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Transmedia starts with film: The Matrix

A case study: The Matrix

Although The Matrix series is best known for its three feature-length live-action films, the story and characters have been adapted into an animated film and a PC and online game, among other platforms.

These adaptations were not merely a simple tweak of the original content, but were created specifically for their respective mediums, demonstrating each incarnation’s level of autonomy and own independent story. The result is a network of content forming a flexible grid of various latitudes and longitudes. While some audience members may only wish to consume the contents of a single platform—which is perfectly acceptable—experiencing all Matrix-related content leads to a much richer, integrative type of entertainment. This is a new kind of transmedia experience, something that can be classified as a proactive expansion of a text-based narrative.

In Convergence Culture, Jenkins dissects a high-speed chase scene from The Matrix Reloaded (2003) in which the character Niobe perfectly times a rescue of Morpheus and Trinity, a contrast to the game, Enter the Matrix, where Niobe’s mission is to communicate rendezvous points instead. Toward the end of film, Niobe and her team are tasked with destroying a power station, but it is only in the game that the details of this mission are thoroughly revealed. And although Niobe is abandoned in the climax of the game, she appears in the very first scene of the third film, The Matrix Revolutions (2003).

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Transmedia Storytelling

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