Filmmakers often see themselves in the part of the protagonists of the movies they make. For Lilly and Lana Wachowski, who directed The Matrix trilogy at a time before they underwent gender affirmation procedures in their personal lives, Neo's journey as the main character in The Matrix was always supposed to be a metaphor for transgender identity. Speaking to Netflix Film Club, Lilly Wachowski revealed that, in keeping with the metaphor, the character Switch was originally meant to be a man in the real world and a woman in the Matrix, until the studio stepped in.
"I'm glad that it has gotten out, that was the original intention. But the world wasn't quite ready yet at a corporate level. The corporate world wasn't ready for it. When you make movies and it's this public art form, I think any kind of art that you put into the universe there's a letting go process. Because it's entering into public dialogue. I like that there's an evolution process that we as human beings engage in art in a nonlinear way. We can always talk about something in new ways, and in new light."
In recent days, as interest in The Matrix has reignited following the announcement that The Matrix 4 is in production, the Wachowskis have been a lot more vocal about the allegories for transgender identity that have been hiding in plain sight within the franchise all along. Lilly Wachowskialso expressed her happiness that members of the transgender community have drawn strength from the series over the years:
"I'm glad that people are talking about the Matrix movies and the trans narrative. I love how meaningful those films are to trans people. The way that they come up to me and say, 'These movies saved my life,' because when you talk about transformation, specifically in the world of science fiction, which is just about imagination and world-building. The idea of the seemingly impossible becoming possible. I think that's why it speaks to them so much. And I'm grateful that I can be a part of throwing them a rope to help them along their journey."
Little is known about the plot of the upcoming The Matrix 4 at this point, aside from the fact that it is going to be a continuation of the earlier movies instead of a reboot, given the fact that Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Jada Pinkett Smith will be reprising their roles. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is rumored to be playing the role of a young Morpheus. Hugo Weaving's fan-favorite character Agent Smith was originally set to be a part of the movie, until Lana Wachowski changed her mind, according to Weaving.
Directed by Lana Wachowski, The Matrix 4 features a main cast comprising of Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessica Henwick and Jonathan Groff. The film is scheduled to arrive April 1, 2022.