As Morpheus said in the first “Matrix” film, “No one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”
This has largely been the approach of the marketing for the new sequel, “The Matrix Resurrections” – there’s only been one trailer and a handful of errant images released in advance of its Dec. 22 release. But a new minute-long teaser might clue us into what this new “Matrix” is all about.
The new spot called “Déjà Vu” also gives us introductory footage of Keanu Reeves as 2021 Neo, facing off with a calm-and-collected black cat in the rain. Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) can be heard from the first film: “Déjà Vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix.” We then get Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” over images from the previous “Matrix” films, plus footage from the new movie too. “It happens when they change something,” Trinity echoes.
Footage is echoed and repeated – a shot of Neo’s mouth closing up while in custody of the Agents becomes a new shot of Jonathan Groff’s character, the iconic image of Morpheus leaping towards Neo is juxtaposed against a similar shot, this time of the new Morpheus, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, doing the same move. Perhaps most tantalizingly, is we see Lambert Wilson, who played the mysterious Merovingian in the sequels, who can be fleetingly glimpsed with a long, white-streaked beard and scraggly hair. (Is the Merovingian, a figure historically linked to the Holy Grail, now Merlin?) Also: it seems pretty clear Groff is the new villain/agent, especially after he talked about fighting Keanu in yesterday’s EW cover story.
“Why not use old code to make something new?” a character can be heard saying off screen. This is perhaps the biggest clue into what is going on in “Matrix Resurrections,” and seems to describe the filmmaking ethos behind the movie. This is clearly a sequel but one that reconstitutes the original films in a new and interesting way; how exactly this plays out in the plot of the film remains to be seen (eagle-eyed viewers saw footage from the original movie playing against a wall in the first trailer). If the concept of Déjà Vu super important in the sequel, it could signal that the machine overlords are trying to re-write the Matrix code, which is causing all sorts of interesting glitches.
We also hear another character (who sounds a lot like Christina Ricci, playing an as-yet-undisclosed role) saying, “Maybe this isn’t the story we think it is.” This is another meta hat-tip, saying that this won’t be a typical follow-up but something much, much stranger and more unexpected.
Also, it should be noted, that there is a brief glimpse of some kind of very large-scale war going on in the Machine City/potentially Zion, which is intriguing and huge. The mystique around this movie is almost unbearable.
“The Matrix Resurrections” hits theaters and HBO Max on Dec. 22.