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Morpheus' Entire Matrix Backstory Explained

What if I told you there was more to Laurence Fishburne's Morpheus than meets the eye? The Matrix trilogy is the story of Neo (Keanu Reeves) and his destiny to save humanity. Of course, he doesn't do it alone, and one of his allies is Morpheus, a veteran of hopping between the simulated world and the actual one. He's mysterious, with only a handful of details about his backstory revealed.

The original Matrix film from 1999 remains one of the most important sci-fi titles in cinematic history. From the technology behind it to the mind-melting subject matter, it withstands the test of time. Over the years, it has amassed a devout following that helped spawn two sequels, some video games, an animated movie, and more. All of this played a huge part in expanding the lore behind the franchise and its characters, and interest has endured long enough that a fourth film is on the way.

So far, only Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss will return as Neo and Trinity. The same can't be said for Fishburne as Morpheus, with his comeback unlikely at the moment. Still, it doesn't hurt to freshen up on the character's origins in the event of his reemergence. There aren't many specifics to cover, but the general information floating around from both the films and comics is very telling.

Morpheus escaped the Matrix and came to Zion

The beginnings of Morpheus' story were related in the comic The Miller's Tale In it, we saw him he escape the Matrix as a child, arriving at Zion not long after. He learned about the simulation and grew up supporting what remained of the human race, living off of bread and porridge. Extremely capable, he rose in the ranks to become one of the most impressive hackers in the resistance. Taking command of the Nebuchadnezzar and leading a strong crew, he continued to help liberate humanity for years.

As he explained to Neo in the first Matrix film, Morpheus spent some time freeing bluepills from the simulation, gaining a reputation for his success. Humans revered him, but the machines considered him a terrorist for his activities. This period of his life gave him the skills and resources shown in the films. He had, however, yet to adopt the stern attitude he carries with him on screen. For some time, he lived as those in the resistance did, fighting the good fight without any specific goal other than ending the war. An unexpected revelation became a catalyst for his personality transformation.

Morpheus' journey for The One

The Oracle (Gloria Foster), a prophet, predicted that Morpheus is the person who will find The One — the being that will end the Machine War. Following this message, his personality shifted dramatically. He became consumed with the prophecy he was given, eventually straying away from Zion and the people he had grown to care deeply about. He even left his lover Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) behind to seek out humanity's supposed savior. The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded dive deeper into this part of his life.

Morpheus' obsession with finding The One can't be understated. It became his new purpose, at the sacrifice of his old life of love and survival. He grew fanatical about the prophecy and worked tirelessly to achieve it. In essence, it was what he lived for and was more than willing to die for. His journey led to him to a man named Thomas A. Anderson inside the Matrix, and the rest is history. This new, colder, driven Morpheus is the one represented on the big screen — with little time dedicated to who he was before then.