The Matrix Was Intended to Be a Trans Story, Says Lilly Wachowski

Switch, played by Belinda McClory, was supposed to be a woman inside the Matrix and a man outside.
Photo: Warner Bros.

The Matrix is regularly lauded as one of the most inventive and influential sci-fi films of all time. It put Lana and Lilly Wachowski on the map as filmmakers and remains so popular today, a fourth film is currently in the works.

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But it’s actually so much more.

At its core, The Matrix is also the story of a person who realizes they’re trapped in a place where they can’t be themselves, escapes, and is reborn in a new world as their true self. And considering the film was written and directed by two trans women, it’s no surprise that Lilly Wachowski says telling a trans allegory was the intent of the film all along.

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“I’m glad that it’s gotten out that that was the original intention,” she says in a video interview to promote the new documentary Disclosure. “The world wasn’t quite ready, at a corporate level...the corporate world wasn’t ready for it [at the time].”

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Here’s the full clip, which also confirms the character of Switch was originally going to be a man in the real world and a woman in the Matrix, calling attention to these intentions. That didn’t end up making the final film.

It’s a great clip, particularly when Wachowski seems to address the way the film has kind of been accepted as this macho, sci-fi action movie, but lends itself to multiple readings.

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“When you make movies it’s this public art form,” she says. “I think any kind of art that you put out in the universe, there’s a letting-go process because it’s entering into public dialogue. I like that there’s an evolution process that we as human beings engage in art in a non-linear way. That we can always talk about something in new ways and in new light.”

Funny enough, though this interview clip is new, The Matrix is not currently available on Netflix. You can, however, watch Cloud Atlas and V for Vendetta, both of which the Wachowskis made, and have plenty of their own layers for you to unravel. And, of course, Wachowski discusses The Matrix and more in the new documentary about trans representation in Hollywood, Disclosure. That is on Netflix.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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