The Matrix 4 will see the return of Keanu Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, with Lana Wachowski back in the director’s chair. Besides Lilly Wachowski, there’s one other member of the original Matrix family missing from the project: Laurence Fishburne, who played Morpheus in the first three movies.
Since the sequel was announced last year, fans have been wondering where old Morpheus might be hiding. Is Warner Bros. keeping his role a secret? Has the character been relegated to a smaller cameo while Neo and Trinity have all the fun in Mega City?
Fishburne has finally revealed why he’s not on the cast list or in the myriad set photos published online so far. According to the actor, Warner Bros. just never reached out to him to reprise his role.
“I have not been invited. Maybe that will make me write another play. I wish them well. I hope it’s great,” Fishburne told New York Magazine (via Empire).
Fishburne doesn’t seem sore about it, though. While Morpheus is undoubtedly one of his career-defining roles, the actor said that there are plenty of other characters he’s enjoyed playing and are held dear by fans.
“It is probably the role that I’ll be best remembered for, which is great; it’s not the only thing I’ll be remembered for, which is better,” Fishburne said.
Plenty of rumors and fan theories have persisted regarding why Morpheus seems to be absent from the movie. One report from Deadline’s Justin Kroll suggests that the new Matrix movie will involve a younger Morpheus.
Who is playing this younger Morpheus? The theory suggests that it’s none other than Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who is no stranger to playing mystery characters after surprising HBO viewers as the new face of Dr. Manhattan in the Watchmen limited series.
The set photos revealed so far show a clearly older Neo and Trinity — who are apparently back from the dead and in the Matrix — riding a motorcycle around the city. If they’re older, why is Morpheus, the only surviving member of the original trilogy by the end of The Matrix Revolutions, younger in this new sequel?
One fan theory suggests that Neo and Trinity will somehow travel back in time through the Matrix to find young Morpheus. While The Matrix movies haven’t really addressed fluctuations in time before, we know that Neo can manipulate time and space at least a little to dodge incoming bullets. The Machines can also cause “deja vus” when changing something in the Matrix.
There’s also the matter of the different versions of the Matrix and how time seems to repeat itself from one version to the next. We know from The Matrix Reloaded that humanity and their last refuge in Zion have been almost completely obliterated several times by the time Neo meets the Architect to reboot the Matrix. Of course, The Matrix Revolutions doesn’t end with the decimation of Zion but with a new peace between man and machine, a clear divergence from what’s happened with past versions of the conflict.
Could this change have caused some ripple through time that Neo and Trinity now have to go back and fix? Or are Neo and Trinity actually in the next version of the Matrix where a young Morpheus is still early in his path to find the One?
I can’t wait to find out.
The Matrix 4 is scheduled to release on April 1, 2022.