The Matrix was a metaphor for transgender identity, director Lilly Wachowski confirms

Trans fans have speculated about the film’s hidden allegories since Lilly and Lana Wachowski both came out as trans themselves

Adam White
Friday 21 August 2020 16:50 BST
Matrix director Lilly Wachowski confirms the film is a metaphor for gender identity

The Matrix co-director Lilly Wachowski has finally confirmed fan speculation that the films are metaphors for transgender identity.

Since both she and sister Lana came out as trans in 2012 and 2016, respectively, trans fans have written about the possible allegories found in the films.

Some have suggested that Neo’s (Keanu Reeves) unease with the world, which is described in the film as a “splinter in your mind”, is a metaphor for gender dysphoria. The “red pill”, which allows him to see reality for what it truly is, has also been compared to estrogen pills.

Lilly Wachowski has now confirmed that she and her sister’s “original intention” was for the film to operate as an allegory for gender identity.

“I’m glad that it has gotten out that that was the original intention,” she told Netflix Film Club. “The world wasn’t quite ready for it. The corporate world wasn’t ready for it.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Wachowski revealed that Switch, a character in the first film who works alongside Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), was originally written to be gender fluid. Switch, hence their name, would present as a woman in the fictitious world of “The Matrix” and a man in reality.

“The Matrix ... was all about the desire for transformation, but it was all coming from a closeted point of view,” Wachowski said. “We had the character of Switch, who would be a man in the real world and then a woman in the Matrix, and that’s where [both of] our headspaces were.”

Filming on the belated fourth entry in the Matrix franchise recently restarted, with the coronavirus pandemic having shutting down production in March.

Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Jada Pinkett Smith are returning for the film, along with franchise newcomers including Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Watchmen actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

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