The release of a second trailer for The Matrix Resurrections has offered an even deeper — and somehow still vague — glimpse into the rabbit hole of the film’s universe. While the specifics of the actual plot of the third Matrix sequel are tightly under wraps, eagle-eyed viewers can glean a few crucial details that might offer clues as to what happened between the events of 2003’s The Matrix Revolutions and the new movie. In addition to Jonathan Groff’s apparent introduction as a new version of Agent Smith, similar to Yahya Abdul-Matten II’s performance as a “new” version of resistance fighter Morpheus, we also got a look at Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Niobe. The main difference: This is actual Niobe, albeit one who is now visibly older than she was at the end of the last Matrix film.
Niobe was introduced in The Matrix Reloaded as a general of the human rebellion, and the captain of the hovercraft ship known as the Logos, which she piloted alongside her first mate Ghost (Anthony Wong) and the ship’s operator Sparks (Lachy Hulme). Before the events of The Matrix, Niobe and Morpheus were lovers, but their relationship broke apart after Morpheus first met with the Oracle and began to preach the prophecy of The One, which Niobe never believed in. Despite this, Niobe comes to Morpheus and Neo’s aid several times throughout the course of The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, eventually giving her ship to Neo and Trinity towards the end of the third film in order to embark on their journey to the Machine City to stop the war. During the finale of The Matrix Revolutions, Niobe is seen embracing Morpheus with visible relief over the end of the war with the machines and thanking Neo — wherever he is.
Within the Matrix, Niobe is known and respected as one of the resistance’s most gifted martial artists, even going so far as to have “killed” an Agent, something which few if any have ever succeeded in doing. Outside of the Matrix, in the real world, Niobe is one of the most skilled pilots in the human fleet, a trait seen in The Matrix Revolutions when she successfully maneuvers the massive hovercraft known as the Hammer through a narrow passage swarming with Sentinels in order to aid Zion when the city is attacked by the Machines.
Niobe had a notable but minor role in the movies, but she was always key to the Wachowskis’ grand plan. Also in 2003, Pickett-Smith played the role in the video game Enter the Matrix, which follows the events of The Matrix Reloaded as experienced by her and Ghost. She also appears as a non-player character in 2005’s The Matrix: Path of Neo and The Matrix Online, briefing Zion resistance players and rewarding them with special items following the conclusion of missions. Niobe is betrayed by one of her subordinates Anome and wounded in Chapter 5.1 of The Matrix Online, but was canonically rescued by Ghost and a team of players in Chapter 5.2. So as far as canon’s concerned, she’s been chilling in the real world ever since the end of The Matrix Revolutions.
The appearance of an aged Niobe in the second trailer for The Matrix Resurrections suggests that a significant time has passed in the real world since the conclusion of The Matrix Revolutions, and that she may have become one of the Zion elders in the time since the last film. As for the state of the last human city on Earth, and the ultimate fate of her lover Morpheus, those questions are still left to be answered when The Matrix Resurrections releases in theaters and on HBO Max on Dec. 22.