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Witness the Return of Neo in the Trailer for The Matrix Resurrections

Keanu Reeves is back in the long-awaited, visually stunning fourth entry in The Matrix saga... and he looks like John Wick

“Everything that has a beginning has an end,” foretold the Oracle in 2003's The Matrix Revolutions – a line that appeared to suggest the story was over. Yet, here we are almost two decades later and The Matrix Resurrections is an actual, tangible thing. Better yet, the new trailer to one of the most eagerly awaited blockbusters of the year (ever?) has finally dropped, and… wow. Based on this footage, it has the potential to be something really special – a dizzying, brain-frying visual feast, if not a little too reminiscent of the first film. Check it out, immediately:

So what is going on, exactly? Your guess is as good as any. What we can gather is that Thomas Anderson (AKA Neo), or at least an incarnation of the character, is living a normal life but for some reason retains vague memories of having experienced the events of the first three Matrix films. Older and wearier, he one day bumps into Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and the two have a moment – a mutual feeling of shared experience. Meanwhile, familiar events, mostly from the first film, seem to be playing out, albeit with different characters. Essentially, it all looks like a crazy meta-exploration of the story of the original.

Elsewhere, the trailer forms a medley classic Matrix iconography: insane stunts with lots of cartwheels and backflips, coloured pills, melting glass, what appear to be a new batch of agents, and a character purposely designed to evoke Laurence Fishburne's iconic Morpheus (played here by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), but who – as far as we can tell – isn't quite him. Is this same narrative simply destined to play out over and over again? That would be very Matrix-y.

One of the more exciting aspects of this new footage, of course, is witnessing the return of both Reeves and Moss, whose characters – spoiler! – perished at the end of 2003's The Matrix Revolution, but have returned in new forms (Reeves sporting a look more akin to his John Wick character). Alas, we are still mourning the loss of Fishburne from the franchise. Or are they merely saving the actor's return for just before the credits?

The Matrix Resurrections marks the first time that Lana Wachowski, who wrote this film alongside David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, has stepped behind the camera for a Matrix entry without Lilly Wachowski at her side. Alongside Reeves and Moss, it also stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Christina Ricci and Jada Pinkett Smith, who reprises her role as Niobe.

Despite lukewarm to negative reviews for both its second and third chapters, The Matrix franchise remains one of the most influential film series of all time and an unstoppable reference point in pop culture. Say what you will about the Wachowskis, but they're never boring, always innovating and willing to take big risks. In other words, this is one pill we're desperate to swallow.

The Matrix Resurrections is scheduled for release on 22 December 2021.

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