Did you see the trailer for The Matrix Resurrections? It’s been almost a week and I can’t stop thinking about it. How are Neo and Trinity alive? Where’s Morpheus? With so many unanswered questions already, Matrix 4 is going to have to do some heavy lifting — and that’s before you even consider the original trilogy.
The first three Matrix films might not be perfect, but they’re definitely canon. And that means Matrix 4 is going to have to solve one of the biggest mysteries of the trilogy: what the heck happened at the end of The Matrix Revolutions?
Luckily, one intriguing fan theory may already have the answer.
The Matrix 4 theory
Proposed on Reddit by u/gloamiemusic, this Matrix 4 plot prediction weaves together ideas from multiple stories to solve one key mystery: How is Neo alive?
The answer? He’s not. Instead, u/gloamiemusic argues that what we’re seeing in the Matrix Resurrections trailer is actually a different sort of Matrix, one created by humanity to teach a robot empathy. In the movie, we'd actually be watching a captured robot living out a simulated life as Neo.
It’s a cool idea pulled directly from Matriculated, a short animated filmed included in The Animatrix (the entire anthology is worth watching), but that’s actually not the most interesting part of this theory. That comes way earlier in the Reddit post, when u/gloamiemusic attempts to explain what happens after Revolutions.
What happened after Matrix 3?
It’s a question fans have debated for over a decade. The trilogy ends with Neo striking some sort of bargain with the machines and then dying. Then, the final scene shows two programs (the Architect and the Oracle) discussing some monumental change to the Matrix.
But what did the machines agree to in exchange for Neo’s help dealing with Agent Smith? The answer, according to u/gloamiemusic, is a very tenuous peace between humans and robots.
They theorize that the machines would give humanity the option to leave the Matrix if they want while also recognizing the city of Zion’s right to exist, but that freedom would also come with restrictions.
1. No more jacking into the Matrix unless you’re in one of our pods
2. No violent expansion of Zion
3. No attacking machines in the real world
In other words:
In essence, the “peace” would still be a military occupation and tensions would rise again
That’s where the plan to capture a robot and teach it empathy comes in, but again, that’s less interesting (and, to be honest, less likely) than the basic premise of this theory. The idea that whatever peace Neo achieved was limited at best and a military occupation at worst would not only provide answers to Revolutions’ unresolved ending, it would also turn Matrix 4 into a powerful political allegory about the rights of refugees and immigrants.
If humans can’t move freely, are they really free? To answer that question, Matrix Resurrections may solve the original trilogy’s biggest mystery of all.
The Matrix Resurrections premieres December 22 on HBO Max and in theaters.