The Matrix Resurrections trailer has landed, and it's a lot to absorb at once. As well as seeding the idea that Neo is now a normal man living a simulated life within the Matrix, the teaser hints at when this movie is set, and teases some other bizarre details about how the simulation has changed this time around.
Below, we've captured 11 key things from The Matrix 4 trailer, and explained what we think they each mean. Some of these are rather obvious – but a couple might just blow your mind.
1. Neo is living a normal life...
Dosed up on blue pills and seeing a therapist (played by Neil Patrick Harris, wearing blue glasses), we see Neo (called Thomas again) living a different life in this movie – presumably inside another version of the Matrix. We can only assume from the sequence of events that this is how the movie starts, where he encounters Trinity (who also appears to be living a normal life), and has strange dreams of simulations. We later meet a blue-haired character, played by Jessica Henwick, who refers to him as Neo.
2. ...But he looks like a different guy now
When Keanu Reeves' Neo looks in the mirror, a different, gray-haired man stares back. This was first spotted in one of the teaser videos shown on The Matrix Resurrections' website earlier this week – in the same bathroom where he's seen chugging blue pills.
3. The Matrix movie appears to exist in this Matrix
Here's a wild one (source (opens in new tab)) – The Matrix appears to be showing within the Matrix in this movie. We see a brief shot of Neo after he takes the red pill, from around the 32-minute mark of the first movie. This is likely why Jonathan Groff's character at the end of the trailer asks, "After all these years...to be going back to where it all started. Back to The Matrix." This suggests that Keanu Reeves' character is having some identity issues, and perhaps believes he's The One as a result of watching the movie. Or, Thomas is an actor and Groff plays his agent, which is more likely.
4. Lots of Alice in Wonderland references
From the very on-the-nose choice of 'White Rabbit' by Jefferson Airplane to the literal appearance of the book in one shot (the woman with the book, played by Priyanka Chopra, is wearing red glasses), The Matrix Resurrections is big on references to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – just like its predecessors were ('follow the white rabbit' being the words Trinity types out to Neo at the start of the first movie).
We also see a tattoo of a white rabbit on the arm of Jessica Henwick's character – the blue-haired woman who refers to Reeves' character as Neo in the trailer. Fans won't need reminding that a tattoo was the rabbit in question that Neo saw in the first movie, that led to him meeting Trinity.
5. The significance of a black cat
The first shot in the trailer shows us a black cat in Neo's therapist's office. In the first Matrix, Neo saw a black cat perform the same motion twice in a hallway, and had a sense of déjà vu. In the Matrix simulation, déjà vu specifically indicates that something has been changed by the system.
Here, the cat is likely intended to represent déjà vu as a clue to the viewer, and remind you of that moment from the first movie – thematically setting up the idea that Neo is about to begin his journey out of the Matrix once more. The Cheshire Cat, of course, is also a significant part of the story in Alice in Wonderland.
6. The 'real world' of The Matrix still exists
We see a brief shot of a ship flying around the 'real world' outside The Matrix – at the end of the third movie, The Matrix Revolutions, Neo sacrifices himself to destroy the Agent Smith program. This reboots the Matrix, and essentially brokers peace between Zion and the Machines, with the Architect of the Matrix ending the movie by asking, 'how long do you think this peace is going to last?' Our best guess is, some semblance of Neo still exists – we know that The One exists as a perpetual anomaly in each iteration of The Matrix.
Look, you don't need to go over that, because we all wasted too much time on this in 2002: just understand that the dynamics of The Matrix versus the resistance of the real world can still feasibly exist in this movie. The 'war', it seems, has begun again. And if you're wondering whether this is a prequel...we're pretty sure it can't be, based on the point below.
7. This is almost certainly a sequel to The Matrix Revolutions, not a prequel
Look at the image above, which appears in the trailer for less than a second: it shows Neo as we left him in The Matrix Revolutions, which is blind, and with the machines. The fact that this version of Neo exists in this movie almost certainly rules out this being a prequel, or an earlier version of The Matrix – it suggests his body still exists in the real world, in the hands of the machines. Though it's worth noting that a second later, we see a shot of Neo waking up, plugged in to The Matrix, this time with his eyes open.
Wild guess: this Neo we meet in the trailers will have a new and different body. But the old body will still factor into the story in some way.
8. Trinity is seemingly still alive
Another significant shot in the trailer shows Carrie-Ann Moss' Trinity plugged in to the Matrix – suggesting that she too still exists in the real world despite her death (prior to Neo's) in The Matrix Revolutions. Hey, it does have 'Resurrections' in the title of the movie.
9. What's the deal with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's character?
We're wary of jumping to conclusions with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's character, who, as multiple sources have pointed out, appears to be fulfilling the Morpheus role in this movie. We see him brandishing the two pills, fighting Neo in a digital dojo, and the glasses have a whiff of the Morpheus aesthetic. If nothing else, the allusion is surely deliberate – another shot shows him poking at a liquid mirror, suggesting we might see his origin in leaving the Matrix, since this is how we saw Neo disconnect in the first movie.
Laurence Fishburne, incidentally, will not be appearing in this film.
10. Neo can still stop bullets – and bend rockets
By the end of The Matrix, Neo could dodge bullets – and by The Matrix Reloaded, he could stop them in mid-air. In a distinctly John Wick-looking sequence, we see him pull off that party trick once again, with Trinity in tow. In another sequence on a rooftop, we see him bend a rocket into a helicopter, suggesting his powers as The One will return in this movie.
11. There's a reference to another Wachowski movie
A tiny but cool thing: one of the storefronts behind Neo in the trailer is called Corky's Massage Parlor. Corky was the name of Gina Gershon's character in the Wachowskis' first movie, 1996's Bound, and the logo for the parlor of an axe is a tattoo on Gershon's arm in the film.
Hey, can we get a Speed Racer reference next?
The Matrix Resurrections releases on December 22 in theaters worldwide, and on the $14.99 monthly tier for those living in the US.