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The Matrix Resurrections Theory That Would Change The Original Trilogy Forever

The 1999 release of "The Matrix" shocked audiences around the world and ushered in an entirely new era of filmmaking that promised future combinations of slick action and fantastical mythology. While the first entry in the Wachowskis-produced franchise is considered by many to be a genuine marvel of modern Hollywood, "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions" enjoyed decidedly less praise. "The Matrix Reloaded" has a 73% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, while "The Matrix Revolutions" only managed a 35% score, both significantly lower than the first film's score of 88%.

Of course, like with many other properties that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s, everything old is new again. Surprising many, Warner Bros. announced in 2019 that audiences would soon be transported back to "The Matrix" with a fourth film set to reunite original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss with creator Lana Wachowski (via Variety). In September, Warner Bros. released a trailer for "The Matrix Resurrections" and fans of the long-dormant series quickly began to buzz with excitement and theories ... lots of theories.

Here's one of those, and it's one that could completely alter the way fans look at the first three films.

The real world is just another Matrix?

When Neo (Keanu Reeves) is first loaded onto the Nebuchadnezzar in "The Matrix," Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) greets him with the words, "Welcome to the real world." However, one theory is that Neo never completely left the simulation known as The Matrix. Instead, supporters of this theory argue that Neo was simply loaded into a secondary simulation. In the aftermath of the release of the first trailer for "The Matrix Resurrections," the theory has gained traction in online spaces like Reddit. Scenes like those of an aged Neo glitching in front a mirror, the appearance of a black cat, and one scene in "The Matrix Resurrections" that appeared to include a screening of "The Matrix" certainly led to plenty of speculation

On a Reddit page dedicated to the film series, u/ThePrimeOptimus recently made a post entitled "Why I never liked the 'Matrix within a Matrix' theory." In the post, the user emphasized that the theory "removes any anchor point for reality." U/ThePrimeOptimus further noted that if this theory was true, "you'd get to "It's Matrixes (Matrices?) all the way down." 

U/Method_Plays responded to u/ThePrimeOptimus in part, "The theory of Zion being another program reality within the Matrix would be so lame."

KevineCove agreed that the theory would be bothersome for many of the same reasons that dream scenes (or seasons in the case of "Dallas" and a few others) are bothersome. "The Matrix-in-a-Matrix theory sucks for the same reason that the All Just a Dream trope sucks," KevineCove said. "It defeats the purpose of the entire story. And in the case of The Matrix, it basically removes the entire conflict. If it were true, what would be the point in watching the films?"

Despite the recent increase in discussions about the theory, the topic certainly isn't new to longtime fans of the series. Fans have speculated about the nature of Neo's reality ever since the release of "The Matrix Reloaded," arguing over the so-called "Matrix in a Matrix" theory everywhere from Reddit to long-discarded forums and chat rooms (via Matrix-Explained).