Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for The Matrix Resurrections.
The concept of Zion in The Matrix series is probably one of the more comprehensible things in the film. Downloading kung-fu into your brain? Using human beings as batteries? The Milli Vanilli Italian twins with dreads? The Architect's weird affected speech and manner of speaking? The fact that Neil Patrick Harris is (spoiler alert) the bad guy in the new movie? All of these hurt one's brain to comprehend.
But the concept of Zion and what happened to it in part four of the series is a little easier to understand.
So what happened to Zion in 'Matrix 4'?
We're going to have to delve deep into some Matrix lore to understand what became of Zion. First off, what is Zion? That's the name of the "human haven" outside of the Matrix that people choose to live in. It looks like a sweaty, industrial-music-themed playground where people wear tattered clothes and live in the "real world" free from the fakery of the cold sheen, sunglasses, and boring office jobs of the Matrix.
We learn in the original Matrix trilogy that Zion's been destroyed by the machines multiple times and that there have been no fewer than six different Matrix simulations to keep humanity fooled so that robots can continue to breed members of our species to use as batteries.
There were other "Ones" (like Neo) to combat the simulations that all had a deep-rooted love for humanity, but Keanu Reeves was different.
His love for humanity was compounded and deeply rooted in his singular love for Trinity. This means that for all of the gun violence, cartwheels, bullet-dodging, and aerial fighting, The Matrix is at its core a love story. Neo was willing to sacrifice himself to keep Trinity alive, and all of that love pretty much destroyed the Matrix simulation.
He was able to defeat the machines and Agent Smith and created a treaty between the robots and humanity. Any human that wanted to leave the Matrix simulation and go and live in stinky Zion was free to do so, and that's how the third Matrix film ended.
However, some tomfoolery went on between the third and fourth films.
There have been civil wars among machines and humans in the 'Matrix 4.'
Sixty years have gone by between Revolutions and Resurrections, and for some time, there was peace between machines and humanity. Neo and Trinity's love were such significant energy sources in the Matrix algorithm and the machines realized that without them, they couldn't power their A.I. The Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) realizes this and decides it is time to enslave the two once again.
The machines have preserved the two for as best as they could (hence, why they experienced decelerated aging), and to run more efficiently the Analyst also purged a bunch of programs. That's why the Merovingian was in hiding and the Oracle was presumably deleted.
Human beings also had their own tiffs, and Niobe — along with other humans — decided that they could do better than Zion.
So they created a new human sanctuary, Io, with the help of the machines. Humans are able to grow produce instead of just dancing around in a sweaty, crazed orgy. Morpheus doesn't like the idea of Neo and Trinity becoming enslaved in the Matrix once again, but there are some humans who believe that this is for the greater good of humanity.
It's implied in the fourth movie that the robot civil war culminated in the destruction of Zion. There's nothing to indicate the longstanding fan theory that Zion is actually an extended "simulation" of The Matrix that gives humanity the false sense of freedom is true, and The Matrix Resurrections is just further proof of that.
If that was the case, then it makes Morpheus' Zion rave scene from Matrix: Reloaded all the more infuriating for some.
Matrix: Resurrections is now in theaters and is streaming on HBO Max. Will you be checking it out?