Fans of the Matrix Trilogy were amazed and thrilled to know that the franchise would be returning for a 4th installment. On August 20, 2019, Warner Bros. officially announced the film, confirming the return of the film’s stars, Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss, and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Noticeably missing was one of the film’s pivotal characters to the story, Laurence Fishburne.
Fishburne played the role of Morpheus, captain of the ship Nebuchadnezzar, which is a hovercraft of the human forces of the last human city, Zion. The character and Fishburne’s portrayal became an iconic figure in pop culture – with Morpheus, arguably, standing out as one of the most recognizable characters from The Matrix franchise next to Neo himself. Keanu Reeves was asked about his reprisal of Neo’s role, and he explained that he returned due to the “beautiful script” written by director Lana Wachowski. “Lana Wachowski wrote a beautiful script and a wonderful story that resonated with me,” he says. “That’s the only reason to do it. To work with her again is just amazing. It’s been really special, and the story has, I think some meaningful things to say and that we can take some nourishment from.”
Trinity, played by actress Carrie Anne Moss, will also be returning to the film. Speaking on her return, Moss says, “I never thought that it would happen,” echoing the sentiments of those that also felt the same. “It was never on my radar at all. When it was brought to me in the way it was brought to me, with incredible depth and all of the integrity and artistry that you could imagine, I was like, ‘This is a gift.’ It was just very exciting.”
Who did not get that invite extended to them was Laurence Fishburne. After the film’s announcement, it was noticed that he was not present in the conversations. There were reports that his role might be recast to accommodate a portrayal of a younger version of Morpheus. Actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, recently nominated for an Emmy for his work in the HBO limited series “Watchmen,” is also cast in the film. Many are speculating he was cast as a replacement for Morpheus. However, there are no confirmations about whether he will be replaced with a younger portrayal of the character.
During an interview this week with New York Magazine, Fishburne confirms, “No. I have not been invited. Maybe that will make me write another play. I wish them well. I hope it’s great.” He may not be the only original character who doesn’t have involvement in the film, but his pivotal role was important to the franchise and fans alike. Perhaps the filmmakers and writers may be going in a different direction, but viewers will have to see when the film releases on April 1, 2022.