The Matrix trilogy was a transgender allegory, according to the movie's writer and director.
To the surprise of leading man Keanu Reeves, who portrays lead character Neo in the movies, 'Matrix' co-writer and director Lilly Wachowski said in a video for Netflix Film Club that the movie was indeed a transgender allegory, which has long been a popular fan theory.
“I’m glad that it has gotten out that that was the original intention,” the filmmaker said.
Wachowski co-directed the film with sibling Lana, formerly known as Larry, both of whom have in recent years identified as transgender.
Reeves said in an interview with Yahoo Entertainment that he was not aware of those meanings in the film and Wachowski never discussed it with him.
“I never spoke to Lilly about that, she never conveyed that to me,” he said.
“I think 'The Matrix' films are profound, and I think that allegorically, a lot of people in different versions of the film can speak to that. And for Lilly to come out and share that with us, I think is cool.”
The first movie in 'The Matrix' series came out in 1999, which depicts a dystopian future in which human beings are unknowingly trapped inside 'The Matrix,' a machine-engineered reality that uses their bodies as the source of energy.
"Fans have speculated about what gender identity intentions the Wachowskis had in mind for the series, which kicked off with 1999’s 'The Matrix' and was followed by 2003’s 'The Matrix Reloaded' and 'The Matrix Revolutions,' since at least 2012 when Lana came out as transgender. Lilly followed suit in 2016," Yahoo reported Monday.
"Some of the more prevalent theories pointed to the fact that Reeves’ hero lives a double life as [a] computer programmer and hacker, that his chosen name is 'Neo,' and that the red pill that awakens reality within the Matrix could symbolize red estrogen pills."
The word neo, which is used as a prefix, means "new" or a "revived form of" something.
“I’m glad people are talking about 'The Matrix' movies with a trans narrative,” Lilly Wachowski said in the Netflix video.
“I love how meaningful those films are to trans people and the way that they come up to me say, ‘Those movies saved my life.’ Because when you talk about transformation, specifically in the world of science fiction, which is just about imagination and world-building and the idea of the seemingly impossible becoming possible, that’s why it speaks to them so much.”
Filming for 'The Matrix 4' began earlier this year but was shut down as a result of state lockdowns sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. The movie is set for release in 2022.