The Matrix Resurrections Co-Writers Reveal The New Morpheus Was Planned All Along

Warning: This article includes frank discussion of spoilers from "The Matrix Resurrections."

"The Matrix" series has always been as cerebral as it is action-packed, with a penchant for leaving viewers with more than a few lingering questions after the credits have rolled. The Wachowski sisters have created an incredibly imaginative world, but in the franchise's latest entry, "The Matrix Resurrections," it can be tough to tell where creative choices end and practical ones begin. For example, when we see Morpheus, he's no longer played by Laurence Fishburne, but instead embodied by "Candyman" actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. What's the deal with that?

Morpheus 2.0 Was Always In The Blueprint

While viewers may have jumped to conclusions about Fishburne's willingness to reprise the role, the movie's co-writers, David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, make it clear that there's more to this chapter of Morpheus' story than a simple casting decision. In an interview with Gizmodo, Hemon simply says that "a new Morpheus was there from the beginning."

The plot of the latest "Matrix" film takes place 60 years after the third entry, "The Matrix Revolutions," despite being filmed fewer than 20 years later. While Carrie-Anne Moss' and Keanu Reeves' characters have been in relative stasis, preserved in pods, Abdul-Mateen portrays an alternate version of Morpheus, just as Jonathan Groff is an alternate version of Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). The rules for which characters age and which change seem to be inconsistent, but according to Mitchell and Hemon, it was mostly planned this way.

But There Was A Role Written For Another Actor

"We knew that Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss would be involved. Without them, this thing would not have been possible," Hemon says, indicating that Trinity and Neo were the two characters filmmakers were most interested in capturing via original cast members. Hemon goes on to say that there was a character who might have been written with a different actor in mind than the one who ended up on screen, but they always knew that could be the case.

"I've learned that moviemaking, it's a world of contingency," Hemon says, revealing that the pair did write a role "for someone we thought would play [it] and then it was not possible." All signs indicate that this character wasn't Morpheus, but Agent Smith, as Hemon tells Gizmodo that Weaving was at one point in early talks to return. "It was not entirely resolved," Hemon says, but adds that the nature of "The Matrix" universe and this entry in particular make it possible for different actors to step into roles. "Agent Smith would have been different in some ways, no matter who played it," he says. Personally, I think Groff was a great addition to the cast, playing his part with a sinister edge viewers couldn't quite place until his identity was revealed.

Now that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's presence in "The Matrix Resurrections" is done being questioned, we can get back to what we should've been doing all along: appreciating his obvious star power. In addition to his recent turn as Morpheus, fans of Abdul-Mateen II have upcoming projects to look forward to. He's set to appear in both Michael Bay's "Ambulance" and the DC sequel "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" in 2022.

"The Matrix Resurrections" is currently in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.