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'The Matrix' Was About the Trans Experience, Confirms Lilly Wachowski

Neo stopping bullets on The Matrix

Lilly Wachowski confirmed that a trans allegorical experience was the “original intention” of the Matrix trilogy in an exclusive interview with the Netflix Film Club.

"That was the original intention,” Wachowski revealed in an interview, saying she was “glad that it has gotten out. But the world wasn’t quite ready yet. The corporate level, the corporate world wasn’t quite ready for it yet.”

Lana and Lilly Wachowski both famously transitioned in the years since The Matrix hit theaters and blew away audiences with its dystopian world of enforced suffering and oppression. The film's trilogy — The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions — has grossed more than $1.6 billion globally, and the first installment just celebrated its 22nd anniversary.

“I don’t know how present my transness was in the background of my brain as we were writing it,” she continued, “but it all came from the same sort of fire that I’m talking about. Especially for me and Lana, we were existing in this space where the words didn’t exist, so we were always living in a world of imagination.”

Proponents of the trans allegory subtext to the Matrix storyline have pointed out several examples where the representations on screen suggest a trans experience. While his friends use his new name of Neo, authorities insist on calling him by his given name of Mr. Anderson — much like authorities who insist on deadnaming trans folks. The infamous red pill resembles a red estrogen pill. Even character names are allegorical in nature. Morpheus and Switch suggest the fluidity of gender while Neo translates as new and represents the possibility of rebirth. The script is similarly filled with trans allegorical elements. 

The character of Switch was slated to be the most visible element to the film. Wachowski revealed the original character “would be a man in the real world and then a woman in the Matrix.” The idea was eventually dropped.

Since The Matrix, Wachowski working alongside her sister in creating Sense8. She then struck out on her own and helped to create Showtime's Work in Progress. Lana, her sister, is working on a new sequel to The Matrix and has cast Brian J. Smith, and Jonathan Groff as new additions to the cast.

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