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There’s A Simple Fix For Morpheus’ Terrible Matrix 3 Role (But He Had To Die)

The Matrix Revolutions gave Laurence Fishburne almost nothing to do as Morpheus, but there was an easy fix to this problem. The hype for The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions was so high in 2003 that it would have been nearly impossible for them to meet expectations. Even by that metric, both proved extremely divisive. Audiences were equal parts baffled and frustrated by The Matrix movie follow-ups, and even the ending of Revolutions felt somewhat anti-climatic. In retrospect, it’s easier to see what the Wachowskis were attempting with the films.


Reloaded, in particular, is a subversion of the classic hero’s journey, with the function of “The One” within the Matrix being revealed as just another system of control. Regardless, the sequels were both flawed experiences, with Revolutions underserving some major characters like Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) and Morpheus. Fishburne was especially underused, with Morpheus essentially becoming co-pilot to Jada Pinkett Smith’s Niobe as they fly back to save Zion. Outside of his emotional response to Neo ending the Machine War, his role could have been cut entirely will little impact on how the story plays out.

Related: Why Tank Didn’t Return For The Matrix Sequels

Morpheus Should Have Died Defending Zion In Matrix Revolutions

Trinity, Neo and Morpheus in the Matrix Reloaded Poster

After The Matrix Reloaded closed with Neo and Morpheus both learning the “One” prophecy was a lie, the best storyline for the latter should have found him back in underground human haven Zion. With the machine army hours away from destroying the settlement – for the sixth time in as many centuries – Morpheus should have been on the front lines leading the defense. In the movie itself, this role is taken by Captain Mifune (Nathaniel Lees). While a great character in his own right, audiences had little emotional connection to him compared to the main characters.

This a big issue with the Zion fight itself, as most of the residents of the city were only introduced in Reloaded. Compared to Neo, Trinity or Morpheus, it’s hard to invest too much in the fates of Kid (Clayton Watson) or Harry Lennix’s emotionally restrained Commander Lock. Having Morpheus leading that battle – while still having fate that Neo will somehow end the war – and dying to defend Zion would have given the sequence more emotional heft. If nothing else, it would have given Fishburne a standout scene in Matrix Revolutions, which he lacks in the final movie.

Why Laurence Fishburne Didn’t Return For Resurrections

Fishburne reprised Morpheus for video game The Matrix Online, but when Lana Wachowski returned for The Matrix Resurrections, the actor was conspicuous by his absence. In story terms, Resurrections is set 60 years after the trilogy, with Morpheus having passed away in the intervening years. The new Morpheus (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) seen in the fourth film was a program created by Neo himself and based on his half-formed memories. Fishburne himself later confirmed he was never approached about the Matrix sequel, and admitted he wasn’t a big fan of the final product and didn’t feel like he missed out by not being involved.

Next: A Genius Fan Theory Explains The Matrix Reloaded’s Terrible CGI

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