The Matrix 4 will include a younger Morpheus, despite Resurrections‘ status as a direct sequel to the original trilogy. When it was announced last year that another installment in the fabled Matrix series was on the way, courtesy of only one Wachowski this time around, the internet was rife with anticipation. Theories abound concerning the plot as well as the cast, which is missing a notable name: The actor behind Morpheus, Laurence Fishburne, is nowhere to be seen in connection to the movie, and denies involvement. However, it has been confirmed that the character of Morpheus will return, played by newcomer to the franchise Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
First appearing in 1999’s The Matrix, Morpheus was one of the few individuals who was aware of the false reality he inhabited. He pushed for the human race to wake up, both literally and figuratively, in order to escape the machine-run simulation and seek asylum in Zion, the last inhabited human city on actual Earth. He was a beacon of resistance, one that would inspire Keanu Reeves’ Neo to reach his full potential as the prophesied “One,” who would save humanity. Morpheus was heavily featured throughout all three Matrix movies and multimedia projects such as video games and animated shorts, becoming even more of a revolutionary as the war against their mechanical overlords escalated.
By the end of the third film in the series, The Matrix Revolutions, Morpheus is not killed off. His personal story never reaches a logical conclusion, so when the fourth was made official, it seemed a given that he would return to wrap up his role in the conflict. There was no mention of him up until the release of the first trailer for The Matrix 4 – aside from curious rumors that he will still appear in some capacity. Now that Morpheus is confirmed to be appearing in Resurrections, the question to consider is how he will be portrayed – apparently as a younger version of the character as portrayed by Abdul-Mateen.
Young Morpheus Will Appear In The Matrix 4
It wasn’t long after The Matrix 4 was announced that a rumor began making the rounds concerning the Morpheus character appearing in the film, this time with a catch — a youthful version of Morpheus would play some role in the movie, most likely with a different individual taking up the moniker. Casting announcements confirmed the return of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss as Neo and Trinity respectively, but Laurence Fishburne will not be returning. Fishburne made the character who he was, so why wouldn’t the actor return for one of his standout roles? His absence at first suggested what is now confirmed: If Morpheus were to appear, the character would be played by someone else, now confirmed to be Abdul-Mateen.
Many speculated that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, would play Morpheus in Matrix 4, and this was confirmed at the time of the trailer release by the actor himself. Considering the age gap between the two actors, this is not simply a case of recasting due to scheduling conflict, loss of interest in the role, etc. Abdul-Mateen will play Morpheus in The Matrix 4 in what has been described as a “lead role.” Turns out, it will in fact be a younger, less experienced, take on one of the franchise’s most prolific protagonists.
Young Morpheus Could Appear In Flashbacks In The Matrix 4
The follow-up question to all of this is under what circumstances would a pre-Matrix version of Morpheus appear in the film? As is the case with most movies that cast for an aged-down version of an existing character, flashbacks would be the most obvious route to take. After all, his past is never fully explored in the Matrix trilogy, only being described vaguely at times. This presents the perfect opportunity to expand upon his life before he became the captain of the Nebuchadnezzar, bringing the story back to the earlier days of the war.
Taking a break from the main story in favor of a trip to the past could provide early context for the human/AI power struggle. Audiences could witness Morpheus’ early years as a resistance fighter and the role he played in helping Zion grow. The cultivation of his reputation within the Matrix as a major threat and a terrorist would be entertaining to witness. His relationship with Niobe (played by Jada Pinkett-Smith, another returning actor for The Matrix 4) with whom he was romantically involved, could be elaborated on for the sake of adding more human elements to his characterization.
How Young Morpheus Could Appear In The Matrix 4’s Main Storyline
Alternatively, there could be more to his involvement in the film. Morpheus’ youthful self could manage his way into the main story of The Matrix 4 with relative ease. This is a science-fiction property after all, so nothing can really be left off the table — especially taking into account that this series relies heavily on reality-bending and simulations in order to tell its narrative to begin with. The trailer, while showing Abdul-Mateen in action as Morpheus, doesn’t confirm much about story or time period, but time travel and environmental or memory manipulation can’t be counted out until the creatives behind the narrative indicate otherwise.
All things considered, these elements could integrate seamlessly into the main story. Perhaps the heroes will have to go back in time in the Matrix either for something or someone, like Morpheus. If this isn’t the case, then possibly the Matrix itself could generate its own model, adopting his appearance from the years prior to his “awakening.” It can be pulled off, but the context in which it does happen will make or break its overall impact. Besides, if Neo can return to the Matrix alive, as can Trinity, there has to be more to the story.
How it will happen exactly in regards to plot is still a mystery, but it stands that a Matrix movie without Morpheus in the thick of the action would not be right. Regardless of what stage of his life he would be in, the franchise made him a principal character for a reason, and he has garnered a devout fan base. Laurence Fishburne’s performance helped in selling audiences on the dystopian philosopher, so naturally there is some hesitation towards a recast in the Matrix sequel. With The Matrix 4 set to release by the end of 2021, it is likely that more details will come to light in the near future.