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Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has no interest in replacing Laurence Fishburne's iconic portrayal of Morpheus in The Matrix Resurrections (out this December). No one could do that. Rather, the Aquaman and Watchmen star wants to deliver "a different iteration of the character," he told Entertainment Weekly as part of the magazine's fall 2021 movie preview.
"It's not really my job to try to duplicate or try to challenge that history," he explained. "If anything, I step into it because I appreciate the history ... 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."
He added that his version of the resistance leader against the titular simulation is "definitely aware of the history of the Matrix [and] the history of Morpheus" while promising "a journey of self-discovery. There's a lot in our story that's about growth, defining your own path," he said. "Morpheus isn't exempt from that."
The screenplay was penned by the trio of director Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas), and Aleksandar Hemon (Sense8). Lana co-directed the original Matrix trilogy alongside her sister, Lilly, who decided not to return for Resurrections.
"What the viewers will come to understand is that there are many rules of the Matrix," Abdul-Mateen II continued, alluding to how the new film justifies recasting Morpheus as a younger man. "Age, appearance, the things we identify as real, can be manipulated in that world. The Matrix is where anything is possible."
The Matrix Resurrections heads through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole Wednesday, Dec. 22. Like all of Warner Bros.' major releases this year, the long-awaited sequel will enjoy a concurrent release in theaters and on HBO Max.