Back in Black: How The Matrix 4 resurrects the original film's unforgettable style
After all these years, Neo and Trinity will return to screens in The Matrix Resurrections. And they're bringing their iconic style back with them.
Costume designer Lindsay Pugh was tasked with dressing Lana Wachowski's fourquel, for which she reimagined the original film's Y2K vision of futurist cool for a new era. "Kym [Barrett], the designer on the original film, absolutely really set a style," Pugh tells EW. "But also her style was set within the time that that movie was made. So it is the same thing; I'm setting these in the time that this movie was made as well, so the move-on is there."
Pugh's mission begins with returning heroes Neo and Trinity (Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss), shown here in more earthbound iterations of their old avatar wardrobes. "It was about having the form that an audience would recognize, but bringing that forward and making it in some way more accessible. So you still have the sort of muscle memory image of these two from the last movie, but they are not these people from the last movie," says Pugh. For Neo, that meant a T-shirt, but worn under a long coat built to recall his classic silhouette.
In a nod to Trinity's motorcycle work in the earlier films, Pugh put her in an Alyx jacket with "styling like a motorcycle jacket, but much softer." Part of that softness came in texture, pairing the more matte leather with faded black jeans and losing the high gloss associated with Moss' character. "The shine and the leather were part of their armor [for] a persona that they attached to themselves," Pugh says. This time, Trinity and Neo are "not necessarily undercover, but they're being more fluid within the Matrix."
For dapper Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, in the role originated by Laurence Fishburne), all the pieces were made from scratch by Pugh's team, including this ensemble in electric blue — a highly symbolic color in this series. The recasting liberated Pugh to reimagine the character, and a new digital era allowed her to expand her palette well beyond source-code green: "Technology's moved on, and the imagery is much more lifelike. So we don't need to go through the green filter because the Matrix is way more advanced now than it was before. That opens up the ability to have much more color."
Pugh did establish "some continuity in the sort of formality of his clothing; the original Morpheus had a tie, and he was quite smart," but Abdul-Mateen's highly detailed, all-custom wardrobe on the film varied playfully across colors and cuts. "Every shape was different, every neckline was different, every color was different, all the topstitching was [contrasting], all his glasses were a slightly different color," she says. "Everything sort of changes with him."
New character Bugs (Jessica Henwick) is "dark, whimsical, [and] pretty stylish," says Pugh. This look is a perfect mix of old and new: Her Rick Owens leather jacket suggests she "got the Matrix memo," but her bohemian Free People pants (and blue hair) add an intriguing twist. "It was just a really great juxtaposition between the two; the top half and the bottom half coming together makes it much more a characterful costume than just leather all the way," Pugh says. "It sort of knocks you and you think, 'Okay, so who is this person now, who is this inside the Matrix? What is she trying to be?' She's not following the form in our memory. She's her own person in there."
The Matrix Resurrections hits theaters and HBO Max on Wednesday. Read EW's cover story about the film here.
- Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss resurrect a 20-year-old love story with The Matrix 4.0
- The Matrix Resurrections first reactions are a mixed bag of red and blue pills
- Yahya Abdul-Mateen II decrypts the 'different iteration' of Morpheus in The Matrix Resurrections
- Lana Wachowski says bringing back Neo and Trinity for The Matrix 4 helped her grieve
- Scrubs stars Zach Braff, Donald Faison and Sarah Chalke to reunite at ATX TV Festival
- Start those engines: Bubba Wallace's historic rise and activism featured in first docuseries trailer
- Get a first look at The Man Who Fell to Earth graphic novel
- See the cover for The Miniaturist author Jessie Burton's new novel