Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is breathing life back into beloved Matrix character, Morpheus, in the new The Matrix Resurrections and sat down with Entertainment Weekly to talk about the character take-over. The Emmy award-winning actor (Watchmen) has had his fair share of larger-than-life roles including performances in Aquaman, Us, and the reimagined Candyman film that came out earlier this year. But stepping into the shoes of Laurence Fishburne may be his biggest role yet. Fishburne told an interviewer in 2020 that he had “not been invited” back for the sequel just yet, but nonetheless wished the cast well on this new journey. Now, fans are wondering what or even who to expect from the new Morpheus, who Abdul-Mateen II is describing as "definitely a different iteration of the character."
In the last of the Matrix installments, The Matrix Revolutions in 2003, we saw a joyous Morpheus taking in the finality of the war between man and machine. After that, Morpheus appeared in a Matrix video game in which players saw him die while attempting to retrieve Neo’s remains. The Matrix series is no stranger to replacing characters with different actors, as when Gloria Foster (the original Oracle) passed away in between films two and three, Mary Alice took over her role for The Matrix Revolutions. The new form of the Oracle disclosed that this happened because her previous body was destroyed by a nefarious program.
Will this be the fate that viewers can expect to hear befell Fishburne’s Morpheus? Time will tell, but Abdul-Mateen won’t. When asked by EW about this idea, Abdul-Mateen said, “What the viewers will come to understand is that there are many rules of the Matrix. Age, appearance, the things we identify as real, can be manipulated in that world. The Matrix is where anything is possible.” A dodgy answer, but one that sounds like we will at least get some sort of clarity in the upcoming movie.
What we know we can expect is a lot of new faces along with many favorites returning for the newest Matrix film. Jada Pinkett Smith will be back to reprise her character, Niobe, and the old cast will be joined by new to The Matrix universe Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Priyanka Chopra (We Can Be Heroes), and Jessica Henwick (Love and Monsters). Furthermore, we can expect more of the same incredible, high-action martial arts moves that the first three films are famous for in what Abdul-Mateen says has been his career's “most physically demanding role”.
Luckily, we won’t need to wait too much longer for all of our questions to be answered as The Matrix Resurrections makes its way both to theaters and HBO Max on December 22.
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