I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid. You're afraid of us, you're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end, I came here to tell how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries; a world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”
― Neo's phone message to the Machines.[src]
Neo (born Thomas A. "Tom" Anderson), is the main protagonist of The Matrix franchise.
Neo is a former bluepill rescued by Morpheus together with the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar. As a redpill, he was prophesied by The Oracle to be The One and was set out on a course to free humanity from the Matrix and to ultimately end the centuries-long Machine War.
Thomas A. Anderson
"Yeah, that's me."
― A delivery man reveals Neo's bluepill name.[src]
Neo was born as one of the billions of bluepills connected to the Matrix where he was known as Thomas A. Anderson. As Thomas Anderson, he was a "normal citizen with a social security number" who held a day job as a computer programmer for the MetaCortex software company. However, outside of this persona, he worked as a hacker selling contraband programming under the alias, Neo, which he later adopts as his common-use name once he got freed from the Matrix.
One night, while waiting for a client to pick up contraband software, Neo was conducting an extensive online and periodical search for mentions of "Morpheus". The search gets interrupted and, blacking out his screen, a message read: "The Matrix has you..." then replaced by "Follow the white rabbit."
Neo tried to restore his computer to normal before a final message displayed and read: "Knock, knock, Neo". A banging is promptly heard from Neo's door as his client, Choi, accompanied by his girlfriend, Dujour, come searching for Neo.
Hallelujah. You're my savior, man. My own personal Jesus Christ.”
― Choi, alluding to Neo as a messiah.[src]
Neo transacted with them, taking two discs containing some unrevealed programming from his secret stash, a hollowed-out copy of Simulacra and Simulation. Noticing how Neo was looking pale, Choi invited Neo along for a night of partying at a nearby club. Neo refused initially—until he spotted a white rabbit tattooed on Dujour's arm. Remembering the message on his computer, Neo decided to tag along.
At the club, Neo met the mysterious message sender, who introduced herself as Trinity. Neo recognized the name as that belonging to a famous hacker that cracked the IRS D-base. Surprised that the infamous wizard-class hacker was a woman, Trinity confirmed how most guys tended to share the misconception. She also confirmed his suspicions about the world, alluding to the Matrix, hinting to more clues and adding confusion to his search for the truth.
Neo awoke the next day already late for work. He then received a reprimand from his boss, Mr. Rhineheart, for his frequent tardiness and was further threatened from losing his job should he ever be late again. Back in his cubicle, a FedEx employee delivers to him a package containing a cellular phone. It immediately rings, revealing Morpheus to be at the other end of the line Neo answered. Without much formal introduction, Morpheus warned Neo that the authorities were quickly coming to arrest him, and offered his help to get Neo out of the building.
Neo followed his advice and made it out of the building without being seen. However, as he was about ten stories off of the ground, he refused to navigate a path which took him outside office walls. Fearing for his life, Neo instead turned his self in.
The Agents that interrogated Neo was led by Agent Smith, who offered to expunge Neo's lengthy list of criminal charges in exchange for information on the whereabouts of Morpheus. Neo refused and demanded his phone call per the usual rights of the accused. Agent Smith replied, "Tell me, Mr. Anderson... what good is a phone call... if you're unable to speak?" before proceeding to do something to alter Neo's physical body. Neo's mouth began to seal shut, blocking his screams of shock, outrage, and pain as the Agents proceeded to drop a bug unto his body. The bug burrowed straight down into his navel, depicting a quite uncomfortable scene.
Meeting with Morpheus
Neo mysteriously woke back in his room, suspecting the Agents and the bug to be a dream. Before he could contemplate the development, Neo was again contacted by Morpheus, asking if he would still like to meet in person. Waiting under the Adam Street Bridge, Neo was picked up by Trinity, Apoc, and Switch. Along the way to the Lafayette Hotel, they removed the bug implanted by the Agents from Neo's belly. Arriving at their destination, Neo finally met Morpheus in person.
Morpheus described to Neo the virtual reality known as the Matrix, depicting it as a prison for the mind. Morpheus offered him the chance to be shown the truth about the Matrix, offering him two pills: one red and one blue. Neo chose the red pill and Morpheus explained that the pill was designed to trace the physical location of his body in order to disrupt his "carrier signal". The mysterious leader led Neo to a room filled with electronic equipment, where Neo was strapped into a seat while Apoc and another man on the other end of the phone, Tank, performed the trace.
Neo then observed a nearby cracked mirror suddenly repair itself. Touching the mirror, he found that the glass had liquefied and clung to his fingers, its appearance resembling mercury. The mirror gel began to flow over Neo's fingers, hand, and arm, melting and blending into him and causing him to panic. Morpheus' team quickly complete their work just before Neo's vital signs went into arrest.
