So the long rumoured Matrix 4 has got itself a trailer, and the Internet sways in its wake.
Many questions have been raised, and theories are flying around fast. The film that pioneered the digital age at the turn of the millennium, and sold thousands of black trench coats, is coming back.
But in what form?
The new trailer is lavish. Director Lana Wachowski (working solo on this project) has kept the computer-generated world of the Matrix drowning in its green-tinted hues, while White Rabbit from Jefferson Airplane blasts at us with increasing volume as the action escalates.
There are familiar faces too. Keanu Reeves is back, as is Carrie-Anne Moss. But there are new faces too, but in familiar forms. Especially Yahya Abdul-Mateen, who appears to be… Morpheus? Despite that character originally being played by Laurence Fishburne.
There’s also the White Rabbit girl, seen in the first movie, who was a clue that Neo followed to meet Trinity (Moss) and discover his destiny. Only she appears to be far more involved now?
Spoilers ahead for the Matrix Trilogy.
So what could be happening here?
Is it possible, perhaps, that we are seeing one of the past cycles of the Matrix? Is this “fourth” entry actually a prequel?
If we recall one of the most infamous scenes in the trilogy: The Architect speech.
Possibly the most head-spinning piece of dialogue written for general audiences in the last 30 years, The Architect’s revelation to the heroic Neo baffled many. But the gist of the monologue was that the rebellion that Neo had inspired in the real world, in the city of Zion, was not the first occurrence. In fact, little Keanu was only one of a long succession of Neos and Zions, all which were destroyed by The Architect and his planet-dominating horde of machines. “We have become exceedingly good at it” he says, in regards to destroying humanity’s persistent hope.
What we could be seeing in this new trailer is one of these past cycles. Why are there familiar sights and faces?
Because the Matrix is a computer program. It will adjust slightly, over and over again until it gets it right. Hundreds of cycles have taken place, much like the theory of multiple universes, and like those theories, there will be similarities.
Neo and Trinity being older? Because they awoke to reality later in their lives. Morpheus is a different person? Because in this cycle, it was literally a different person who took up the mantle of Morpheus. The agents are different? Again, different cycle, slightly different coding and programming from The Architect.
Of course, the phrase “history repeating itself” also applies. With Neo awakening, and the cycle of rebellion beginning again, certain habits and actions will repeat themselves. Zion will be reformed, for example. So that would explain why there is a mirroring of events from the original 1999 movie.
This theory leads to some dark scenarios. This is a failed attempt at rebellion, which means the machines win. However, we don’t know how they win, or how The Architect treated the humans towards the end of their rebellion. Did he offer a truce? Did he betray the humans at the last moment, just to see how they react?
The Matrix is a machine designed to learn and adapt. Agent Smith referred to previous, flawed versions of the Matrix, ones that were “too perfect” and that there was “a disaster”. The opening shot of the trailer is of an almost… too perfect landscape. Is it possible that this is further evidence that this is a past cycle?
Of course, all this talk of eventual doom might not be appealing to studio executives, the Wachowskis were never shy at delivering strange and avant garde ideas.
More spoilers ahead for The Matrix trilogy, by the way.
Another theory, is that this is the same Neo as the one we know, only the world he now inhabits is new. It would explain a lot of the trailer’s suggestions that Neo remembers things from the trilogy. The logic from the first theory still applies here, with everything being the same, only a little different, only instead of a past version of the Matrix it is another Matrix.
Wouldn’t it make sense that the machines would have multiple Matrices? Instead of putting all of their plans upon one system, one risk?
The Architect did say that Neo was always present. Perhaps after Neo “died” at the end of Revelations, the machines took him to another Matrix, to maintain the element of control that Neo represented.
They would need some pretty strong memory repression software… which isn’t working, so it seems.
Also Trinity… was she revived too? To maintain Neo’s need to choose between saving her or Zion?
So many possibilities. But one thing that is for certain: this will feel like a The Force Awakens situation again. With repeated ideas, characters, and scenarios.
Does that sound like a good idea? Is it something The Matrix can get away with, or should it have ended with the trilogy? (or just one film!)