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Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix Resurrections: Is ‘Matrix Online’ Game Canon?

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Laurence Fishburne is noticeably missing from The Matrix Resurrections (aka Matrix 4.) The movie actually explains what happened to his Morpheus. But many fans are wondering if this means The Matrix Online game is canon or not.

This article has spoilers for the new Matrix movie.

Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus Is No Longer Alive

It’s safe to say that Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus is no longer alive by the time The Matrix Resurrections takes place. Although they never come right out and say that he’s dead, they do everything but spell it out in the movie. First, the movie takes place 60 years after Matrix Reloaded. Niobe is still alive, but she’s very old. Everyone else that Neo and Trinity knew is dead and long gone. So it’s unlikely that even if tragedy hadn’t befallen him in some way, that Morpheus even could still be alive at this point in time.

The movie does explain a bit more about what happened to him after Neo and Trinity’s “deaths.” We’re told that he was elected High Chair of the Zion Council. At some point after this, Zion fell. Zion believed it was always “us versus the machines.” However, some machines became sentient and, because of Neo’s example, believed that they too could break out of their own “Matrix” of sorts and achieve autonomy and freedom. So some did break free and joined with humanity to form a new city called IO.

Meanwhile, there was a serious problem with power becoming scarce, and a machine war broke out. The Oracle warned that a “new power” was beginning to rise. It’s never explained what this power was (though I’m going to guess that maybe it was the Analyst.) Morpheus believes so strongly in Neo’s prophecy that he refuses to believe the new power is actually happening.

We’re not told any more about Morpheus beyond this, except that IO has a statue to him and he is long gone. I’m guessing some dialogue was cut from the movie explaining his death, since the movie was already long and the conversation about Morpheus seemed to end a bit abruptly. But most viewers are assuming he somehow died when Zion fell, still clinging to his faith in Neo.

The old Morpheus wasn’t reborn into the new Morpheus, portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Rather, the new Morpheus is actually an algorithm that combined traits of the old Morpheus and traits of Smith. He was created by Thomas in a sandbox separate from the Matrix, but over time and with numerous iterations he evolved, gained sentience and autonomy of his own, and chose to take a “red pill” to escape.

How Does This All Bode for the Matrix Online Game?

So is the  new movie acknowledging that the Matrix Online game is canon or not? It’s not clearly addressed in the movie, since Morpheus’ exact cause of death (or even if he truly died) isn’t shared. I’m leaning toward no, it’s not canon, because I don’t believe he was named High Chair of the Zion Council in the game. However, others disagree with me.

The Matrix Online was an MMORPG that was supposed to continue the trilogy’s storyline, Wikipedia noted. It was released in 2005 and then was shut down in 2009. In the game, Morpheus died. But his story was different than what we were presented with in Matrix 4.

On Reddit, user u/runjinrun explained that Morpheus was murdered in the game. Here’s the scene when Morpheus died in the game. We’re told that Morpheus tried to pressure the machines into giving Neo’s body back to Zion by planting “code bombs” disrupting the Matrix’s code. It didn’t work, and the Merovingian hired a masked man to kill Morpheus.

Another Redditor pointed out that Morpheus may not have “technically” died in that scene. The Matrix Wiki notes that there were appearances of Morpheus’s signal in Megacity, even after his “death.”

On Reddit, fans have been fairly certain that the game could ever be canon. They point out that there are other parts of the game that might be troublesome to turn canon, so it was unlikely the movie would have gone that route anyway.

However, Slashfilm reported that they believe The Matrix 4 honored the game and allowed it to be canon. They simply write that because The Matrix Online’s storyline had the machines holding Neo’s body after his death, and Morpheus wanting his body back, the storyline of The Matrix Resurrections honors this by having the machines indeed holding Neo’s body all this time, and having Morpheus dead in this storyline too.

On Reddit, Redditor Malfetus also believes the movie made the game canon. They wrote: “Morpheus dying, machines holding Neo’s body, machine faction civil war, fall of New Zion, end of original Matrix all happened in MXO. The film didn’t really contradict any of it to my knowledge, and reaffirmed a good chunk of it…”

However, Redditor HolyCarbohydrates disagreed slightly, writing: “The way Morpheus died was eluded to be different than MXO but at least his death was addressed…”

What do you think?

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    Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. She's a licensed attorney and has a master's in science and technology journalism. You can reach her at [email protected].

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