This article contains spoilers for The Matrix Resurrections.
Neo and Trinity are back in The Matrix Resurrections. But how the hell is that possible? Didn’t they die in Revolutions? And why is there a different version of Morpheus running around the simulation?
There are plenty of questions to be answered in The Matrix Resurrections and many of its big mysteries are addressed head on. But there are a few things that may not be so clear about the movie’s plot that need further explanation.
This is a sprawling, twisting, complicated, and sometimes messy movie, but I’ve tried my best to answer some of the movie’s biggest questions below…
How Are Neo and Trinity Alive?
Let’s get the hard question out of the way first. It’s confirmed in Resurrections that Neo and Trinity did indeed die in Revolutions — your eyes weren’t deceiving you — but death wasn’t meant to be the end of their stories. The Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) reveals that he revived Neo and Trinity to power a new version of the Matrix built on desire and fear — a desire for the things people don’t have and fear of losing the things that they do. By keeping Neo and Trinity in close proximity, longing for each other within the simulation, the Analyst created a new template for human experience within the Matrix, one designed to manipulate feelings and emotions instead of just recreating facts as the Architect had in the last version.
In one particularly gruesome scene, we watch as Machines rebuild Neo and Trinity’s broken bodies, healing the awful wounds they sustained during their final mission to the Machine City. It’s the kind of body horror we haven’t really seen from this series since the original movie glued Neo’s mouth shut.
What Is a Modal and What’s Up with Morpheus/Agent Smith?
Although it looks like history is repeating itself in the opening scene, Bugs (Jessica Henwick) and Sequoia (Toby Onwumere) are actually watching a fake Trinity fight a SWAT team and Agents from inside a simulation within a simulation called a “modal.” In terms of what a modal is within the Matrix universe, Bugs explains that it’s a simulation designed to evolve programs.
In this case, the modal was created by Neo himself, who thinks he’s just running a test within his game “Binary.” But subconsciously, he’s trying to spark the events that led to the original Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity finding him and waking him up in the first Matrix movie.
The program being evolved in this particular modal is a new version of Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who begins life as an amalgamation of Agent Smith and Neo’s captain, the two opposing forces that led to Neo becoming who he needed to be back in 1999. New Morpheus describes the experience of being both people at once as “more than a little crazy-making.” Fortunately, Bugs helps him wake up and learn his true purpose: he must find Neo.
What Is a Bot?
You probably left the theater thinking Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, and Bugs killed a whole lot of people in the final act of the movie. After all, they do shoot down and blow up loads of people in the process of making their escape from the Matrix. But they’re not actually killing humans plugged into the simulation. They’re taking down bots, programs designed to replicate everyday human behavior but who can actually be controlled by the Analyst when the need arises, such as when he has them all jump out of building windows in an attempt to stop Neo and Trinity from reaching their destination.
Bots are one of the many references to video games in the movie. Most commonly associated with multiplayer games, bots are often used as replacements for human users when there aren’t enough human players in an online lobby.
Who Is the Analyst?
In short, the Analyst is the new Architect, the manager of this new version of the Matrix. But where the Architect sought to control human minds through cold, hard math and facts, the Analyst likes to take a more personal approach, manipulating feelings to create fictions that keep the blue-pills in line. (He observes that humans will “believe the craziest shit,” which really isn’t very far off from the truth if you’ve ever spent any time on Facebook.) The Analyst says that his approach has made humans produce more energy to feed the Machines than ever before, all while keeping them from wanting to escape the simulation.
While he’s never mentioned in the original trilogy, the Analyst confirms that he was there watching as Neo helped the Machines defeat Smith in Revolutions.
What’s Up with Neo’s Reflection?
Every human plugged into the Matrix had a “residual self image” in the original trilogy. RSI is the appearance mentally projected by each human inside the simulation. The Machines have upgraded a few things in the last 60 years though, as this is now called “digital self image” and can be manipulated. It’s how the Analyst is able to scramble Neo’s appearance, making him look like a much older, balding man to the outside world. When Neo looks in the mirror, he can see his real face, but in another mirror just in the periphery, you can see that Neo’s appearance is completely different.
