David’s Oddities will be an irregular column here on Watch.Read.Listen. in which he talks about the weird rabbit holes he ends up going down when obsessed with a subject. Join him. But you’ve been warned. Things might get weird (not gross weird…but weird weird).
Advisory: Might Contain Language You Don’t LIke (David doesn’t care and is writing this in the third person anyways).
Alright, this might be a long one. I’m definitely going to try my best to present the facts as I have been able to ascertain them. But remember, I’m relying on the internet for my info (hence the whole point of the article), so take whatever I write with a grain of salt (I know I do, and we are talking about my own thoughts here). These oddities (as I am calling them for now) are strange. But hopefully I can give you some strange insight while being mildly funny as well. Some of this shit is going to get strange (and might make your head hurt, as mine does just trying to think of the information I have to thread together to write this gosh-darn article).
Ever heard of her?
If you go down the strange rabbit hole of the internet (there is a payoff to all this rabbit hole talk, I swear), you might turn up a juicy nugget. The 1999 film The Matrix (written and directed by The Wachowskis, allegedly), was actually written by Sophia Stewart. Her claim, oddly, is that the Wachowski’s were looking for storylines for comic books, and she sent them an outline for a story called The Third Eye but never heard back from them.
That’s the start.
But I need to rewind a second.
All of these Oddities come about for me because I start reading about one subject, and that in turn, leads to me finding these things. It could be something as innocent as a Google search. In this case it was Larry Wachowski. For those who might not be in the know (and hey, I have to assume you don’t), Larry is now Lana Wachowski. But not only that, the other half of the duo, brother Andy, has now recently come out as Lilly. Transgender siblings, cool. That is where this whole thread started.
I was reading up on the reasoning that Lilly decided to come out as trans, and somehow it led to me reading an article about Sophia Stewart and how the Wachowski’s had ripped her off.
Now, before we go further let me shoot the elephant in the room. I have no problem with transgender folks. In fact I am not even critiquing the Wachowski’s here. They made one of my favorite films (The Matrix), and while the majority of their work post that is hit or miss for myself. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them as artists. I personally could not give a shit what they want to identify as. They make the art they want to make, and I love them for that.
Now that all of that is out of the way.
Accusations of plagiarism are fairly abundant in the entertainment industry. We read about them all the time. Just recently, before the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, a lawsuit was leveled against Joss Whedon, and Drew Goddard for their film, The Cabin in the Woods. I won’t go into the boring details, but when something comes out of nowhere and makes a splash, this usually happens and we just don’t hear about it that often.
The Matrix was that film back in 1999.
I remember seeing commercials and honestly, nothing about it peeked my interest. I sincerely thought this was a film that would quickly be out of theaters, and I would end up watching it on HBO, or something, a year later. But my best friend Justin (who’s birthday it is while I write this) asked me if I wanted to go with a friend of ours when I got out of work. I had an ulterior motive for going (a girl, ding! ding!) so I was cool with going. After all, we had a four day weekend due to Easter, and I didn’t have to work the next day so we caught a late showing.
Needless to say I was pretty blown away. So much, that I waited rather impatiently for the sequels which would come out four years later (much to my disappointment, but more about that another time). But if you type into the ole’ Google anything regarding The Matrix or The Wachowski’s you might find yourself coming across Sophia Stewart, the self-described Mother of The Matrix.
