The Matrix Reloaded: 27 Things You Didn't Know About The Sequel
The second Matrix movie may not have had the same impact as the first, but it's still plenty interesting to look back on
Some remember 2003's The Matrix Reloaded as an energetic sequel that expanded the world of The Matrix, upped the ante on the stunts and action, and pushed the story of the original in exciting new directions. Others recall it as an overstuffed, overwritten mess whose cool action scenes were overshadowed by lame dialogue, lack of focus, and a weird mud orgy.
Whatever place The Matrix 2 holds in your mind, it's certainly not regarded in the same light as the influential sci-fi action classic the original is remembered as. Nevertheless, it's still interesting to look back on--particularly with the news that The Matrix 4 is on the way.
We recently revisited the original Matrix to discover some new things we didn't know about it, and we had a blast. Much like the Wachowskis, we're trying to recapture that feeling with this sequel list. Once again, we watched every special feature on the series' "Ultimate Matrix Collection" Blu-ray set and picked out the most interesting tidbits. Let us know how we did in the comments below--then check out everything we know about The Matrix 4 and the 34 dumbest moments from the Matrix sequels.
1. The green Matrix code was designed to be more "visceral" in this one
During the film's opening, visual effects supervisor John Gaeta says that the iconic green Matrix code was designed to be "more visceral" this time. "[Lana] and [Lilly] wanted to make a point that the code was like the fabric of life in the Matrix," he says. "You could keep exponentially going into the detail in any given object and see more and more and more."
2. Six months pass between movies
It's not explicitly stated in the movie, but according to Laurence Fishburne, The Matrix Reloaded picks up about six months after the original Matrix.
3. Carrie-Anne Moss broke her leg two weeks into training
The actors trained for eight months for this movie. Two weeks in, Carrie-Anne Moss broke her leg--but she says Keanu's dedication helped her keep going.
4. Link is Tank and Dozer's brother--kind of
In the special features, actor Harold Perrineau says that his character, Link, is Tank and Dozer's brother. In Matrix canon, this is partially true--Link is married to Tank and Dozer's sister, Zee, which makes him their brother-in-law.
5. Tank's offscreen "death" was caused by a salary dispute
References in this movie to Tank and Dozer's deaths are confusing, because while Dozer was killed by Cypher in the first movie, Tank was definitely alive when the credits rolled. In reality, Tank was written out due to a salary dispute, which ultimately led to his actor, Marcus Chong, suing Warner Bros. for breaking a verbal agreement to recast him in the sequels, according to The Guardian.
6. Jada Pinkett Smith was nine months pregnant during filming
You can note in scenes like this one that her torso is rarely in the frame. The actress says she was "really, really happy" to get the call to do these movies, despite her advanced pregnancy.
7. The "mega city" was designed to look like Los Angeles, but larger
"The [Wachowskis] wanted the feeling of Los Angeles at night, but ten times bigger," says digital matte painter Roger Gibbon.
8. A lot of work went into Zion's docking bay
Zion's impressive docking bay area was meticulously designed. "I wanted to draw stuff so you could see how it worked, and so that if they built it, it wasn't just impressions of things," says conceptual designer Geofrey Darrow. "I would actually draw the lock mechanism. I tried to figure out how the pulleys work...the actual docks themselves, I tried to make them look sort of like aircraft carriers."
9. Morpheus and Lock have more history than what's in the movie
That's according to Laurence Fishburne, at least: "Harry Lennix, who plays Commander Lock--brilliantly, by the way--and I had a conversation: Do these two men know each other? Are they friends? Were they friends? We decided they were friends. And we figured out, for ourselves, that part of why they rub up against each other the wrong way is because one of them is pod-born, and the other one isn't."
He goes on to explain that, in the actors' head-canon, Morpheus (pod-born) is jealous that Lock wasn't bred to be a battery, and Lock is weirdly envious that he can never experience what the Matrix is actually like.
10. Niobe apparently still loves Morpheus
That's according to Jada Pinkett Smith: "I think Niobe loves Morpheus. I think she's with Locke because of his status, you know, and I think she's with Lock because he's smart. And I think after being with Morpheus, it's very difficult--she's attracted to that power, that authority, and I think for Niobe and her personality, she needs that."
11. The dancers were captured 5 to 10 at a time on blue screen
The mud orgy (which visual effects supervisor John Gaeta incorrectly refers to as a "tribal rave") was created by compositing many different shots of 5-10 dancers at a time, many from Oakland and San Francisco, dancing to electronic music on a blue screen set.
12. Multiple people refer to Zion as a "womb"
Multiple people throughout the special features refer to the city of Zion as being designed to be womb-like, from the natural cave-like architecture (the Earth being humanity's womb) to the warm, candle-lit color palette.
13. Zion's fashions were based on ancient clothes and mummies
"We imagined that everything they grow, they grow by hydroponics, because there's water and heat, so we had to create clothing that could have been made from hemp or made from natural fibers, vegetable fibers," says costume designer Kym Barrett. "So we went back into kind of ancient China and Mongolia and looked at a lot of the mummies that were buried in really beautifully woven, natural fibers."
14. Carrie-Anne Moss was stressed out about Trinity and Neo's sex scene
"I was a bit worried about it and had fear around that area," she says. "And the [Wachowskis] created, I thought, a really beautiful scene."
