The Matrix Resurrections trailer doesn’t play coy: Neo and Trinity are back. How they are back, though, is not entirely clear — and probably won’t be clear until the film actually comes out this December. But the why they are back, why writer/director Lana Wachowski wanted to make a new Matrix movie for the first time in almost 20 years, and why it features the return of the classic characters played by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss instead of rebooting the property with a new cast has been revealed.

Wachowski explained the motivations behind Neo and Trinity’s surprising return at a recent panel at the International Literature Festival Berlin (via ScreenRant). Again, this doesn’t explain the in-story reasons why Neo and Trinity are back. But it does explain why Lana Wachowski was driven to return to the franchise just a few years after Lilly Wachowski (who did not work on The Matrix Resurrections) said on record that a new Matrix would be a “particularly repelling idea in these times.”

Lana Wachowski said...

My dad died, then this friend died, then my mom died. I didn’t really know how to process that kind of grief. I hadn't experienced it that closely ... You know their lives are going to end and yet it was still really hard. 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. And I couldn’t have my mom and dad, yet suddenly I had Neo and Trinity, arguably the two most important characters in my life. It was immediately comforting to have these two characters alive again, and it’s super simple. You can look at it and say: ‘Okay, these two people die and okay, 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.

While Neo and Trinity died in The Matrix Revolutions, the franchise had dropped hints that the characters could return as far back as the original Matrix from 1999, where dialogue made oblique references to getting “another life” and to the general concept of reincarnation. When you rewatch the old movies with the new ones in mind, it’s not too shocking that they’re back.

The Matrix Resurrections is scheduled to premiere in theaters and debut on HBO Max on December 22, 2021. You can watch the panel below.

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