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Decoding Sati’s role in the larger Matrix universe

Priyanka Chopra stars in the fourth Matrix as an old program with a new mission

The Matrix Resurrections sees the return of several key characters from the original Matrix trilogy in addition to human protagonists Neo and Trinity. Of all the characters confirmed to appear in the film, arguably none are more mysterious than Priyanka Chopra’s Sati.

Originally introduced in 2003’s The Matrix Revolutions, Sati (Tanveer K. Atwal) is an “exile” program and a “child” of Rama-Kandra and Kamala, a power plant systems manager and interactive software program created by the Machines. Having been created without a purpose, Sati’s existence is threatened by the Machines, who believe that all programs must either have a purpose or face deletion. Desperate to save his daughter, Rama-Kandra meets with the Merovingian in The Matrix Reloaded to convince him to safely shepherd Sati from the Machine world into the Matrix. In exchange, Rama-Kandra gives The Merovingian the termination codes for the Oracle’s shell, which he hoped to use as leverage against her in order to gain access to her supposed powers of clairvoyance.

After falling unconscious at the end of The Matrix Reloaded, Neo meets Sati, Rama-Kanda, and Kamala in the Mobil Avenue station, a liminal virtual world that exists between the Machine world and The Matrix and is controlled by The Merovingian’s subordinate, the Trainman. Before leaving with the Trainman to free his daughter from The Matrix, Rama-Kandra tells Neo that Sati will be looked after by the Oracle, who promises to take care of her when Rama-Kandra and Kamala are forced to return to the Machine world. The next time we see Sati, she’s seen baking cookies with the Oracle shortly before she, Seraph, and the Oracle are assimilated by Agent Smith and transformed into three more of his many doppelgängers. And the final time we see the young girl is seen is right before the end of the Matrix Revolutions, when she’s reunited with Oracle following the defeat of Agent Smith and the subsequent rebooting of the Matrix. Using her heretofore unknown ability, Sati creates a brilliant sunrise in the Matrix in honor of Neo and his sacrifice, and asks the Oracle if they will ever see him again, to which the Oracle replies “I believe so.”

[Ed. note: the rest of this story contains spoilers for The Matrix Resurrections.]

In The Matrix Resurrections, 60 years have passed since the events of The Matrix Revolutions. In the aftermath of the third film, the Machines did in fact honor the truce brokered with Neo, and allowed any human who desired to leave the Matrix to do so unimpeded. But as we learn in the new film, with a greater number of humans breaking away from the Matrix, the Machines found themselves unable to generate sufficient energy to survive off of. This leads to a civil war among the Machines, which ends with the creation of a new Matrix designed by a program known as the Analyst and the “purging” of several programs including the Architect, the Oracle, and Rama-Kandra.

Sati, now played by Chopra, has managed to survive the past 60 years thanks to the aid of a sentient program. From her place inside the new Matrix, she looks after Neo, who has once again been imprisoned in order to conceal both his and Trinity’s survival from Niobe and the surviving human population of IO in order to prevent the possibility of another war.

After Neo is freed from the Matrix once again by Bugs and the crew of the Mnemosyne, Sati reveals that her father Rama-Kandra was responsible for the building the “resurrection pods” created to imprison and siphon off energy from Neo and Trinity, and that her father gave her the blueprints to the building’s construction shortly before his own deletion. Using her knowledge of the building, Sati helps Neo and company orchestrate Trinity’s rescue as a means of destabilizing the Analyst’s power over the Matrix.

The concept of a “program without a purpose” is one of the most intriguing ideas introduced in the original Matrix trilogy that sadly went more or less unexplored. Sati is the closest artificial analog to a human being in the entire series, a being whose absence of “purpose” affords her a level of agency and possibility otherwise unthinkable in a system designed solely around survival through human subjugation. In essence, she represents a future for the Machines beyond the Matrix, one in which human and artificially intelligent beings alike work to rebuild a world destroyed generations before their time. IO, the first human-machine city created in the wake of Neo’s sacrifice, is another symbol of such a future and, if the ending of The Matrix Resurrections is to be taken at face, will certainly not be the last of its kind.