Lilly Wachowski, director of trilogy, has confirmed the movies are a trans story.
The first film made its debut in 1999, and since then Lilly, along with her sister and co-director Lana, has come out as transgender. Lana did so in 2010, while Lilly followed six years later.
Now Lilly has addressed how many trans people relate to the films, and confirmed the movies do have a transgender narrative.
In an interview with Netflix Film Club, Lilly said:
I’m glad that people are talking about movies with a trans narrative. I love that’s how meaningful the films are to trans people in the way that they come up to me and say, ‘These movies saved my life’.
When you talk about transformation specifically in the world of science fiction, which is just about imagination and world building and the idea of the seemingly impossible becoming possible, I think is like – that’s why it speaks to them.
She continued that she is glad that it’s emerged that it was the original intention of the movies to have a trans narrative, but added that ‘the world wasn’t quite ready’ for that when the films originally came out.
Lilly was then asked if her identity played part in the writing and directing of
I don’t know how present my trans-ness was in the background of my brain as we were writing it but it came from the same sort of fire. Because trans people exist – especially for me and Lana – we were existing in a space where the words didn’t exist so, we were always living in a world of imagination; that’s why I gravitated towards science fiction and fantasy.
Forms of escapism like books, movies and TV shows have always provided great solace for people within the trans community and wider LGBTQ+ communities. When fiction addresses themes of transformation or self definition, it’s often not a big stretch to see how a trans person might connect with that.
It may be that, like Lilly, at the time of consuming this media the trans person watching it isn’t quite ready to explore their gender, and therefore find comfort in exploring themselves in a more abstract way through science fiction.
The fourth instalment of franchise is currently in the works and is set to drop April 2022 with Keanu Reeves returning as lead character Neo.