Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss return as Neo and Trinity in the first look at THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS. It opens on December 22, 2021.

And with that, we’re back to the desert of the real.

The first look at the long-awaited return to the Matrix is finally here with the first trailer for The Matrix Resurrections (appropriately set to Jefferson Airplane’s song “White Rabbit”). It’s the fourth film in a sci-fi saga dense in philosophy, ontological angst, and the never-ending question of Does Free Will Even Exist?

There’s a lot to glean here (in a preview that will probably be the most studied and analyzed trailer of the year; prepare to see a lot of side-by-side comparison shots/scenes between this film and the first one), but for now the premise is thus:

Neo (Keanu Reeves) has returned as Thomas Anderson once again, nearly 20 years older than when we last saw him (and this franchise). He’s living in the matrix simulation that we all know as “the real world.”

Completely unaware of his Neo past and all that we saw in the first trilogy, Mr. Anderson is now seeing a psychiatrist (Neil Patrick Harris) because he’s struggling with his own sense of sanity.

Inevitably, he’s presented with the choice between the Red Pill and the Blue Pill and…off we go.

Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) is also back and, given how both she and Neo ended their arcs in Matrix Revolutions (the third and formerly-final film in the saga), it’s going to be very interesting to see how and why they’re even back at all. Their re-meet cute moment teased in this trailer is rather poignant, reflective of one of the core strengths from the original films: the soulmate connection between Neo and Trinity.

Suffice it to say, Revolutions left open the question of reality itself, and if any version of “reality” or “finality” can be trusted at all, or if there will always be an inevitable loop of fake existence perpetuated by The Architect, The Oracle, and the Machine overlords.

When the original trilogy seemingly ended 18 years ago in 2003, one of the biggest frustrations was rooted in where it landed thematically. For a series that appeared to be about the search for meaning, its existential conclusion (even in Neo’s heroism) seemed to hint that, ultimately, it’s all meaningless.

Maybe Resurrections will finally change that.

Laurence Fishburne has not returned for this reboot, but it would seem that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has taken over his role as a younger version of the character Morpheus (though this trailer doesn’t confirm that 100%). Or, more mysteriously, it’s almost as if Abdul-Mateen’s character is simultaneously Morpheus and an Agent.

If that’s true, then Abdul-Mateen would also be the replacement for Hugo Weaving who doesn’t return for this outing either. That said, it’s more likely that Jonathan Groff takes over for Weaving as the main Agent, albeit with an insidiously happy disposition rather than a menacing one.

One of the more interesting teases in this trailer is the focus on smart phones and devices. It would seem that the power of the matrix over people has evolved. Before, landline phones served as a connection and portal between the matrix and reality. Now in this latest reboot of the matrix (I’m talking about the actual code in the story, not the movie franchise) it appears that smart devices create a more hypnotic hold on people than any previous version of the matrix has before.

While there’s still a lot of questions to answer, this initial trailer is a very exciting, intriguing and satisfying first look. The Matrix Resurrections — co-written and directed by Lana Wachowski (one half of the Wachowski siblings that made the original trilogy) — opens in theaters and on HBO Max on December 22, 2021.

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