That Time 'The Matrix' Officially Killed Morpheus Without Fanfare
If you've watched the trailer for Matrix Resurrections, then it's likely you're reeling from a very serious lack of Morpheus. Well, it seems like his shell is there, because who else would have the nose dexterity to pull off those glasses, but he's played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. That's because director Lana Wachowski straight-up didn't invite Fishburne to reprise the role. It sucks, but what if we were to tell you that there's a bonkers-yet-canonical reason Lana can totally use as an excuse for the snub?
Welcome to the desert of official fan-fiction. Nearly 20 years ago, when The Matrix was still hot, Warner Brothers made a tie-in game that wasn't either the underwhelming Enter The Matrix or the unnecessary Path Of Neo. It was the clunky The Matrix: Online, a game that, all things considered, seemed like an easy home run. It wasn't. While it did come out before World Of Warcraft, the game that made all previous (and most of the post) MMOs feel inept, it still had the merit of falling on its own.
To keep people interested in The Matrix after the trilogy concluded, Warner Brothers pushed to make fans believe that The Matrix Online (or MxOw, for all six of them) is canonical in The Matrix universe. And while transferring the plot from a film series to a shoddy video game is a pretty wacky move, it's one at least pretty in line with the storytelling the last two films had gotten everyone used to.
They then made a big plot move; just a few months after the release of the game, they killed off Morpheus. We're going to need you to ignore the problem with trying to keep your series appealing to your fans (now 3 of them) by murdering the only character anyone still cared about and focus on the how -- because it's even dumber.
A Cyber-terrorist who doesn't like humans nor machines comes out of a vent and does Morpheus in with something called magic super bullets.
Normal bullets wouldn't have done the trick because the nu-canon introduced "Jack-Out," a non-sexual mechanism that merely disconnects people who die in The Matrix instead of killing them. That worked to make the new Matrix feel more like the game it had become but wouldn't allow for the death of anyone in a way that's not ultra contrived.
It's true that WB, just like Disney before them, could erase all this dumb crap from canon, but nothing will take away the fact that Morpheus' dumbass death took place in a video game and remained canon for over 18 years. For comparison's sake, that time Chewbacca died because telekinetic ticks pulled a moon from its orbit and threw it at his face only remained in canon for like 12.
Top Image: Warner Bros.