The Louisiana-born actor confirmed the news via Instagram on Friday
The legacy of an iconic Black film character has a new torchbearer.
Actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II confirmed the rumors he will play the role of Morpheus in the upcoming movie The Matrix Resurrections, the fourth installment in the popular science-fiction series.
Following the highly-anticipated release of the film’s trailer on Thursday, speculation quickly ensued about the identity of an uncredited actor seen dressed as the timeless character originally portrayed by Laurence Fishburne.
Abdul-Mateen put all rumors to rest on Friday with a single word: “MORPHEUS,” he wrote in the caption of an Instagram photo depicting the 35-year-old donning the iconic Morpheus shades and a leather coat, staring directly into the camera while armed with two guns.
The news elicited an outpouring of congratulatory comments on social media from fans of the long-running movie franchise and fans of the burgeoning actor alike.
”I am all here for the rise of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. From Baywatch to Aquaman to Watchmen (!!) to Trial of the Chicago 7 to Candyman and now The Matrix Resurrections. Barely 4 years in and already a handful of iconic roles. So awesome. Can’t wait to see him unleash in Matrix 4,” wrote Twitter user @firstshowing.
“i really feel like yahya abdul-mateen II has already taken on some remarkable roles and that he is only just getting started,” wrote Twitter user @its_willyu.
“Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is going down as a legend,” wrote Twitter user @chuuzus.
As several fans noted, going into his latest role, Abdul-Mateen has already amassed an impressive resumé of acting credits throughout his career.
The Louisiana-born actor earned his first major role in 2016 as Clarence “Cadillac” Caldwell in Netflix’s The Get Down, created by Baz Luhrmann in collaboration with legendary hip-hop artists Nas and Grandmaster Flash.
Abdul-Mateen later starred in DC Comics’ 2018 film Aquaman as Black Manta and in Jordan Peele’s acclaimed 2019 film Us as Russel Thomas and his doppleganger, Weyland.
Also in 2019, Abdul-Mateen starred in an episode of Netflix’s dystopian science-fiction show Black Mirror, and starred as Doctor Manhattan in HBO’s superhero drama series Watchmen, earning his first Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for the role later in 2020.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II attends The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Hollywood Reporter party at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto on September 07, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter)
In his virtual acceptance speech, Abdul-Mateen dedicated his win to the Black women in his life.
“‘Watchmen’ was a story about trauma. It was a story about the lasting scars of white domestic terrorism. It was a story about police corruption and brutality, but in the midst of all that, it was also a story about a God who came down to Earth to reciprocate, to a Black woman, all the love she deserved…He did all that in the body of a Black man, and I’m so proud that I was able to walk into those shoes. So, I dedicate this award to all of the Black women in my life,” Abdul-Mateen said.
The original film in The Matrix series, directed by sisters Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski, was released in 1999, followed by sequels “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” in 2003.
18 years later, the series returns with the latest film, starring previous cast members such as Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Daniel Bernhardt alongside new members including Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, Jessica Henwick and Neil Patrick Harris.
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