Why Keanu Reeves Is Back In The Matrix Resurrections

Keanu Reeves is back in the new Matrix movie. How is Neo still around?

By Tristan Zelden | Updated

keanu reeves

The trailer for The Matrix Resurrections brings up a plethora of questions for fans. Does it tie into the online video game? Who are some of these new faces? How come Carrie-Anne Moss (Jessica Jones) and Keanu Reeves (John Wick) are back as Trinity and Neo when they died in Revolutions? Well, we have somewhat of an answer to that last one as director Lana Wachowski (Sense8) weighed in on her decision to revive both characters for the long-awaited sequel.

Speaking at a panel of screenwriters and authors at the International Literature Festival Berlin, the director gave an unexpected emotional response. Her father died, then shortly after a friend, and then following up on that, her mother died. It was a part of her grieving process as she could not lean on her parents, but she could on her imagination and the two characters played by Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves.

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: ‘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.

Lana Wachowski

The title, Resurrections, makes more sense after hearing the filmmaker’s reasoning. Bringing back Keanu Reeves and his co-star is a way to cope and move forward from the deaths of her parents. The franchise has been symbolic of her and her sibling’s lives as it is a metaphor for being transgender, and it sounds like this sequel will reach even deeper into that idea along with other themes about grief and death.

The deaths that took place in the late 2010s took a toll on both Wachowskis. The directing duo split for the fourth Matrix as Lilly came out in deciding to opt-out of the Keanu Reeves sequel as it was like “going backward” as The Matrix was during a time where her parents were alive, and she had not come out or transitioned as transgender. Moving forward with other projects was a way to live her life as it is today, and not what it used to be.

Fans got the first look at the return of Keanu Reeves with the first trailer four days ago (September 9). It delivered on everything that should be expected with sunglass-wearing agents, slow-motion action, and plenty of blue and red pills. It also offered plenty of surprises with new faces and how it ties into the original trilogy that spanned from 1999 to 2003.

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Lana Wachowski is directing and co-writing the Keanu Reeves sequel. Alexsander Hemon and David Mitchell, who worked on Sense8 with the filmmaker, will make their feature-length debuts as they co-write with Wachowski.

Besides Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, the sci-fi blockbuster offers some heavy-hitters to grace the big screen. It stars Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Baywatch), Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter), and Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl). It will also feature Ellen Hollman (Love and Monsters), Christina Ricci (50 States of Fright), Daniel Bernhardt (Altered Carbon), and reprising her role from the original trilogy is Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham).

You can catch Keanu Reeves and his co-stars in the highly anticipated sequel on December 22. The film will be released on HBO Max and in theaters.