Young Morpheus Is A Program Designed To Trap The One

After appearing in the first trailer for The Matrix 4, a young Morpheus is confirmed to appear in Resurrections, portrayed by series newcomer Yahya Abdul-Mateen II rather than Laurence Fishburne. Speculation had been rife that Abdul-Meteen might be playing a version of the hero from the original Matrix trilogy, but any details about the movie were kept under wrap until the trailer was released. Even then, the trailer depicted Abdul-Meteen’s character, who had similar clothing, demeanor, and even offered Neo a red and blue pill – but it wasn’t until the actor himself posted on Instagram with a photo of himself in character with a caption to confirm his role.


Coming 18 years after The Matrix Revolutions, which wrapped up the trilogy, anticipation has been hot for Resurrections, which is bringing back many of its original cast for the new installment. This includes both human characters such as Keanu Reeves as Neo, Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, and Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe, as well as “program” characters – constructs of the Matrix – such as Lambert Wilson as the Merovingian, and more. New cast members in unannounced roles include Jonathan Groff, Priyanka Chopra Jones, and Neil Patrick Harris. When news of the returning stars landed, fans of the original were ecstatic, but looked for news about Laurence Fishburne’s return as Morpheus – to be denied by the actor without a reason.

Related: How Young Morpheus Can Appear In The Matrix 4 (Despite Being A Sequel)

While confirmation about why the character of Morpheus was recast for The Matrix 4 with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will likely only come with the release of the movie, there are hints that could suggest why a younger actor is taking on the role. It could be that the movie contains flashbacks to Morpheus’ youth, and his awakening and unplugging, or it could be that the new Matrix has a different form of time, which means Neo and Trinity are older than Morpheus at the time the movie is set. Or it could be that Abdul-Mateen’s character is a form of Morpheus, and not the one audiences know – but rather a program constructed by the Matrix to trap new versions of The One.

Morpheus’ Recasting As A Younger Character Is Unexplained

It’s likely that if Morpheus’ recasting were simply due to conflict or pay disputes, there would be some word of this going around. But there is no apparent reason for the change, with even Laurence Fishburne on record saying he just was not invited to return. This all suggests the change has something to do with the plot. One idea is that Morpheus in The Matrix Resurrections, while similar to the character viewers know and love, is in fact a program designed to trap The One – Neo, aka Thomas Anderson – and prevent him from causing further harm to the Machines, or furthering humanity’s cause in any way.

The third film in the original trilogy saw Neo reach a new truce between humanity and the Machines, the Matrix rebooted – as it has been many times before, each time with a new “One” – and winning the human-Machine war. The aftermath was not explored, but with a new Matrix, there is a new “One” and it stands to reason that the new Matrix would be designed with extra protections in mind – such as traps for Neo. Morpheus would indeed be an effective trap for Thomas Anderson, having succeeded before in capturing his mind and freeing him from the Matrix. Using a program modeled after the real Morpheus would be an almost sure-fire way to prevent Neo from once again breaking free of the Matrix.

Previously Recast Characters Have Only Included Programs

The Matrix Oracle Recast

The Matrix series has recast characters before – but only programs, not human characters. One key character in particular was recast between The Matrix and Reloaded: The Oracle. First played by Gloria Foster, who brought tremendous heart to the first two movies, the character was taken over by Mary Alice for The Matrix Revolutions when Foster sadly died. The recast character was a program built within the Matrix. Rumors and theories abound about the characters in Resurrections – prime among them being Jonathan Groff’s character potentially being a recast Agent Smith, originally played by Hugo Weaving, and Priyanka Chopra Jones’ character being Sati, originally played by Tanveer K. Atwal. These two characters are also programs within the Matrix. If the theories about their identities in the new movie turn out to be correct, the only major characters to be recast in the series are all programs. This could hint that the new young Morpheus in The Matrix Resurrections is also – or is now – a program.

Related: Why The Matrix Recast The Oracle For Revolutions

The Matrix Has Been Rebooted, Likely Designed With Extra Protection

Neo/Thomas Anderson seeing visions of Matrix coding in The Matrix Resurrections

At the end of The Matrix Revolutions, The Architect (Helmut Bakaitis) and the Oracle meet and discuss the human-Machine truce, saying that the peace might last for some time, but will probably only last “as long as it can.” This indicates that the Machines know that there may again be resistance to their control and operation of the Matrix. It only makes sense that when the Matrix was rebooted, there would be further protections added to its design to increase Machine control. With the knowledge that The One was a known quantity, planned for within each reboot of the Matrix – as confirmed by The Architect to Neo in Reloaded – it makes sense that the Machines would include extra protections to ensure they have the best chance of maintaining the status quo, or increasing their control when it suited them.

Of course, Neo and Trinity both died at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, so the question lingers of how they might be resurrected for this new installment. Morpheus, in his original state, survived. If Neo and Trinity are once again plugged into the Matrix, potentially revived by the Machines as part of Neo’s deal, and Morpheus is not, there being a difference between them makes sense. And given Morpheus’ success at convincing and unplugging both Neo and Trinity, a program in the guise of their one-time mentor and hero makes complete sense. While fans might be devastated that Laurence Fishburne, the original Morpheus, may not be announced as returning, this theory has a further glimmer of hope: If the young, recast Morpheus within the Matrix as played by Yahya Abdul-Meteen II is a program, the original may be in the real world, awaiting to meet Neo and Trinity in person, just in some unannounced capacity – but confirmation will have to wait until The Matrix 4 is released in December 2021.

Next: The Matrix 4 Theory: How & Why Every Character Returns

  • The Matrix Resurrections (2021)Release date: Dec 22, 2021

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Young Morpheus Is A Program Designed To Trap The One