“MOTHER, MAY I?” Will Sophia Stewart ever get her just desserts?
Your answer, of course, is contingent upon whether or not you believe the controversial so-called “urban myth” surrounding Ms. Stewart, who claims to be the mastermind behind the billion dollar franchises of The Matrix and Terminator, and not the famed Wachowskis and the Warner Brothers movie mecca.
Sophia Stewart’s story is as epic as the blockbuster movies themselves, and although you would be hard pressed to find a morsel about this in the “established” mainstream media for the last 15 years, you’ll find a treasure trove of information on the web via blog sites, YouTube videos, downloadable court document pdfs, and even Stewart’s original manuscript, ‘The Third Eye’ — that she alleges both The Matrix and Terminator were adapted from — available for sale on Amazon.com. What’s more intriguing is she’s just completed a screenplay called (you guessed it!, or not) ‘The Matrix 4’ which she is shopping around looking for producers for.
Now it’s important to note that Ms. Stewart, who is African-American and a professed writer, is not claiming that she is responsible for the success of the action-packed science fiction sagas and the millions of dollars worth of off-shoots such as video games, comic books, action figure dolls and animated shorts, etc. What she does insists upon is that her ideas were stolen from her, then used without permission, credit, or financial compensation. She seeks acknowledgement from the courts of her ownership of the ideas for the movies, legal and binding ownership under the protection of the Intellectual Property Law which deals with the rules for securing and enforcing legal rights to inventions, designs, and artistic works. Just as the law protects ownership of personal property and real estate, it also protects the exclusive control of intangible assets, like an idea for, let’s say … a science-fiction action drama. A common thread among many of the online forums discussing the case, is that Stewart could not take credit for the movies whatsoever because it wasn’t the plot that made them successful, it was the action. This point is moot and misses the entire crux of Ms. Stewart’s claims.
What Stewart claims, is that in June, 1981 she submitted her legally copyrighted and otherwise legally documented 6 page manuscript entitled, “The Third Eye”, to 2oth Century Fox – Productions (now owned by Warner Brothers) for consideration. She
received a rejection letter but shortly afterwards got a callback from a representative of the company, expressing an interest in her story and asking to see more of her work, which she was unable to provide until 1983, when she completed a more fleshed-out screenplay treatment. She submitted this revised work to Century-Fox. After no response for two years, Sophia, through her agent, sent the manuscript out once more, this time receiving a rejection letter from a different representative (see letter communiques below).
Speed ahead about 14 years later, in 1999, when the first MATRIX film was released and Stewart realizes that her work has been appropriated by the Wachowskis. She filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement in 2003 against them, Warner Bros., Joel Silver (Producer of ‘The Matrix”), Village Roadshow Entertainment, James Cameron (Director of ‘The Terminator’, Gale Ann Hurd (Producer for ‘The Terminator’) and THE TERMINATOR franchise.
BRIEF BIO OF WRITER SOPHIA STEWART FROM THE NET
- Received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in journalism and minors in law and psychology from the City University of New York.
- While attending the University, studied under authors Max Segal a former journalist of the New York Times. Publisher, editor, essayist, and critic, Emile Capouya, and Paul Cherry, a playwright for Broadway.
- Served as an intern for television at the Public Broadcasting Station WNET Thirteen, where she worked with Oscar winning film documentary producer, Perry Miller Adato.
- Studied cinema at the University of Southern California (USC) where she had the opportunity to study film under the auspices of producer Leon Roth, father of Eric Roth, screenwriter of the movie Forrest Gump.
- By the early 80’s started writing professionally. An association with entertainer Janet Jackson involved Stewart in a special project that enabled her to write her first television scripts entitled “My Special Love” and “Blue Short.” During this period Ms. Stewart also had the opportunity to work at Columbia Pictures in the office of Vice President Dick Berres. It was at Columbia Pictures where Dick Berres supported her aspirations to write and gave Sophia five first draft scripts. One was called “From Here to Eternity.”
SOME FACT FINDING
In a 2014 interview with L3 Magazine writer Natasha Von Castle, Stewart talked about the content, meaning and symbolism of her story “The Third Eye”:
NVC: Sophia! For you to write not one , but two stories that have impacted the technological geeks who also understand the spiritual message presented, and who also connect with concept tat we are being controlled by the system or, machines is beyond human [sic]. How did the concept of The Matrix and Terminator come to you?
