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SYFY WIRE The Matrix Resurrections

Iron Fist's Jessica Henwick passed on 'Shang-Chi' role to appear in 'The Matrix Resurrections'

The Matrix Resurrections arrives in theaters and on HBO Max Wednesday, Dec. 22.

By Josh Weiss
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In addition to featuring the return of beloved legacy characters like Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), and Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), The Matrix Resurrections will also introduce a number of new faces like Bugs. Most likely deriving her name from a white rabbit tattoo, Bugs is a blue-haired stranger who turns out to be one the fastest guns in the simulation.

She's played by Iron Fist alum Jessica Henwick who actually turned down a chance to be in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in favor of Resurrections. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the Lana Wachowski-directed sequel, Henwick revealed that Warner Bros. and Disney were both aware of the situation and provided her with an ultimatum.

"[The studios] knew about the other offers, and both of them gave me the offer on the stipulation that I could only audition for one or the other. And there was no guarantee that I would get either. It was a red pill, blue pill moment for me," said the actress, referring to the iconic offer of enlightenment vs. ignorance Morpheus presents to Neo in the 1999 original.

While Henwick did not offer up any specifics on the Marvel role, we'd wager a guess that she was either set to audition for Katy (Shang's best friend, ultimately played by Awkwafina) or Meng'er Zhang (Shang's sister, ultimately played by Xu Xialing).

It's also very possible that Henwick was considered to reprise her role as Iron Fist's Colleen Wing in the martial arts-heavy project. If the long-gestating rumors are true and Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock really does appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home (out in theaters Dec. 17), then who's to say the rest of the Netflix characters can't be folded into the mainstream MCU where they might naturally fit?

"I've had a great working relationship with Marvel," Henwick added. "I've obviously done Marvel TV, so I was already in the universe. I knew that joining The Matrix is not an opportunity that you get every day. Lana has had so many offers to make more Matrix films. I just knew it was now or never. Whereas, obviously, Marvel is a huge, wonderful company that makes films very, very regularly."

In any case, Henwick can still bring some of her Daughter of the Dragon badassery to the role of Bugs, whom the actress reportedly described as "the audience's eyes." EW underscored this with the promise that the character holds "more clues about just why Lana felt so compelled to return to The Matrix."

"Art is a mirror," Wachowski — who wrote the fourth chapter alongside David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon — told the magazine. "Most will prefer to gaze at the surface but there will be people like me who enjoy what lies behind the looking glass. I made this movie for them."

Despite several lucrative offers from WB to make another installment over the years, Lana wasn't interested in revisiting the property until experiencing a number of tragic personal losses. She decided Resurrections could be a way to grapple with her grief in a healthy way. This time, however, she was flying solo as her sister, Lilly, turned down the opportunity to return as co-director.

The Matrix Resurrections arrives in theaters and on HBO Max Wednesday, Dec. 22.

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