From one of her numerous websites:
“Screen writer Sophia Stewart, better known as The Mother of the Matrix and author of the books “The Third Eye,” AND “Matrix 4 The Evolution, Cracking the Codes”, finally got her day in court on June 25, 2014, with damages in the billions. After eleven years of fighting in both the California (CV 03-2873-MMM (VBKx) and Utah (2:07cv00552-EFJ-DB) Federal Courts, she was finally able to enter the evidence proving she wrote and own the Matrix and Terminator Franchises. Stewart won the lawsuit Pro Se without an attorney. The Matrix which was released in 1999,starred actors Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie Ann Moss was listed as one of the most successful box office hits in the history of the movie industry. M4 book is a conversion and explanation of both the Terminator and the Matrix franchises. To date, the billion dollar Matrix franchise has been sitting dormant for seven years since the last installment in 2003. The newly released published M4 book will finally address the questions that for years many fans have sought to have answered in the sequels of the Matrix. The future M4 Movie will feature cyber, techno, cinematography, epic special effects, hidden code sequences, and unique concepts, that will surpass Stewart’s past creative work used to revolutionize the movie industry and that of the first Matrix Movie. Furthermore, Stewart has expressed interest in having the original cast, and technical people of the Matrix Trilogies to continue her creativity. Stewart attended USC Film School in Los Angeles, California and has a degree in Journalism with a major in law/Psychology.”
Now, I find it funny that the first thing she has listed is that she got her day in court. Considering that her intial lawsuit was thrown out in 2005 (when she failed to show up for court). So of course, I did some digging.
Both cases she sites don’t show her winning anything. In the Utah case everything was dismissed. The California case? REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST JONATHAN LUBELL (this is copied from the actual case file online). So who is Jonathan Lubell? Does he have anything to do with The Matrix film series? I’ve never heard of him. If you go to one of her other websites it turns out this is her former attorney.
So, from what I’ve gleaned, she actually hasn’t provided any sort of proof that she owns, or created, The Matrix series. I mean, in the long and short of all of this, this is small potatoes. It’s not relevant to world events, and if you visit one of Mrs. Stewart’s numerous websites, you don’t get any real evidence.
I’m a nerd. I go down these rabbit holes because I’m curious. I partly want to know about the human condition that would make another human believe that something, of a creative nature, was taken from them. I’m a glutton for punishment in my weird, little obsessions. This shit makes my head hurt for all the wrong reasons.
Because while I’m reading all of this, I get to a portion about her claiming the FBI said that there is proof she also had a hand in creating The Terminator series. And because I’m a nerd, all I can think is: What about Harlan?
Just click on his name, and you get a quick summary of what I am talking about.
Harlan Ellison went and saw The Terminator one night, and he loved it, thought it was great addition in science fiction film making. He also noticed that it bore a strong similarity to a story he had written back in 1957 (“Soldier From Tomorrow“) and it’s adaptation in an Outer Limits episode that aired in 1964 (simply titled “Soldier”).
Ellison’s suit was settled out of court by Orion Pictures and Hemdale (the production company) and all subsequent Home Video releases say as much.
So, if Mrs. Stewart owns the copyrights to both The Matrix, and The Terminator franchises, she might want to talk to Mr. Ellison first. There is actual precident to Harlan Ellison’s claims. I’m thinking though, if you take a gander through some of the links I’ve provided, that it won’t be happening anytime soon.
The funny conclusion to me in all of this, is that the Wachowski’s have been fairly upfront about what influenced them to make The Matrix films in the first place (Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard, the many novels of Philip K. Dick, and William Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy, this is just a surface listing of the numerous things that made The Matrix what it is). I remember reading Neuromancer for the first time and knowing exactly what The Wachowski’s were going for with Trinity (hint: razorgirl, Molly Millions).
But hey, for all the influence, William Gibson (writer of Neuromancer) said he loved how The Matrix elevated sci-fi filmmaking, and he didn’t sue anyone despite probably having more of a case.
I am kind of using this to point out that the amount of misinformation that could be spread around the internet (people are still sharing the Sophia Stewart story this day, she even has a gofundme page to help with court costs), and I am of course doing so ironically on the internet (because fuck you how else am I going to write this to the masses).
Just goes to show you the strange things you can find on the internet.
*Don’t get mad at my brother, this is just my ramblings and I take full responsibility for them.
**At the end of it all, this is just my thoughts on crap I found on the internet. I could be proven wrong or a complete idiot. Possibly both. But probably not.