SS: I have to tell you that the Matrix and Terminator are actually 2 stories, but one phenomenal story. There was so much work; a script treatment and work, that it was divided to become 2 great movie franchises (by Warner Brothers my addition)
Once you write a book, such as JR Tolkien (Lord of The Rings) and John Grisham (The Firm and Pelican Brief) Hollywood has a way of doing what they want with an author’s work, they have a history of doing that, and that’s what they did with this. Hollywood will buy the work or steal the work; they are not people who go out and write the stuff. If they could write it they wouldn’t buy or steal it.
“How it originally began is Sarah Connor was originally Neo’s mother, he was an anagram and this was my way of calling him ‘the one’. What I wrote was the second coming of Christ and the evolution of consciousness which is man versus the machine. In other words its the revelation plight story caught up in science fiction form. When you look at John Connor, JC, is Jesus Christ. grows up to be Neo in the Matrix.” ~ Sophia Stewart
Matrix is the Latin word meaning coming out of the womb, and Matrix is mentioned 5 times in the bible. The first (Exodus 34 verse 19) says: all that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among they cattle, whether ox or sheep that is male. The reason why this is important is because God knew that in the future man would have the knowledge of God, and would create his own children – without souls. These children are born in petri dishes, test tubes, artificial insemination etc., and its only out of a mother’s womb can a child have a soul, and that’s what God wants.
What makes a woman a woman is a womb. No many how many hormones and operations they create, a man can never become a woman. This is how God’s (my emphasis) children are born.
“When you look at the Terminator, you will know that there is no way James Cameron or anyone else could have written that book. Think about the Cyborgs, the micro-chip, the machine — I was born in the digital era, I was inspired by God to write what I wrote. The first coming of Christ is written about in the Bible, and the second coming, which is referred to in Revelations, is what I visualized and that’s what you see in the movie Terminator. The idea is John Connor would go up against the machines which is what was going to come in the future. These stories were meant to be viewed from the point of view of Christ.” ~ Sophia Stewart
NVC: After you wrote your book ‘The Third Eye’ in 1981 (which is the basis for The Matrix and Terminator), what did you do? Was it published and sold in book stores, did you send it to film studios? Where did it go?
SS: It was copyrighted in 1981,1983 and 1984, then I shopped it to 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures with a script. I went to film school, have a degree in journalism and have a double degree in law, so I was familiar with the process of how submissions work.
NVC: Where was the case filed against the movie company?
SS: It was filed in Utah. I happened to be in Utah at the time, although I am originally from New York. I was there visiting family when I first discovered the theft of the Matrix movie — March 31st, 1999. Right away I got in touch with Warner Brothers, and they connected me to the in-house attorney and told him to pay me. There was no opposition and there was no rejection to the fact that it was my work. Most of what was written in the media were lies. I have the transcripts where they tell Judge Morrow that they stole The Matrix from me 18 odd years ago. Everything is there. They wanted the judge to gag me as part of the settlement, in essence saying that if I talk about the case they can take the money back. I said no. This is what they do, and this is why a lot of people don’t talk about their cases.
source: L3 Magazine
NOT FOR NOTHING, but it’s a bit suspicious that the Wachowskis, being the writers of the Matrix, could not be found anywhere in mainstream or streaming media explaining to their legions of fans (I, for one) the plot of the movie? Lord knows hundreds of forums sites were created to fill the void.
Since The Matrix and its sequels, the Wachowskis had not produced any other original work until 2015, their adaptation of Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta , which decidedly lacked Matrix’s depth. Their adaptation of manga series Speed Racer  was totally questionable and then shortly thereafter forgettable, the adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas  seemed promising, as it wrestled with some interesting motifs, but very messy. Then in 2015 we get Jupiter Ascending billed as an “American–Australian space opera” written, produced, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski. Laughable, but not in an entertaining manner.
So is it plausible that the Wachowski’s did not devise one of THE most successful, provocative and well-structured original science fiction franchises going and that in 1986 a single African-American female, Bronx native mother of two — who worked part-time as a writer while further supporting her family by working as a paralegal and tax preparer in Los Angeles — submitted a copyrighted manuscript with a captivating storyline following an advertised industry call for original science fictional work, only to have it stolen and years later in 1999, recognize its adaptions into a major blockbuster movie?…
Well, what I can say without doubt is, Everything is plausible.
