The new trailer for The Matrix: Resurrections is spectacular but, boy, does it leave us with a lot of questions.
Lana Wachowski resurrects the spectre of the groundbreaking sci-fi action franchise, restoring Keanu Reeves in the role of Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss in the role of Trinity. Quite how these two characters are alive again is the least of our concerns.
There are all sorts of intriguing philosophical questions to be asked of the new trailer, in-between the stunning-looking action sequences and the awesome orchestral cover of Rage Against the Machine. Take the red pill and come with us down the rabbit hole as we take a closer look at the new preview.
1. Have the machines pushed the reset button on the Matrix?
The new trailer for Resurrections specifically invokes the legacy and iconography of the original Matrix movie, from key cast members to memorable imagery like the blue and red pills. The notion of the past being an active entity makes us question whether a grand reset of the Matrix has effectively sent Neo back to square one. He's back where he was at the start of the 1999 movie, embracing the world as it is, but suspecting that something is wrong beneath the surface. How has this happened, and why?
2. Is Jonathan Groff playing the new Agent Smith?
The star of Frozen, Hamilton and Mindhunters isn't just playing a bland psychotherapist. As past and present criss-cross in the new trailer, we get the sense that Groff's character is a resurrected version of Neo's old nemesis, Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). The intercutting between Groff and Weaving, plus repetition of chilling imagery such as Neo's sealed mouth during the first film's interrogation sequence, make us suspect as much. Groff even gets to bellow Smith's signature phrase: "Mr Anderson!"
3. Has Trinity taken Neo's place?
In the first Matrix movie, it was incumbent upon Trinity to tell Neo that the world isn't all it seems. She first met him during a nightclub sequence after he was impelled to "follow the white rabbit" (i.e. a tattoo). That same white rabbit iconography was reiterated in the first Resurrections trailer with a statement of Jefferson Airplane's song of the same name – again, there's a potent sense of the past coming back. In Resurrections, the roles seem to have been reversed: Neo is now the first to discover that the world is a simulation, and he must liberate former lover Trinity from her incarceration by the machines. It's a neat way of inverting the original premise and implies that Trinity will be pivotal in the narrative.
4. How fundamental are Neo's memories to the storyline?
There's an emphasis on Neo awakening his dormant memories in the latest Resurrections trailer. We see him located in the all-white training simulation, to which he responds, "I remember this." This was the room in which the older Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) revealed the terrifying truth about the Matrix. The younger Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) seems to know that Neo has these latent memories and abilities locked inside him – how he coaxes them out, and what effect they have on the storyline, remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, however. Neo "still knows kung-fu", which might spell bad news for Jonathan Groff's antagonist.
5. Is there a new war between humanity and the machines?
If the appearance of the younger Morpheus is head-scrambling, we're even more confused by the appearance of an aged Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith). While we grapple with the concept of some characters having Benjamin Buttoned themselves (i.e. got younger), and others having aged seemingly traditionally, we're struck by one line in particular. Niobe alludes to "a war", the consequences of which have seemingly rippled through the Matrix and subconsciously alerted Neo. What is this war, what will be its impact on Neo, and why is it vital that Trinity be involved? So many questions for a two and half minute trailer.