The Matrix Resurrections star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has some big shoes to fill by taking on the iconic role of Morpheus in the upcoming sequel, and he’s opened up on what fans can expect from his take on the character. In the original Matrix trilogy, Morpheus was played by Laurence Fishburne in one of the veteran actor’s most unforgettable performances. It has since been revealed that Abdul-Mateen will play a younger version of Morpheus in The Matrix Resurrections.
Stepping into major roles in established franchises is not new for Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. He previously won an Emmy for his role as Dr. Manhattan in HBO’s Watchmen series, following Billy Crudup’s performance in the 2009 movie. More recently, he played a pivotal role in Nia DaCosta’s Candyman reboot, essentially taking the reins from Tony Todd. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Abdul-Mateen described what it’s like to come into these kinds of established roles.
“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.”
That might be the case, but Abdul-Mateen is taking on one of his toughest challenges yet by playing a new incarnation of Morpheus. Previously, Laurence Fishburne revealed that he wasn’t invited back for The Matrix Resurrections, and that’s apparently because the plan was to introduce an alternate version of the iconic character. Abdul-Mateen can’t divulge specific details, but dropped a few hints about his new take on Morpheus.
“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… This is definitely a different iteration of the character. I play a character who’s definitely aware of the history of the Matrix [and] the history of Morpheus. This character is on a journey of self-discovery. There’s a lot in our story that’s about growth, defining your own path. Morpheus isn’t exempt from that.”
Entertainment Weekly also unveiled some new sneak peek images with the Yahya-Abdul Mateen II interview. One photo shows Abdul-Mateen as Morpheus training with Keanu Reeves as Neo. Another provides a look at Abdul-Mateen with Reeves and Jessica Henwick. A third image shows Abdul-Mateen up close as the new Morpheus. As with the trailer and other sneak peeks, the photos are doing a lot to get fans more hyped for the sequel’s release in December.
Lana Wachowski directs using a screenplay co-written with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon. The sequel stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Jada Pinkett Smith.
The official synopsis for The Matrix Resurrections reads: “In a world of two realities – everyday life and what lies behind it – Thomas Anderson will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more. Choice, while an illusion, is still the only way in or out of the Matrix, which is stronger, more secure, and more dangerous than ever before.”