Finally, there’s this. On the blog Movie Logs (Mostly), a website dedicated to movie news, reviews and trivia, the author directs your attention to a certain passage in The Matrix Revolution, the third and final sequel, that was much too similar to an excerpt from Stewart’s original manuscript The Third Eye to be considered even remotely coincidental;
“…there is a passage in Sophia Stewart’s 1986 manuscript that is nearly a beat-for-beat explanation of a scene in a film that would be produced seventeen years later – The Matrix Revolutions. Its specificity warrants replication to avoid confusion in paraphrasing and I will also attach key scenes from The Matrix Revolutions to illustrate the similarity.
This to me illustrates “substantial” and “striking” evidence to the fact that there was some “extrinsic” plagiarism of plot, themes, mood, setting, pace and characters involved in the creation of The Matrix Revolutions narrative. Yet Stewart’s council were unable to illustrate the similarities which, in reading the case notes, seems to be based on the “intrinsic test” of “feel” of the work as well as an omission of actual case work. Also, her testimony of said allegations, strangely including facial similarities between her character descriptions and the actors in The Matrix, were inadmissible as evidence to the fact. Curiouser and curiouser.”
source: Movie Logs (Mostly)
And speaking of the actors, at least in the Matrix trilogy, there was an uncommon (for Hollywood) multitude of black ones in this decidedly non-Black production! I hadn’t seen that many black actors and actresses since ROOTS was on tv. Good work when you can get it, but kind of ironic considering Ms. Stewart’s claims? This anomaly was also noted by late film critic Roger Ebert. This is what he said in his review of the Matrix Reloaded (part 2);
“I became aware, during the film, that a majority of the major characters were played by African-Americans. Neo and Trinity are white, and so is Agent Smith, but consider Morpheus; his superior Commander Lock (Harry Lennix); the beautiful and deadly Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), who once loved Morpheus and now is with Lock, although she explains enigmatically that some things never change; the programmer Link (Harold Perrineau); Link’s wife, Zee (Nona Gaye), who has the obligatory scene where she complains he’s away from home too much, and the Oracle (the late Gloria Foster, very portentous). From what we can see of the extras, the population of Zion is largely black.”~ Roger Ebert
Once I came down from the euphoric high established by the mind-blowing digital wizardry of The Matrix and its sequels (and this I give complete credit to the spectacular vision and skills of the Wachowskis) I became uncomfortably aware of what I felt were metaphors for the unique and paradoxical circumstances of the ‘black church’. You must have sensed it too; so many prominent black actors in lead roles [black pastors], and the predominantly brown-skinned extras [the black congregation] residing in Zion [the Promised Land], putting their salvation in the hands of a white male saviour who they literally worshipped as ‘The One’ [Jesus Christ]. That’s a whole lotta black referencing coming from two white dudes from Illinois who are adamant about not speaking on their interpretation of the extremely popular movie franchise. I’m just sayin’…
Due to her making such wild claims for years in public, Stewart has exposed herself to the possibility of libel, copyright infringement, and defamation of character retorts from the defendants in her case, yet this strangely has not occurred. It would undoubtedly silence her permanently upon threat of imprisonment and heavy fines. Warner Brothers Entertainment and/or any and/or all of the defendants could achieve this with the least amount of effort on their part, so why haven’t they done so? Why hasn’t anyone who had anything to do with both franchises publicly deny Ms. Stewart’s claim? And again, why would they allow Sophia to sell her books on Amazon using images of The Matrix and Terminator without demanding she “cease and desist?”
I have to end this somewhere because I could go on and on. Just let me say right here that I will always be a sucker for a righteous David & Goliath story. Besides, why would Sophia Stewart risk so much of her monetary resources, time and possibly her safety on a fake ass claim if she weren’t on the mission of her life to successfully ascertain her rights, her fame and of course her wealth, if her story were not true?
Yeah, you can throw “crae-crae” into the equation, but folks are always going to think someone’s looney or scamming for incredulously going up against an entity bigger, stronger and more powerful than themselves. I mean, you’d have to be a little [read ‘lots’] crazy to imagine that YOU, of all people, can slay a GIANT, right?
***MATRIX MOVIE TRIVIA***
The inhabitants of Zion were able to jack into the matrix to undermine the programs created by the machines that made them believable to those still not awakened. What human organ directly received the jack probe when it was plugged in?
(hint: The Third Eye)