footage of Neo’s awakening from the Matrix in the first movie and his subsequent rescue from the farming fields. Why would they not know about this already? Or is it just to wake Neo up from his preconceived notions? The scene is cut short when SWAT raids the studio and fires an RPG at Neo. This is when they escape through the wall behind the projection, seemingly onto a running train, although this could just be trailer trickery.
All the Inhabitants of the Matrix Turn Against Neo at Some Point in the Movie
Above, Morpheus was quoted as telling Neo, “You’re going to have to fight for it.” He wasn’t kidding. In multiple scenes throughout the trailer and TV spots, Neo is shown fighting and being chased by huge crowds of people. And these aren’t police or Agents, but normal-looking civilians. Two shots in particular highlight Neo being hunted by the masses of the Matrix. While the trailer shows him riding shotgun as Trinity mows folks down with her motorcycle, a TV spot displays the enormous crowd following the bike down an alley. It’s a huge mob of folks chasing them for no discernable reason. And then there’s the other shot of Neo on a rooftop. He’s already crossed a wire barrier to separate himself from the huge horde of people on his tail. The barrier is meant to keep people from getting too close to the roof’s edge. Neo doesn’t seem to mind, given the alternative.
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