Why Does Smith Look So Different?
There are two possibilities here: Smith probably looks just like Jonathan Groff for the same reasons Neo looks different in this new version of the Matrix. His digital self image has been scrambled, which is why he looks like Jonathan Groff to everyone else. Smith likely sees Hugo Weaving when he looks in the mirror, though.
But doesn’t Smith reference his new, very blue eyes in the movie, suggesting he’s very much aware of his new appearance? It’s possible that when he was originally purged by the Machines in Revolutions, they destroyed his original shell in the process. Somehow Smith survived but not his original appearance.
Who Is Roland?
At one point, Ellster (Mumbi Maina), one of the Mnemosyne’s crew members, introduces herself as Roland’s granddaughter. Roland was the captain of the Mjolnir, the ship Morpheus, Niobe, and the rest of their crew used to get back to Zion in Revolutions. Roland was played by David Roberts in Reloaded and Revolutions.
What Happened to the Oracle and the Architect?
There’s a big info dump in the second act and we learn quite a bit about what’s happened in the real world since the end of Revolutions. The amount of human beings unplugged from the Matrix during the truce caused major scarcity within Machine society. There just weren’t enough humans to power their cities and plants anymore.
It’s no surprise that the Oracle and the Architect were two of the programs blamed for this failure. When the Analyst took over the simulation, he purged these programs for good.
Why Are Humans, Machines, and Programs Friends Now?
Scarcity among the Machines led to a civil war that saw a faction of Machines and programs defect and join human society. They now identify as “Synthians” and live in peace with humans, helping develop many of the innovations that make Io a much better place to live than Zion. Synthians are also key to helping Neo and Trinity escape their resurrection pods inside the Anomaleum.
What Happened to Zion and What Is Io?
It’s implied by Niobe that Zion was eventually destroyed after the civil war between the Machines broke out. The humans and the Synthians then built a new city called Io, which not only has a simulated sky but also gardens that grow fruit, including strawberries and blueberries!
What Happened to the Real Morpheus?
Again, Niobe doesn’t flat out say that Morpheus was killed, but it’s implied that he died during the destruction of Zion. Niobe reveals that Morpheus ignored the Oracle’s warnings that the Machines were now under a new regime, believing that Neo’s sacrifice would protect them and that the peace would hold. It seems likely that he died for his faith.
Why Is Niobe So Much Older Than Neo and Trinity?
Bugs tells Neo that 60 years have passed in the real world since the One stopped the war between humanity and the Machines, which is why Niobe looks so much older when Neo meets her as the leader of Io. But then why didn’t Neo and Trinity age the same way as Niobe? It seems like the Machine modifications used to bring them back to life allowed them to age much more slowly than other humans. It doesn’t make much sense but go with it.
WTF Is The Merovingian Talking About?
Speaking of nonsense, the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) shows up to shout gibberish at Neo at one point in the movie. It’s hard to understand between the thick French accent and the nonsensical use of internet buzz words during his tirade, but it sounds like Merv is very angry with Neo about the ways the Matrix changed after the Analyst took over. It definitely looks like Merv has fallen on very hard times since we last saw him and he blames Neo for all of it.
Who Is Sati?
Priyanka Chopra plays a grown up Sati in Resurrections. She’s a program who ultimately fills the role of guide for the heroes in place of the Oracle.
She was first introduced in Revolutions (played by Tanveer K. Atwal) as a bit of an anomaly herself, a program born out of the love between two other programs (her parents). Because she didn’t have a defined purpose, Sati was to be deleted but her parents made a deal with the Merovingian to save their daughter’s life. Neo first encounters Sati and her parents at the train station between the Matrix and the real world. At the end of the movie, she designs a beautiful sunrise for Neo, who she hopes to see again someday.
