Recently I found an article quoting an IMDb Factoid that the character Switch in The Matrix was supposed to be played by two actors, one male and one female:

When Belinda McClory auditioned for the role of "Switch", she was only going for half the role. The character was originally planned to be played by androgynous actors. In the real world, it would be played by a male actor and in the Matrix be represented in a female form, hence the name "Switch". Warner Brothers refined the idea and McClory ended up getting a single female role in both environments.

There are a couple of other similar statements but none that I can find cite to any hard sources.

Other sites simply say that Switch is just another reference to computer terminology.

Switch's name may be a reference to a network switch, or any number of "switches" used in computer technology. Many other Matrix characters' names reference computer technology, such as "Mouse" and "Link". The name Switch could also be a reference to her white clothing ('switched' from the usual black attire worn by the others).

I'd love to believe the former is true. I think it's great that Larry/Lana was trying to share herself in a small way from so early in her career. I also think that this would have made for a very interesting added facet to the film (Would Trans people have even existed inside The Matrix?... mind... blown).

I also know that The Wachowskis are well known for being very quiet and reserved, avoiding media and interviews, so finding concrete evidence may be difficult.

I'd love to see if anyone can find some hard evidence and, lacking that, any soft evidence that makes a strong argument one way or the other.

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    Congratulations, this question is the winner of the corresponding topic challenge.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Feb 16, 2015 at 1:32
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    There is another link but not nearly a hard evidence. omgfacts.com/lists/9047/…
    – Vishvesh
    Apr 15, 2015 at 3:28
  • @Vishvesh it's actually a duplicate. It uses the IMDb trivia page as a source.
    – Catija
    Apr 15, 2015 at 3:32
  • Switch is not a reference to differing people such as different actors. It's basically referring to your second idea of a literal switch. When in the Matrix, she is switched on, hence wears white. Though the stranger question is then does that mean in some way that Morpheus, Neo, Trinity etc are not as switched on as Switch herself??
    – Banananana
    Apr 22, 2015 at 12:02
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    The club Neo went to with Trinity was "The Hellfire Club" in Sydney Australia. Most patrons of this club fall into two categories: Dom or Sub. I will not get into the particulars of what these two titles mean there, but, a "Switch" is a term given to someone who can fit into BOTH categories. Although rarely playing both roles while interacting with the same person.
    – Ronk
    Sep 26, 2015 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


It only took 5 years and 6 months for a source to surface. Lilly Wachowski (formerly known as Andy Wachowski) says, indeed, Switch was supposed to have different genders in the Matrix and Real World in recent NetFlix interview.

She says, among other things:

... we had the character of Switch who was like a character, who'd be like a man in the Real World, and then a woman in the Matrix

It's worth seeing the interview, as she talks about the corporate meddling, but yes, Switch was supposed to be a trans person with a different mental body image that'd represent him/herself as the opposite gender in the Matrix.

As a side note, this question is so old, back then Lilly hadn't come out as transgender woman yet. But the likelihood of the idea grows exponentially when not just one, but both of the creators eventually came to reveal themselves as transgender.

  • That would've been so mind-blowing if it had gotten in the movie...
    – Luciano
    Aug 21, 2020 at 9:49

An original script draft for "The Matrix" from 3 June 1997 was posted on the Russian Science fiction site sfy.iv.ru; it's still accessible via the Internet Wayback Machine.

In the script, Switch is referenced as "a beautiful androgyne", but the pronoun "her" is used to describe the character both inside and outside The Matrix itself.

Sorry, while there is the possibility mentioned in the novelization of the film, and there is fan fiction dependent upon both change of gender and change of race, it appears that the "Switch" character is an androgynous female in both places.

If you want a Wachowski film that has massive amounts of gender switching as a main plot thread, try "Cloud Atlas" instead.

Internet Wayback Machine pointer to script

  • There was no novelisation of the film
    – user7812
    Dec 19, 2015 at 19:34
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    For the record, there's no characterisation for Switch in the 1996 version of the script, just a name. She is referred to throughout as "she", though.
    – user7812
    Dec 19, 2015 at 19:35
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    I don't know that referring to someone as "she" necessarily precludes the possibility of them being physically male.
    – Catija
    Dec 20, 2015 at 20:01
  • The three drafts of the script (from 1996, 97 and 98, although all very similar) can be also found here: script-o-rama.com/table3.shtml
    – mzywiol
    Jun 20, 2017 at 15:00

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