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The Matrix Resurrections’ Yahya Abdul-Mateen II On Playing Morpheus After Laurence Fishburne

Yahya Abdul-Matteen II in The Matrix Resurrections
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

After a year of delayed movies, studios are back in the habit of releasing major blockbusters. And for fans of sci-fi there are few upcoming titles more exciting than The Matrix Resurrections. Moviegoers were thrilled to learn that Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss would be back, although there have been some casting changes. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is playing Morpheus, and recently opened up about taking on the mantle from Laurence Fishburne.

Laurence Fishburne starred as Morpheus in all three installments of the original Matrix trilogy. But as the 60 year-old actor revealed, he wasn’t asked to return for Resurrections. That honor goes to recent Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who opened up about continuing Fishburne’s legacy. As he put it,

Laurence already did what had to be done. I think what the script provided was a new narrative and some new opportunities that did make room within the Matrix universe for a new Morpheus.

Well, there you have it. It certainly seems like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has a ton of respect for what Laurence Fishburne did with the role of Morpheus across three different movies. But Lana Wachowski seems to be telling a different story for The Matrix Resurrections. It remains to be seen how this recasting will play out on the big screen.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen’s comments to EW come in a new interview that’s all about his upcoming role in The Matrix Resurrections. He’s got some very big shoes to fill, and fans can’t wait to see the Aquaman and Watchmen star join another beloved franchise. Abdul-Mateen certainly is pulling off Morpheus’ signature sunglasses in the first mysterious trailer for the sequel.

Indeed, the majority of the cast of The Matrix Resurrections is made up of newcomers to Lana Wachowski’s iconic franchise. But while most are seemingly playing new characters, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has the distinction of stepping into an established character. In that same interview he explained his continued reverence for the franchise’s past, saying:

It's not really my job to try to duplicate or try to challenge that history. If anything, I step into it because I appreciate the history.

Given how much The Matrix has influenced the film world, it’s almost impossible not to appreciate the history of the sci-if property. Countless movies have emulated the franchise’s signature cinematography, and it should be interesting to see what new concepts Lana Wachowski introduces in The Matrix Resurrections

The first trailer for The Matrix Resurrections basically broke the internet, and certainly piqued interest about the franchise’s return to the big screen. And while some trailers are known for giving too much away, the plot is still a complete mystery after this first footage. Although one thing is clear: there’s a new Morpheus in town.

The Matrix Resurrections will arrive in theaters and HBO Max on December 22nd, 2021. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.