The latest trailer for the upcoming action sci-fi action sequel The Matrix Resurrections continues to tease the movie’s intriguingly meta relationship with the rest of the franchise.

The brief clip shows Neo meeting the new, younger Morpheus (played by Aquaman star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) against a backdrop of footage from the first The Matrix outing, which includes footage of Laurence Fishburne’s iconic iteration of the resistance leader.

While there had been theories posited that The Matrix Resurrections would be wiping much of the earlier franchise from canon, that has now been proven to be far from the case, with the long, long-awaited follow-up instead taking a much more interesting approach to its predecessors.

As well as revealing that the resistance now uses various portals to travel around the Matrix, similar to the various doors that are used in The Matrix Reloaded, things quickly get very meta when Neo is told by the new Morpheus that “Nothing comforts anxiety like a little nostalgia,” all while watching footage from his earlier adventures.

Legacy sequels are often criticized for their reliance on nostalgia, with the likes of Ghostbusters: Afterlife being the most recent example, but it looks like The Matrix Resurrections will tackle this head-on, even making it part of the story, as this new band of freedom fighters uses this sometimes-cheap emotive technique to lure Neo back into the fight.

There have been a lot of references to the concept of déjà vu in the latest marketing material for The Matrix Resurrections, something which was a crucial element of the previous trilogy, and it looks like the fourth movie in The Matrix franchise will attempt to fold the repetitive nature of sequels into the narrative.

Whether this self-aware approach will work remains to be seen, but it’s certainly an interesting way to plug audiences back into this world.

Produced, co-written, and directed by Lana Wachowski, The Matrix Resurrections stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss as Neo and Trinity respectively, as well as Jada Pinkett Smith, who will also reprise the roles of Niobe from previous movies.

Making up the rest of the supporting cast are Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Lambert Wilson, Daniel Bernhardt, Eréndira Ibarra, Christina Ricci, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Telma Hopkins, Max Riemelt, Toby Onwumere, Brian J. Smith, Andrew Caldwell, and Ellen Hollman.

Several character descriptions have also since been released, each of which peel back the curtain ever so slightly on some of the movie’s central mysteries.

Candyman star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is confirmed to be playing “the wise and worldly Morpheus who, as always, serves as a guide to Neo while also fulfilling his own greater purpose on a very singular journey of self-discovery,” but can this version of Neo’s former mentor really be trusted?

Mindhunter star Jonathan Groff’s role meanwhile has now been revealed to be supremely villains in nature, with the mysterious character being introduced in The Matrix Resurrections as “Thomas Anderson’s business partner, a slick, confident corporate type with insouciant charm, a disarming smile and an eye on the bottom line–everything Mr. Anderson is not.”

The Matrix Resurrections will have its world premiere on December 18, 2021, in San Francisco and is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros.

Pictures theatrically on December 22, 2021. The movie will also stream digitally on HBO Max in the United States for a month beginning on that same date.