One of the most surprising things about The Matrix Resurrections when it was first announced was the news that Lilly Wachowski wouldn’t be returning to direct the project alongside her sister Lana, with whom she wrote and directed the first three films. Though Lilly gave her sister and the rest of the movie’s creative team her blessing, she ultimately chose not to come back for the fourth instalment for a number of reasons including her gruelling work schedule.
In addition to her own professional obligations, Lilly having recently come out as transgender, and the passing of both of her parents five weeks apart, also factored into her decision not to be a part of Resurrections. For Lilly, Resurrections represented a significant part of her previous life that she wasn’t particularly interested in stepping back into, which is more than understandable on multiple levels.
In the time since, the Hollywood hype machine’s been hard at work getting the public into a frenzy ahead of The Matrix Resurrections’ premiere this fall. The fact that this is the first Matrix not to be crafted by both of its sibling co-creators has fallen out of the news cycle. But the topic recently came up in a roundabout way at this year’s Berlin International Literature Festival, where Lana Wachowski spoke on a panel about screenwriting.
While Lana didn’t expand on her sister’s reasons for moving on from the Matrix franchise, she did speak about how their parents’ deaths also impacted her feelings about Resurrections and her decision to make Neo and Trinity a core part of the new story.
“My brain has always reached into my imagination and one night, I was crying and I couldn’t sleep, and my brain exploded this whole story,” Wachowski said. “And I couldn’t have my mum and dad, yet suddenly I had Neo and Trinity, arguably the two most important characters in my life.”
The Matrix Revolutions’ first trailer features a couple of glimpses of Neo (Keanu Reeves) within the Matrix where he encounters Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), who seemingly doesn’t remember him outside of a vague sense of déjà vu when they first meet. Though at least some of the past comes back to Trinity and Neo — who also doesn’t fully recall the events of the previous movies — the trailer definitely makes Resurrections seem like it could feel like a soft reboot meant to remind audiences what it felt like to see The Matrix for the first time. For Lana Wachowski, bringing Neo and Trinity back was both cathartic and healing.
“It was immediately comforting to have these two characters alive again, and it’s super simple,” Wachowski reasoned. “You can look at it and say: ‘OK, these two people die and OK, bring these two people back to life and oh, doesn’t that feel good?’ Yeah, it did! It’s simple, and this is what art does and that’s what stories do, they comfort us.”
The Matrix Resurrections hits theatres and HBO Max on December 22.