When the fourth Matrix movie comes out this winter it will bring back a bunch of familiar faces to the iconic franchise. From the early looks, the movie looks magnificent, with a number of different callbacks to the earlier movies while also possibly offering a new set of problems for Neo, Trinity, and the other humans in their fight against the machines. But one notable face is missing from the original group. Laurence Fishburne isn’t reprising his role of Morpheus with the plans to use a much younger version of the character. That could change for The Matrix 5 though. Giant Freakin Robot has the exclusive from our trusted and proven source that Warner Bros. wants Fishburne back for that movie and we haven’t seen the last of his Morpheus yet.
It shocked many when it came out earlier in the year that Laurence Fishburne wasn’t going to be returning to the role of Morpheus when The Matrix Resurrections finally hit the big screens after the franchise’s nearly-eighteen year hiatus. Keanu Reeves was returning as Neo and Carrie Ann Moss was coming back as Trinity. But in terms of major leads, that’s where it ended for this next version with Laurence Fishburne not around this time. Instead, the plan was to work in Yahya Abdul-Mateen as a younger version of Morpheus, one who looks like he is tasked with, once again, onboarding this different version of Neo into the vagaries of the Matrix and its design.
It was disappointing to not see Laurence Fishburne back in the role, one he had made iconic through the first three movies. His version of Morpheus was as integral and important to the arc of the franchise as any other character involved. From his first appearance in The Matrix over the phone in conversations with an unsuspecting Neo, to the choice of red pill or blue, to the fight training protocols to his nearly ultimate sacrifice to save the world, Laurence Fishburne was brilliant in the part.
And in interviews, specifically one with Vulture last year, Laurence Fishburne was clearly bummed when letting on that he hadn’t been asked to reprise his role in The Matrix 4. Some of that could make sense on a narrative level. If this is, in fact, a different version of the Matrix considering Neo and Trinity are back, then it wasn’t going to make total sense to bring him back into the mix, opting for a younger version instead. That would be an easy explanation. The rougher one would be that they just wanted to move on from Laurence Fishburne. Sometimes that is the case with franchises. They can’t always hold on to every version of every character in the cast, especially with an updated story.
But with this latest news about Warner Bros, and possibly by proxy director and writer Lana Wachowski, wanting to bring back Laurence Fishburne then we could be looking at a convergence between this newest addition and the original trilogy. Depending on the outcome in The Matrix 4, we could see the stage set for a bigger showdown, one that could even include both versions of Morpheus. Time will tell on that one and some of these questions could be answered when The Matrix Resurrections hits screens this winter on December 22nd.