*from Latin mātrix (genitive mātricis) “pregnant animal”

*Online Etymology Dictionary

HANNAH SHAW-WILLIAMS wrote at screenrant.com on FEB 05, 2020:

“The Oracle is a core part of the Matrix movies’ mythology, appearing in all three films – but the character was recast in between The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. A powerful program within the Matrix, the Oracle was memorably played by Gloria Foster in The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded. When Foster passed away before filming her role in The Matrix Revolutions, she was replaced with actress Mary Alice, and an explanation for the Oracle’s new appearance was written into the movies.

When Neo first meets the Oracle in The Matrix, she is an enigmatic woman who is revered by members of the Resistance. Inside a humble apartment she acts as a guardian and mentor for young children who have the potential to be “the One” – a prophesied savior of mankind. It’s not until The Matrix Reloaded that Neo discovers the Oracle is herself a program and a part of the Matrix. Originally created to stabilize the Matrix through her deep understanding of the human psyche, the Oracle went into exile after fulfilling her prescribed purpose, and began helping humans to fight their imprisonment by the machines.

The in-universe explanation for the change in the Oracle’s appearance between The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Reloaded was that her outer shell was destroyed by a villainous program called the Merovingian. The programs Rama Kandra and Kamala made a deal with the Merovingian, exchanging the Oracle’s termination code for safe passage of their daughter, Sati, into the Matrix. The Oracle, believing Sati to be extremely important to the future of both humans and machines, allowed her outer shell to be destroyed and later found a way to rebuild herself. The real-world reason behind the Oracle’s recasting, however, is rather sad.

Gloria Foster passed away due to complications from diabetes on September 29, 2001, at the age of 67. Born in 1933, Foster first rose to prominence in the 1960s for her role in the off-Broadway play In White America, and went on to have a prolific career both on the stage and screen. She even once co-starred with Mary Alice, the actress who took on the role of the Oracle for The Matrix Revolutions, in the Broadway play Having Our Say.

Mary Alice is now 78 years old and appears to have retired from acting, with her last screen role being a guest role in an episode of Kojak that aired in 2005. While it’s possible that director Lana Wachowski might bring her back for upcoming sequel The Matrix 4, it’s more likely that we’ll see the Oracle recast again – if she appears at all.”

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