It makes perfect sense that Sati would play such an important role in reuniting Neo and Trinity. After all, the Oracle (Mary Alice) and mysterious bodyguard Seraph (Collin Chou) went to great lengths to protect Sati from both the Merovingian and Smith in Revolutions. The Oracle even alluded to Sati’s importance in a cutscene from the tie-in video game Enter the Matrix, revealing she believed the child would “change both the Matrix and the real world.”
It seems like Sati has now fulfilled her purpose. Who knows whether we’ll ever see more of her story.
The Ending Explained: Is Trinity the One? How Can She Fly?
Neo decides that he needs to free Trinity from the Matrix, so Sati comes up with a plan to pull off a heist in the real world, rescuing Trinity from the Anomoleum, while Neo and friends try to wrestle her mind out of the simulation. But the latter isn’t as simple as pushing Trinity through a portal. The only way Neo can free her is if she chooses to leave the Matrix. It’s a choice she eventually makes inside Simulatte, which triggers the big climactic action set-piece that sees Smith help Neo and Trinity escape the cafe and the Analyst activate swarm mode.
Many bullets and explosions later, Neo and Trinity reach the end of the line. They’re on the roof of a skyscraper surrounded by a SWAT team, Agents, and helicopters. They have nothing left to do but to jump, a final leap of faith that will hopefully end with Neo flying them away to safety. They know whatever fate awaits them after they jump is better than a fake life inside the Analyst’s world. But when they do jump, it’s not Neo who flies but Trinity!
How is this possible? This one’s a bit difficult to explain and I’m not entirely sure I know the answer. My guess is that since Neo and Trinity can only trigger the anomaly of the One together (as explained by the Analyst), their re-connection in Resurrections somehow allows Trinity to gain of all the same powers Neo had in the original trilogy. It’s clear in the final scene of the movie that Trinity is now fully in control of the Matrix, and she is even able to change things simply by snapping her fingers.
Perhaps the powers of the One were interchangeable between the two of them all along! Maybe the person who makes the choice to believe in the One is the one who gets the powers?
What are your theories? Let me know in the comments.
Will There Be a Matrix 5: What’s Next for Neo and Trinity?
The simple answer: if The Matrix Resurrections performs well at the box office and on streaming, Warner Bros. will almost certainly green light more movies, whether it’s The Matrix 5 or spin-offs starring some of the new characters. (I, for one, would love to see Bugs and new Morpheus doing their own thing at some point.)
Is there enough for a Matrix 5? Well, that’s more complicated. Yes, the movie does leave things somewhat open-ended, with Neo and Trinity off to change the simulation and free more minds like it’s 1999 all over again. But surely the Analyst and the Machines aren’t just going to sit back and let that happen, right? And that hologram isn’t going to protect Io from the Machines forever either. So yeah, there could be enough for a sequel that sees humanity and the Machines in further conflict, but that feels to me like too much of a retread at this point.
Of course, Lana Wachowski has proved here that she can take even a nostalgic legacy sequel in unexplored directions, so there’s no doubt that she could surprise us with a really exciting new twist that carries another installment. But Resurrections is also about finally giving Neo and Trinity the happy ending they deserved in 2003. Neo and Trinity zipping through the dawn of a brand new day for humanity seems like the perfect stopping point for these characters.
The director was blunt when the Associated Press asked her whether this movie was the start of a new trilogy:
“No. I didn’t ever want to make another Matrix movie. I told everyone for 18 years I didn’t want to make another Matrix movie. [Sister and co-director] Lilly told everyone she didn’t want to make another Matrix movie. Then I had a tragedy in my life, my parents passed away, and I needed something to help me with the grief. Inventing a story where two people come back to life was healing and comforting and I was non-judgmental, I just wrote it, and I didn’t know what I was gonna do with it, and then I read part of the story [to a colleague] and she said, ‘Oh, my God, you have to tell this story.'”
So it sounds like at the very least Lana is definitely not making another Matrix movie. But if there’s money to be made, Warner Bros. will definitely make more of these films, whether a Wachowski is involved or not, as Resurrections itself points out. If they do end up up making another, I do hope it’s “The Catrix.”
The Matrix Resurrections is out now in theaters and on HBO Max.