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Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix

Lilly Wachowski sat out Matrix 4 as it felt ‘expressly unappealing’

‘I was going to go back and live in these old shoes in a way. And I didn’t want to do that’

Matrix trilogy co-director Lilly Wachowski has explained her reasoning behind stepping away from the series, in contrast to her sister Lana Wachowski, who has solo directed the forthcoming fourth movie.

The title of the long-awaited installment has just been revealed as The Matrix: Resurrections. According to Deadline, the yet-to-be-released trailer sees Keanu Reeves’ Neo trapped in a pre-red pill world much like his first self in the 1999 film. Later on, Neo runs into Carrie Anne Moss’ Trinity in a cafe, where she asks him, “Have we met?”

Speaking at Showtime’s Television Critics Association panel on behalf of comedy series Work in Progress, for which she is the showrunner, Lilly was asked about her decision to move in a different creative direction to her sister. “That's a tough one,” she replied. “I got out of my transition and was just completely exhausted because we had made Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending, and the first season of Sense8 back-to-back-to-back. We were posting one, and prepping the other at the exact same time.”

She explained that the “three 100-plus days of shooting for each project” had left her “completely exhausted”. “My world was like, falling apart to some extent even while I was like, you know, cracking out of my egg. So I needed this time away from this industry. I needed to reconnect with myself as an artist and I did that by going back to school and painting and stuff.”

Lilly also mentioned how going through her transition, plus the death of the siblings’ parents, had affected the decision. “(Lana) had come up with this idea for another Matrix movie, and we had this talk, and it was actually – we started talking about it in between dad dying and mom dying, which was like five weeks apart. And there was something about the idea of going backward and being a part of something that I had done before that was expressly unappealing.”

She continued: “And I didn’t want to have gone through my transition and gone through this massive upheaval in my life, the sense of loss from my mom and dad, to want to go back to something that I had done before, and sort of (walk) over old paths that I had walked in, felt emotionally unfulfilling, and really the opposite – like I was going to go back and live in these old shoes, in a way. And I didn't want to do that.”

Asked if the sibling pair have any future collaboration plans, Lilly left it up in the air. “Who knows? Who knows? Maybe,” she said.

Although this is the first time she has directly addressed her decision, at a 2019 TCA panel Lilly spoke about stepping back from sci-fi, saying that since her transition she felt like she had “one foot out the door... My agent kept sending me stuff, and a lot of science fiction. Great. It’s good stuff, science fiction. You get to talk a lot about a lot of subjects. There’s always fabulous subtext in science fiction. Since my transition, I’m not really interested in subtext at this time.”

Last year, Lilly confirmed that the films were an allegory for the trans experience. Both Lilly and Lana came out as trans after the first three films were released, with fans subsequently speculating whether the journey of the protagonist was a metaphor for gender transition.

“I’m glad people are talking about The Matrix movies with a trans narrative,” Lilly said, “and I’m grateful I can be a part of throwing them a rope along their journey. I’m glad that it has gotten out that that was the original intention. The world wasn’t quite ready for it. The corporate world wasn’t ready for it.”