Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
Neil Patrick Harris
[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for The Matrix Resurrections.]
Even after four Matrix movies and a number of spinoff stories, viewers still don’t know too much about the Machines, the artificially intelligent antagonists of the series. Most of our peeks into the inner-workings of the A.I. society comes from what we learn via the programs which inhabit and assert some measure of control over the Matrix. As far as what fans of the original trilogy know, two of the oldest programs that exist are the Oracle, an “intuitive” program who helped to create the version of the Matrix seen throughout the films, and the Architect, the program originally created and tasked by the Machines to create the Matrix itself.
The Analyst, the antagonist of The Matrix Resurrections portrayed by Neal Patrick Harris, introduces a new wrinkle into the evolving power dynamics behind the creation of the Matrix and its continued hold over human and machine-kind.
The Architect was a program originally created by the Machines to create a functioning version of the Matrix. Unable to do so, the Architect was assisted by the Oracle, a program who who helped develop a version of the Matrix that would keep humanity sedated at the cost of a recurring human anomaly known as “the One” and a fraction of the human population who would learn of the system’s true nature, escape, and subsequently rebel against it. At the end of The Matrix Revolutions, Neo brokers a truce between the Machines and the humans in exchange for defeating Agent Smith, a mutual existential threat that threatened the integrity of the Matrix, and with it, the survival of both humanity and the Machines. After defeating Smith, Neo’s body is carried away into the Machine City. The Matrix Resurrections takes place 60 years after the events of The Matrix Revolutions, with Neo now living out his life as a video game programmer named Thomas Anderson while experiencing strange uncanny visions of his life during the Matrix trilogy.
Turns out that the program known as The Analyst was present when Neo sacrificed his own life to defeat Smith, and was instrumental in both Neo and Trinity’s resurrection. After the events of the third film, the Machines consented to the terms of Neo’s truce, allowing any human who wished to leave the Matrix to do so. This decision led to a decrease of the energy siphoned by the Machine’s power plants, creating an energy shortage which subsequently threatened the survival of the Machines. This desperation for power resulted in the eruption of a “civil war” among the Machines, as various factions of the Machine world that disagreed on whether to continue upholding the truce battled for supremacy and survival. In the aftermath, several of the oldest programs of the Matrix — including the Oracle, The Architect, and the exile programs — were purged from the system, while The Analyst seized upon the opportunity to propose a new version of the Matrix which would not only compel human beings to remain within the system, but would be built around siphoning energy from Neo and Trinity specifically.
When Neo’s corpse was taken away, The Analyst set about attempting to rebuild both his and Trinity’s body in order to access the source code of The One. After reconstructing them, he discovered that Neo and Trinity exerted vast amounts of energy whenever they were in close proximity together. Delighted at this discovery, The Analyst constructed a power plant specifically to contain Neo and Trinity that was separate from those of the ones used to contain the rest of humanity, placing them in adjacent pods so as to safely siphon their energy without risking an overload.
On top of all that, The Analyst created a new version of the Matrix, one which preyed on the emotions of the humans connected to it to ensnare them in a state of dependency. Though not explicitly stated, it’s strongly implied that social media platforms exist in this incarnation of the Matrix and serve a vital role in keeping the human population sedated and reluctant to leave the Matrix. With the success of these new developments, The Analyst effectively became the new Architect of the Matrix, keeping a close eye on Neo so as to keep him producing energy while attempting to unravel why the anomaly of “the One” continues to occur, presumably to find a way to generate yet even more power.
At the end of The Matrix Resurrections, having lost both Neo and Trinity, The Analyst nevertheless insists that he has won because he is confident that he has created a version of the Matrix that humanity will never voluntarily leave from. In defiance, Neo and Trinity tell the Analyst that they’re going to change his world together and remind humanity what it means to be free again. If we ever get a sequel, we may see the Analyst have to report back to his bosses … and get an even more revealing peek into the machine world.