Movies & TV / News

Lilly Wachowski Confirms That The Matrix is a Trans Allegory

August 7, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Keanu Reeves The Matrix 4

Lilly Wachowski has confirmed a long-held belief by a good number of Matrix fans that the film was a trans allegory. Wachowski spoke with Netflix for their Film Club series and discussed the film, confirming speculation that the film was a metaphor for the trans experience.

The interpretation that the sci-fi blockbuster was meant to portray the trans experience has existed basically since the film came out. Oft-cited points of evidence include how Neo doesn’t feel comfortable in the place he’s been assigned by society and “wakes up” to his true reality, whereupon he takes on a new identity and name. The offering by Morpheus of a blue pill and red pill tends to be seen as a choice to take hormone therapy, while Agent Smith as the villain regularly refers to Neo as his deadname in “Mr. Anderson.” However, it shot upward in popularity when both Wachowskis came out as trans, Lana in 2012 and Lilly in 2016. Lana was reported to be transitioning in the early 2000s, though it was not confirmed until years later.

Lilly confirmed in the video, which you can see below, that the film was intended to be seen as a trans narrative. She confirmed that Switch, the character in the first film played by Belinda McClory, was intended to be played as a man on the Nebuchadnezzar and a woman in the Matrix itself.

“I’m glad that people are talking about The Matrix movies with a trans narrative,” she said. “I love how meaningful those films are to trans people and the way that they come up to me and say, ‘These movies saved my life … I’m grateful I can be throwing them a rope to help them along their journey.”

“That was the original intention but the world wasn’t quite ready … the corporate world wasn’t ready for it.” she said of the film’s allegorical elements. “The Matrix stuff was all about the desire for transformation but it was all coming from a closeted point of view. We had the character of Switch – who was a character who would be a man in the real world and then a woman in the Matrix.”

While she confirmed that the intent was for the story to be a trans narrative, Lilly was less certain about how her identity shaped the writing of the script. She noted, “I don’t how present my transness was in the background of my brain as we were writing the film. But it all came from the same sort of fire that I’m talking about.”

Lana Wachowski is directing the upcoming The Matrix 4, which will hit theaters on April 1st, 2022. Lilly Wachowski is an executive producer on Work in Progress for Showtime, which will begin production on its second season later this year.