Over the holiday season, we’ll be returning to a place many thought was gone forever: the Matrix. The Matrix: Resurrections is the fourth film in the iconic sci-fi franchise that turned things like red and blue pills and black leather trench coats into pop culture touchstones. With such a large legacy and quite a contentious ending to unravel, can The Matrix: Resurrections live up to the hype?
Lifehacker Australia spoke with The Matrix: Resurrections cast members Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff and Priyanka Chopra Jonas to find out more.
It’s been almost twenty years since we last saw Neo make a deal with the machines to defeat Agent Smith, save Zion and reboot the Matrix in The Matrix: Revolutions. The ending seemingly brought the trilogy to a resolute ending, which begs the question: why is 2021 the right time to return to The Matrix?
“I think all of the questions and topics that the original discussed have become even more relevant.” Henwick, who plays new hacker Bugs in the movie, told Lifehacker Australia.
“Now Lana has new things to say and it’s got a new tone and it’s bringing a message of hope and love which feels very necessary today. I think this is the perfect time for it.”
Chopra Jonas agreed that the timing of a fourth film had a lot to do with it being right for the director, Lana Wachowski, who created the world of The Matrix with her sibling Lilly.
“I think this was very personal for [Lana],” Chopra Jonas said. “I think art is something that requires timing, you can’t be strategic about it and the universe has to collide and create something, and I think this has come from a really deep place for Lana.”
In classic The Matrix-style, trailers for Resurrections have so far raised more questions than they have answers. A lot of those questions have to do with both the new and returning cast members.
After appearing to have died in Revolutions, Neo and Trinity are back in what appears to be a new and more dangerous version of the Matrix. Their quest, it seems, will be to choose their reality once again and to break free of the control of the machines.
While it’s still unclear how Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are back as their characters, there are some other recognisable names in Resurrections as well.
One person that fans may remember from the original trilogy is Sati, an exiled program in the Matrix that audiences last saw as a young girl. Chopra Jonas admitted she was nervous about taking on the role of an adult Sati in Resurrections.
“To inherit the legacy of a character that was a baby in the previous movie, that was very strategically placed and foreshadowed, I just wanted to make sure that I get (sic) it right,” Chopra Jonas said.
“I really leaned into Lana to explain and to direct me because no one knows the world like her; she’s created it and lived with it for so many years.”
Another familiar character that is appearing with a new face in The Matrix: Resurrections is Smith. Exactly how interconnected this version of Smith is to Hugo Weaving’s iteration is a mystery, but for Groff, their similarities were on his mind every day.
“It was kind of an organic process where there were parts in the script that felt very different from the original Smith and I felt that I could really make my own,” Groff explained.
“I depended on my own instincts and I depended a lot on Lana to help guide me through the process. But it was fun to bounce back and forth between touching some of the old iconic moments and then bringing something new to it.”
Another thing that The Matrix is known for is posing interesting philosophical questions. The original movie made audiences think about deep concepts like control and the nature of reality.
In The Matrix: Resurrections, deep emotional questions are at play once again. For Chopra Jonas, the film has a clear message.
“I think this film is trying to say that, in the end of everything, love conquers all,” she said.
“I feel like that’s the hidden message of this movie.”
Henwick, on the other hand, thinks the meaning is a bit more cryptic.
“I’m going to take a leaf out of Lana’s book because when you ask her anything about the Matrix she says ‘well what do you think?’” Henwick said. “So I think The Matrix is whatever you want it to be.”
The cast members also remained cryptic on whether The Matrix: Resurrections could potentially leave the door open to a fifth Matrix film.
“I’m so excited to have been a part of this one, so I’d definitely be open to another one,” Chopra Jonas said.
Groff agreed, saying he’d “be there in a second” if a Matrix 5 were to happen.
“I know as much as you do. Which is nothing.” Henwick teased.
Guess we’ll just have to follow the white rabbit and see.
The Matrix: Resurrections hits cinemas in Australia on December 26. The original trilogy of Matrix films can all be found on Netflix.