Co-Director of The Matrix and its sequels, Lilly Wachowski, has confirmed in a recent interview that the films act as a metaphor for being Trans.
A long-running fan theory about the Matrix films is that they act as an allegory for the experience of Transgender people. The theory picked up more momentum after co-directors and sisters Lana and Lilly both came out as being transgender. However, the theory was never confirmed until recently, when Lilly sat down and discussed the film with an interview with The Netflix Film Club channel on YouTube.
Speaking to Netflix, Lilly looked back at the films 21 years since the release of the original. She spoke about the transgender theory about the film and stated: “That was the original intention. But the world wasn’t quite ready.”
Being a film released in 1999, the world perhaps wasn’t quite ready for a film which dealt in such ideas. But with members of the trans community now enjoying increased acceptance, Lilly stated that she is “glad that it has gotten out.”
Lilly spoke about how she discussed the film with members of the trans community, with the film being one that is “meaningful” for them, continuing to say that “[trans people] come up to me and say, “these movies saved my life.” I’m grateful I can be throwing them a rope to help them along their journey.”
Lilly Wachowski would go on to discuss how she originally saw the film. In particular, she cited the character of Switch as one of the bigger changes made in the first film. Switch was originally going to be a more clear and apparent representation of the trans experience, as they would have been male in the ‘real’ world but a female in the matrix. This, however, never made it past the pitch stage of development.
To round up the interview, Lilly spoke about how she used science fiction as way to explain the way she was feeling. “We were existing in a space where the words didn’t exist, so we were always living in a world of imagination.”
A recent Netflix twitter thread explored The Matrix more in depth, in particular how the development of Neo’s arc is akin to the trans experience, with his switch from Thomas Anderson to Neo being his journey to find himself.
Words by Paul Dawson