Lana Wachowski says bringing back Neo and Trinity for The Matrix 4 helped her grieve
The Wachowski siblings, Lilly and Lana, famously directed the original Matrix movie trilogy, but only Lana returned to helm the upcoming fourth installment, The Matrix Resurrections. Lilly has her reasons for not wanting to revisit what has become a globally successful sci-fi franchise, but for Lana, she said during a recent appearance at a screenwriting panel in Germany that it felt like a healing process.
According to Lana, bringing back the characters of Neo and Trinity, played by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, helped her deal with the grief of losing her parents and a friend in a short amount of time.
Speaking at a panel during the Berlin International Literature Festival on Friday, Lana explained how, for years, she and Lilly saw the story of The Matrix "concluded," though "every year Warner Bros. would ask us to make another one."
"It never was interesting to me as an idea to continue it," she said. "Then something really hard happened: Both my parents got ill. My dad first got ill, and my wife and I went home to take care of them, and we were really close to them. And also a good friend died in this very short period… It was just this constant grief. My dad died, then this friend died, then my mom died. I didn't really know how to process that kind of grief. I hadn't experienced it that closely."
Lana recalled crying one night she couldn't fall asleep. "Suddenly," she said, "my brain just exploded this whole story."
"I couldn't have my mom and dad… yet suddenly I had Neo and Trinity, arguably the two most important characters in my life," she continued. "It was immediately comforting to have these two characters alive again, and it's super-simple. You can look at it and say: 'Okay, these two people die, and okay, bring these two people back to life, and oh, doesn't that feel good?' Yeah, it did! It's simple, and this is what art does and this is what stories do. They comfort us and they're important."
Reeves and Moss are returning for Resurrections alongside Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe. Laurence Fishburne previously said he was "not invited" to reprise his role of Morpheus, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will play the character in the fourth film.
As far as Lilly's decision not to return to co-direct the movie with Lana, she previously explained that "there was something about the idea of going backward and being a part of something that I had done before that was expressly unappealing."
"I didn't want to have gone through my transition [Lilly came out as transgender in March 2016] and gone through this massive upheaval in my life, the sense of loss from my mom and dad, to want to go back to something that I had done before, and sort of [walk] over old paths that I had walked in, felt emotionally unfulfilling, and really the opposite — like I was going to go back and live in these old shoes, in a way," she said. "And I didn't want to do that."
The Matrix Resurrections is scheduled to hit theaters and HBO Max on Dec. 22. Watch Lana's remarks in the video above, starting around the 5:20 mark.