One of the most bizarre exchanges on Twitter in recent memory ended with one of the co-creators of The Matrix cursing at Elon Musk and Ivanka Trump. On Sunday, Musk tweeted "take the red pill" — a reference to The Matrix that has come so far as a meme that many do not recognize its origins anymore. When Ivanka replied "Taken!" filmmaker Lilly Wachowski had a harsh reply for the two.
"F— both of you," Wachowski tweeted. The director received a strong reaction for her blunt reply, racking up tens of thousands of retweets briefly going viral. Wachowski co-wrote and co-directed The Matrix and its two sequels with her sister, Lana Wachowski. Musk's "red pill" reference originates in the first Matrix movie, although in the years since it has taken on some very different connotations in online circles. This weekend, many fans felt they were seeing Wachowski take it back.
Fuck both of you— Lilly Wachowski (@lilly_wachowski) May 17, 2020
In The Matrix, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) offers Neo (Keanu Reeves) a choice between a a blue pill and a red pill. "You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe," he says. "You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I'm offering is the truth, nothing more."
The term "red pill" was soon adopted by various online communities, taken to refer to a generally non-conformist way of thinking. However, according to KnowYourMeme.com, it has become particularly synonymous with "men's rights activism," including a large MRA group that documentarian Cassie Jaye identified as "a hate movement."
Whether Musk was referring to these kinds of online subcultures or not, many readers interpreted his tweet that way. Even if he was directly quoting The Matrix, it was clear that Wachowski did not appreciate the shout-out. Wachowski describes herself as a "former filmmaker" on Twitter, as she is no longer working with her sister Lana on upcoming films. Lana is currently directing The Matrix 4, a long-awaited sequel to the series starring members of the original cast and newcomers as well. Lilly is not involved in the project.
Lana Wachowski co-wrote the screenplay for The Matrix 4 with Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell. Fans have high hopes for the sequel, which was filming when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Production shut down abruptly due to the virus, but it is scheduled to resume on July 6, assuming it is safe and legal. The Matrix 4 is currently slated for release on May 21, 2021.