Watching The Matrix Resurrections is like eating a huge holiday meal. You love it, but you need a few minutes to digest. Well, that time is over. Last week, we posted about how co-writers David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon got on board the project with friend and collaborator Lana Wachowski, and what they had to say about some of the biggest spoilers and questions.
Warner Bros. had been asking the Wachowksis to make a new Matrix movie since third film Revolutions was released. When Lana Wachowski finally decided to tackle it, she went in with a few general ideas to start.
“She had the idea about the opening scene,” Hemon told io9. “She said she saw that opening scene in her mind in the middle of the night, one night in Chicago, and described it to me and to us. This modal little world which Thomas Anderson, Neo, has constructed for himself to be reminded of what he might have lost and what he used to be. Eventually, out of that world, the Morpheus comes.”
Resurrections has a ton of moving parts, from the new Matrix and the real world, to the footage from the old movies, new characters, old characters, sequel story lines, new storylines, etc. So we wondered, out of all of that, what was the most difficult thing to get right.
“There were quite a few conversations about the modal, about the opening,” Mitchell said. “The opening scenes, where apparently where we’re back in the late 1990s, and we’re back at the beginning of the first film, where we could cut the cake and eat it of making those allusions. But then once we zoom into the present, make it crystal clear what’s just happened. So I suppose how to make clarity out of complexity.”
“That was a challenging thing and it was also the transition from that modal world, the modal universe to the world outside it, which is also a kind of a modal universe unto itself,” Hemon added. “We worried that that could get confusing if we were not careful. And so that transition was worked on and the logic of that was discussed quite a bit.”
Since Resurrections takes place 60 years after the events of the previous Matrix, that Laurence Fishburne’s character Morphues is gone makes sense. But, if the actor didn’t want to come back for some reason, it also would have been an elegant workaround. So we asked if the idea to recast that role, as well as Agent Smith (previously played by Hugo Weaving, now played by Jonathan Groff) was always part of it.
“A new Morpheus was there from the beginning,” Hemon said. “We knew that Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss would be involved. Without them, this thing would not have been possible. But the other thing, during my brief career in the movies, I’ve learned that moviemaking, it’s a world of contingency. And so people might or might not, you know, sign on—or if they sign on, some things may change. So we did write some roles, I’m not going to give it away, but we wrote a character for someone we thought would play [it] and then it was not possible. And so still, we didn’t change anything radically, but we were just imagining this actor in the role. And then it turned out that it was not possible, but we didn’t change any lines with that. So that actor is still inscribed in the role.”
We followed up on that previous answer.
“There were preliminary talks [presumably with Hugo Weaving] and so we were not involved in them with people, but it was not entirely resolved,” Hemon said. “Because the premise of The Matrix and [this] movie is somewhat different, Agent Smith would have been different in some ways, no matter who played it. And Jonathan Groff is amazing in that role. He added a dimension that I could not foresee while we were writing. But there’s an increased emotional emotionality in the movie and then he fits into that pattern.
The Matrix Resurrections opens with the reveal that Thomas Anderson runs a big gaming company that made games, not movies, called The Matrix. And now its parent company, Warner Bros., wants a fourth game... which he does not want to do. The whole thing feels like a very obvious commentary on Wachowski’s personal feelings about making this movie, so we asked if it was specifically in regards to any trepidations or if Warner Bros. ever pushed back on being made fun of.
“Trepidation. I think that’s a fair word,” Mitchell said. “And the trepidation gets sublimated into Thomas Anderson’s general existential anxiety I think. [As for] any crapping [on Warner Bros.], this is done, of course, with respect and affection. In the most legal possible sense with respect and affection. But yeah, I think trepidation is a fair word. It was a big step.”
“It was,” Hemon added. “It’s also that David and I are just writers, and so I have never met anyone from Warner Bros. until these interviews were arranged.” (“Same here,” Mitchell interjected.) “So if there was there was pushback, we never heard of it. Lana protected us. But I also think they were so excited that Lana would make the movie that why would they push back? At that time, certainly. Maybe later. But anything, just make that movie.”
At the end of Resurrections, a newly reborn Neo and Trinity, now fully powerful in the Matrix, say they’ve been given another chance. We asked the writers if that other chance is referring to their love and life together, or to freeing all of humanity from the machines and the Matrix, which they failed to do the last time.
“Well, love will free the real world, so it’s both,” Hemon said.
“But yeah, you identify the two options really well, and it’s not necessarily an either/or,” Mitchell added.
Whether or not you interpret the ending as Neo and Trinity live happily ever after now, or Neo and Trinity will continue to fight for all of humanity to be free, the story leaves itself open to more chapters. So we wondered, had there be any talks about where the story might go after this?
“Well, we haven’t talked about it,” Hemon said. “It’s too early for us, certainly, to be involved in that. There’s so many things that need to be happen. So as of now, this is it.”
“That’s the situation to the best of my knowledge as well,” Mitchell added. “But of course, who knows what happens in the future, dot dot dot question mark. But to the best of our knowledge, there are no plans.” (It’s worth noting that Lana Wachowski herself gave a flat “No” at the premiere when asked if there would be a sequel.)
The Matrix Resurrections is now in theaters and on HBO Max.
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