A brief history of LEGO and The Matrix, from movies to video games

The LEGO Group has celebrated the release of The Matrix Resurrections with a social media post, but it’s not the first time the brick has crossed paths with the sci-fi franchise.

While the company’s Instagram post probably wasn’t hinting at official sets based on The Matrix any time soon – although you never know – we don’t need to look too far back to find a time when one of the movie’s characters popped up in official LEGO media.

We’re talking specifically about Agent Smith, as portrayed by Hugo Weaving in the original trilogy of films, who first cameoed in LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game in 2012. You’ll need to look closely to spot him: he’s hiding in the background of a shot with Elrond (also portrayed by Weaving – see what they did there, etc.) in The Fellowship of the Ring.

He then appeared again in The LEGO Batman Movie and its accompanying story pack for LEGO Dimensions, bringing the franchise further into the fold under the LEGO Group’s partnership with Warner Bros. The rights for the LEGO movies have since passed on to Universal Pictures, however, so it’s unlikely any Matrix characters will appear in future films.

A rumoured list of franchises for the scrapped third year of LEGO Dimensions content, meanwhile, doesn’t include The Matrix – suggesting Agent Smith’s cameo was basically as far as that intellectual property was going to go in the franchise-hopping video game.

But that doesn’t mean physical products are off the table altogether: the LEGO Group still has a working relationship with Warner Bros. for themes like Harry Potter and Batman. What might preclude it from making The Matrix sets is actually its stance towards R-rated movies, as recently re-emphasised to Brick Fanatics by LEGO for Adults Head of Product Gen Cruz.

“It will never be the case that we can do [a subject] because it’s okay for adults – if it’s not okay for kids, then that will definitely still be a no,” she said. “It will never be approved if it doesn’t pass through the more stringent rules that we have specific to our kids’ side of the business.”

The Matrix

All four of the mainline Matrix films are rated R in the US, or 15 in the UK, which would likely put them beyond the grasp of the LEGO Group – even with its new 18+ badge in mind. But hey, if we’re not getting official Matrix sets, there’s always the fan community to fill the void. That’s the beauty of LEGO: you can always do it yourself.

And plenty of fans have over the years, from stop-motion videos – like this bullet-time classic, which is full of the sort of nostalgic custom minifigures we were all assembling in the early ‘00s – to a fully-fleshed-out concept for a LEGO video game based on the first three Matrix films, along with the animated spin-off The Animatrix.

The Matrix Resurrections is in cinemas now, starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

One thought on “A brief history of LEGO and The Matrix, from movies to video games

  • 25/12/2021 at 15:54
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    How did you all not get the reference to The Matrix franchise that was in LEGO City Undercover?

    Reply

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