‘The Matrix: Resurrections’: Laurence Fishburne Admits to Have ‘Not Been Invited’ to Play Morpheus in ‘Matrix 4’

When Warner Bros announced the revival of one of the biggest movie franchises of all time, The Matrix, for a fourth installment, it sent fans into rapture. Several cast members from the original trilogy are set to reprise their roles in The Matrix 4.

Laurence Fishburne looking at the camera in front of a blue background
Laurence Fishburne | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

You can expect Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Lambert Wilson, and Jada Pinkett Smith back in this December 22, 2021 film according to the Collider. However, some of the big names we’ve come to associate with the Matrix-verse won’t be coming back – at least not in The Matrix 4.

The Holy Trinity of Keanu Reeves (as Neo), Carrie-Anne Moss (as Trinity), and Laurence Fishburne (as Morpheus) is no more. It’s not only our favorite stoic Zion operative who won’t be involved but also Hugo Weaving (who plays the villainous Agent Smith) and director/writer Lilly Wachowski. Let’s look at what fate befalls our heroic Morpheus.

Why we won’t be seeing Fishburne in ‘The Matrix 4’

The Matrix 4 is almost out, and with its launch date not far from the horizon, light is being shed on a few of the vaguer elements. Chief among these is the mystery surrounding a younger Morpheus.

The rumor that Michael B Jordan of the Creed fame would be taking on the enigmatic persona was squashed with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II from August 2021’s Candyman, set to be the new Morpheus.

Director/writer Lana Wachowski’s new vision has Laurence Fishburne excluded from the project. In a conversation with Vulture, the Black-ish star revealed the following about his involvement in this fourth iteration:

“No. I have not been invited. Maybe that will make me write another play. I’m looking for the blessing in that. I wish them well. I hope it’s great.”

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Fishburne, always being the gentleman, only had positive things to say about The Matrix 4. He had this to say:

“I have not been asked to join them, which is fine. I am hopeful that it will be wonderful and it will satisfy audiences and that people will love it.”  

IndieWire reports that he didn’t know anything about the recasting of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as the fan-favorite character. 

Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus

We had Dumbledore in the Harry Potter fantasy series and Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, preparing the young hero to take on his destiny. Morpheus plays a similar role in The Matrix trilogy. This version of the protagonist, played by Fishburne, was rescued from the Matrix when he was young and was brought up in Zion.

He grew up to become a resistance leader in the city’s war against the Machines and is captain of the hovercraft, the Nebuchadnezzar. He comes across the Oracle within the Matrix, who prophesies he’ll discover, The One – the savior of both humanity and the machines.

He dedicates his life to the discovery of the human whose destiny is to end the Machine War. While the introduction of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the fourth iteration alludes to dynamism in the franchise’s new direction, it’s understandable why a lot of fans will miss Fishburne’s unforgettable rendition of the character.

Morpheus, as played by Fishburne, only became Neo’s peer later in the plot; for most of our young hero’s coming-to-age story, he was a sage and a guide. He allayed Neo’s self-doubt and grounded him. Hopefully, we’ll get to see the wise and collected leader we’ve come to know and respect in the new, younger Morpheus.

About alternate universes and time-travel

The near-3-minute trailer of The Matrix 4 alias The Matrix: Resurrections rightly but frustratingly leaves the fans with more questions than answers. Morpheus presents a conundrum that’s symptomatic of a change in the way we’ve perceived the Matrix-verse until this point.

Theories about alternate universes and time travel find fertile ground to thrive upon thanks to the fates of Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus from the movie, The Matrix Revolutions and the game, The Matrix Online. In the penultimate act of sacrifice, Neo gave his life to bring down Agent Smith and broker peace between the Machines and humankind. His body was then taken by the machines.

In the game, Morpheus grows weary at the Machines’ stewardship of Neo’s body and demands it back. As you’d expect, Morpheus decided to use acts of terrorism to answer the Machines’ non-compliance. It eventually led to his death by the hand of the masked figure, only known as the Assassin. With Morpheus very much alive in the new movie, albeit much younger, many fans suspect space-time manipulation as being the reason why.

Our soon-to-be Zionist revolutionary, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, had this to say in conversation with Entertainment Weekly:

“This is definitely a different iteration of the character. I play a character who’s definitely aware of the history of The Matrix [and] the history of Morpheus. This character is on a journey of self-discovery. There’s a lot in our story that’s about growth, defining your own path. Morpheus isn’t exempt from that.”

He further went on to say:

“What the viewers will come to understand is that there are many rules of The Matrix. Age, appearance, the things we identify as real, can be manipulated in that world. The Matrix is where anything is possible.”

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