Sorry MRAs, ‘The Matrix’ Director Confirms The Red Pill Is Actually A Trans Allegory
"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.’"
After years of public speculation, The Matrix director Lily Wachowski has confirmed that the film series is an allegory for trans identity.
Lily and her sister Lana co-wrote and directed the first three Matrix films together — and while trans viewers and critics have noted the trans themes and ideas present since the first film was released in 1999, the idea that the Matrix is a trans allegory gained traction after both sisters publicly came out as trans women.
As both the sisters are notoriously interview-shy, the reading hadn’t been confirmed until now, as Lily sat down with Netflix for a video interview.
In it, she said that “the world wasn’t quite ready, the corporate world wasn’t ready” for the film’s trans themes, but that she was “glad that it has gotten out that that was the original intention”.
Lily clarifies that the Matrix, as a concept, “was all about the desire for transformation, but it was all coming from a closeted point of view”.
She says the duo weren’t talking about trans identity while writing, but that the themes were obviously there: “[I don’t] “know how present my transness was in the background of my brain as we were writing it, but it all came from the same sort of fire that I’m talking about.”
Lily says that the sci-fi and fantasy genre freed the duo as filmmakers.
“We were able to imagine stuff at that time that you didn’t necessarily see onscreen. Or even the idea of how can we exist in as many genres as possible?,” she said.
“And so I think in our transness and queerness, we were always trying to incorporate as many things as possible, visualize within a much larger infinite scope of the imagination.”
She also revealed that Switch, played by Belinda McClory in the first film, was at one stage supposed to be a man in the ‘real world’ and a woman in the Matrix.
Ultimately, Lily says she’s delighted that the audience cottoned onto the themes, and is moved by how much the series has meant to trans audiences.
“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.’ Because when you talk about transformation, specifically in the world of science-fiction, which is just about imagination and world-building and the seemingly impossible becoming possible, I think that’s why it speaks to them so much. I’m grateful that I can be a part of throwing them a rope to help them along their journey.”
It must be pretty cutting for the MRA movement, who have co-opted the idea of being ‘red pilled’ into awakening to their plight.
The Matrix 4, which is written and directed by Lana, is currently in production, but COVID-19 has pushed back its tentative release to April 2022. Keanu Reeves, Jada Pinkett Smith, Carrie-Anne Moss and Lambert Wilson all return to the series.
Lily, meanwhile, is a writer and executive producer writing on comedy Work in Progress, which is available on Stan.
Watch the interview with Lana below. In Australia, The Matrix films are available to stream on Stan.