15. Zion's residential pit was designed to resemble DNA
The bottomless pit in which Zion's residents reside was also meticulously designed. "Within the structure of the bottomless pit, there's a core, which is an elevator core, and then there are huge pipes that run down around that core," says production designer Owen Paterson. "You get the kind of vibe that it's a kind of like DNA strand. And we always imagined down inside the power plant, drainage that left the way Neo leaves when he's dragged out of the pod and down through it and gets picked up by the Nebuchadnezzar. He went down what is basically a big DNA strand all the way down. These things are really subtle, but they're there."
16. This fight has more "movements" than the entirety of the original film
That's according to Keanu Reeves, at least. "It might actually be double," the actor says. It took 9 weeks for Reeves and 12 stuntmen, who were trained to move and groomed to look like Hugo Weaving's Smith, to shoot this fight.
17. This character was played by the real world scholar who influenced the movies
The Wachowskis were heavily influenced by scholar and civil rights activist Cornel Ronald West, and they wrote a version of him into the sequel, then called West himself to portray the character. West also provides some of the audio commentary on the Blu-ray set.
"I was so honored when [they] said my own writings had been influential to some degree in the narrative that they put forward, the story that they were telling," West says. "And when I received a call saying they both had actually written a character, Councillor West, and asked me to act, I said, 'Well, you know, I have no acting experience, but I would be blessed to come on the set and try to give some life to this character that they had written about me.'"
18. Jada Pinkett Smith had a scene from Enter the Matrix in mind during this conversation
Smith says there's a scene in the 2003 video game Enter the Matrix, which was also written and directed by the Wachowskis, that directly influenced her character in this movie scene. "That was basically after the scene that's in the video game, where [Lock] basically tells her that he actually made it so that she wouldn't be chosen to go on this mission. She's like, 'What are you talking about? How could you? I'm a soldier before I'm your woman, before anything.' So that's basically the breakoff point."
19. The Merovingian was based on real history
According to Lambert Wilson, who plays the Merovingian, his character was named after a dynasty of French kings who were supposedly descended from the blood of Jesus Christ himself--hence the Merovingian's superiority complex. Wilson also says he was embarrassed to use his natural French accent because he's spent most of his life trying to get rid of it.
20. Laurence Fishburne views the Merovingian as Morpheus's counterpart
"The Merovingian, as I understand it, is Morpheus's counterpart, as Smith is Neo's opposite, the Merovingian is Morpheus's opposite," Fishburne says. "He's not responsible to anyone. He does what he wants, when he wants to, how he wants to, and he really enjoys it."
21. The director of John Wick appears briefly in the special features
Over a decade before he'd direct Keanu Reeves in John Wick, Chad Stahelski--who you can very clearly see flipping through the air in this shot from the movie--served as "martial arts stunt coordinator" on The Matrix Reloaded. That's a promotion from his work on the original Matrix, where he was simply Reeves' stunt double. Stahelski appears briefly in the special features to discuss the chateau fight scene.
22. The look of the Twins' phasing powers was based on jellyfish
An unnamed effects person in the special features remarks that the Twins were inspired by jellyfish. "We've done a lot of investigation into jellyfish--the way you can see through parts of them, how the light affects them, and the edges you get," she says. "It's such an amazingly subtle thing, and it's quite difficult to reproduce."
23. Carrie-Anne Moss says she went to "motion picture driving school" twice
"I went to motion picture driving school twice, and I have a diploma and I framed it and I put it on my wall, because that was fun," the actress says. "I'm glad that I went, and I really appreciated the skills that I learned when it came down to shooting days because I was able to do some really cool stuff, and felt confident."
"Carrie-Anne can drive her ass off," Fishburne adds.
24. There are 15,000 sentinels onscreen here
"We establish about 15,000 sentinels at any one time," says visual FX supervisor (Zion unit) George Murphy. "That's a pretty phenomenal number of creatures to keep track of, animate, render, light, make look like every one of them is doing the right thing."
25. The Architect's actor was going to audition for another part
Helmut Bakaitis, who plays the Architect, was originally supposed to audition for an unidentified "councillor" (most likely Councillor Hamann, who wound up being played by Anthony Zerbe). "I suddenly got a different script and was asked to read for this completely other part, which completely bamboozled me, because of course I hadn't read the whole script--I'd only read the scenes I was in," Bakaitis chuckles. "'The father of the Matrix,' he says...and I thought, 'Wow, this is good. Yeah, I can do that. I can do my cheap Orson Welles imitation and get paid for it."
26. We've seen this location once before
The Architect's control room, seemingly new to Reloaded, was actually glimpsed in the original movie, according to visual effects supervisor John Gaeta: "There's a shot of Neo where Neo gets interrogated and the beginning of the scene starts with us pushing through a bank of monitors. [The Architect's control room] is the place where those monitors are."
27. Samsung made a Matrix phone
The filmmakers worked closely with Samsung to create the Samsung SPH-N270, colloquially known as "the Matrix phone." It closely resembles those used in The Matrix Reloaded. Although it was a fully functional cell phone, it was never widely sold, and goes for high prices now on sites like eBay.
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