The foundational cornerstone of The Matrix is that humanity lost its war against the machines. But what if they didn’t? The Matrix Resurrections has the opportunity to flip the entire sci-fi franchise on its head, and an intriguing new fan theory reveals how the Wachowskis may have already planted the seeds in The Animatrix for a mind-blowing Matrix 4 twist.
The theory — On Reddit, u/sturmovic recently offered an interesting interpretation of the Animatrix story “The Second Renaissance,” which recounts how robots rose up against humans and eventually enslaved their old masters. Specifically, the theory focuses on Operation Dark Storm, which is the official name for humanity’s seemingly terrible idea to permanently black out the sky as a way to cut the robots off from their source of solar power.
But maybe that’s not what really happened. Instead, u/sturmovic argues that Operation Dark Storm could have been a smokescreen tactic to hide humanity’s true plan: space colonization.
The move would make total sense if the human leadership had no real intention of winning the war on Earth at that point and enacted the protocol to cover for a colony on the Moon or elsewhere in the Solar system. Given how long the war dragged on for, there'd have been plenty of time to turbocharge a space colonization programme.
The machines win Earth as a worthless barren prize, and are jailed in it for the rest of eternity.
In case you’re wondering, the Machine War lasted from 2139 to 2199. (In The Matrix, Morpheus tells Neo he believes it’s roughly the year 2199, but as the Architect reveals in Reloaded, it’s actually much later, closer to 2699.)
Anyway, the point is that based on this timeline, humanity probably would have had time to get some people into space as a last-ditch effort to survive. If the robots didn’t notice (and that’s a pretty big if), then blotting out the sky would be a clever way to keep the machines from ever realizing what happened or trying to go after those survivors.
In The Animatrix, after humanity loses the Machine War and is forced to sign a treaty at the United Nations, we see what looks like a massive explosion destroy the UN headquarters and everyone in it. According to u/sturmovic, this explosion could have been triggered by humans as a way to cover up the evidence of their plan and wipe out anyone who knew the truth.
The Matrix 4... in space?
As much as this is just a fun fan theory to explore, it’s possible it could be vital to the plot of Matrix Resurrections. After all, if there’s a thriving human civilization on the Moon or Mars, it’s possible they could be humanity’s real last chance. The fact that The Matrix 4 is happening at all suggests the machines quickly broke whatever truce they agreed to at the end of Revolutions. Maybe the humans on the Moon found out and decided to send an army back down to Earth to help out.
That may sound a little out there, even for the Matrix, but it’s not impossible. At the very least, Matrix 4 could confirm this theory by simply referencing the fact that humans managed to colonize outer space before the machines took over. Just that might be enough to give Neo and Trinity a sliver of hope when they need it the most.
The Matrix Resurrections premieres December 22 in theaters and on HBO Max.