Neo found himself naked inside a mysterious pod. After breaking through the membrane covering him and sitting up, he panicked further as he found numerous cables plugged into his body. He manages to remove the plug that was lodged in his mouth and afterwards looked around with dull blurry eyes to see a horrific sight: massive, skyscraper-like towers, each one covered with hundreds of thousands of pods like the one he sat in, each pod containing a naked, comatose human, with cables like his own plugged into their body.
A mysterious robot descended upon Neo, disconnecting the wires attached to his body and dumping him into the sewers below. Floundering desperately in the filthy water, as his atrophied muscles fail him, Neo barely manages to stay afloat. Moments before certainly drowning, Neo was rescued by a mysterious craft hovering above him. Once aboard the ship, he once again sees Morpheus and the rest of the crew. Morpheus says to him, "Welcome to the Real World" just as he blacks out.
Neo was placed in intensive care. His plugs were removed and electroacupuncture was applied to rebuild his body while it dealt with true movement and motor functions for the first time.
Training and Education
Neo: Am I dead?
Morpheus: Far from it.
― Neo recovering after being freed from the Matrix[src]
After his recovery, Neo was taken on a tour of the Nebuchadnezzar, a hovercraft and the apparent home to its crew. He was also given more truths about the Matrix. Morpheus took him on a trip through the Construct in order to fully illustrate the concepts and known origins of the Matrix. After some epiphany, Neo reacted strongly to the news, eventually overloading and fainting. Later, in his private quarters, Morpheus apologized for the bluntness of the truth, sharing with Neo the story of a special man who was born within the Matrix: a man with the ability to change whatever he wanted within the confines of the Matrix. He hinted to Neo about the resurrection and eventual return of this "One", but leaves before discussing anything more, telling Neo to get some rest instead.
Later, Tank — the operator of the ship — invited Neo to begin his training. That day, Tank digitally uploaded various fighting styles into Neo's memory for ten straight hours, causing Tank to tire to near exhaustion. Observing the amount of data Neo was able to absorb, Morpheus challenged him to a duel.
Within the Construct's sparring program, Morpheus taught Neo about the laws of physics within the Matrix, expressing them through various forms of martial arts. When news broke of the digital duel, the crew aboard the Nebuchadnezzar hurried to watch the ongoing fight, amazed that Neo could hold his own fairly well against Morpheus. Still, the more experienced of the two prevailed, although Morpheus almost nearly succumbed to his opponent's speed. Glad to see Neo's mind is becoming free, Morpheus told Tank to load the Jump program.
Morpheus then demonstrated the possible abilities of a free mind, leaping from one building to another in a single bound. When Neo tried to perform the same, he failed and fell to the ground below. However, instead of falling flat, the ground acted like a trampoline, absorbing his momentum and throwing him back a safe distance into the air, before he proceeded to fall back into what suddenly became solid pavement. Back in his body, in the Real World, he found that he bit his tongue just as he did within the Construct, learning that the body could not live without the mind. And that if one died inside the Matrix, then they would also die in the Real World. Trinity would later visit Neo to serve him food only to find Neo hard asleep after the long day.
Agents and Sentinels
Morpheus takes Neo through the Agent training program, demonstrating the danger of those who have not yet been freed. Neo learns of the fatal encounters with Agents and their amazing abilities within the Matrix, but Morpheus reassures him that, as The One, he will not be inhibited by the physics defined for others including Agents themselves within the Matrix.
The lesson is interrupted when the Nebuchadnezzar hovers into territory occupied by sentinels. The hovercraft flees into a tunnel, lands, and completely powers down. Trinity explains the dangers the Machines possess as the EMP devices are readied. And Neo becomes fearful when a sentinel hovers close to their location but, fortunately, it soon moves on.
Later, Neo speaks with Cypher, another member of the crew. The two discuss the various panels showing green code as well as what they represent. Cypher asks Neo if Morpheus told him why he'd been freed so late in his life and Neo nods, remembering when his mentor told him of the man born within the Matrix. Cypher is amazed with what he felt was a deception, that Neo may be The One, dubbing it a 'mind job'. Cypher advises Neo not to believe Morpheus, but to run from Agents just as everyone else does.
We're taking Neo to see her.”
― Morpheus to the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar[src]
Morpheus decided that it was time to take Neo to see The Oracle, an advisor to the Resistance. On the way, Neo asks questions about who she is and what she's told other members of the crew. Trinity remains silent on the matter, while Morpheus says he was told: "I would find The One".
Morpheus takes Neo to a waiting room, where other Potentials wait for The Oracle's presence. Here, he meets a young boy in Buddhist robes, casually bending spoons by looking at them. The boy tells Neo:
Boy: Don't try to bend the spoon--that's impossible. Instead, try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Boy: There is no spoon. Then you will see it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
Neo takes the spoon and, freeing his mind, succeeds in bending it mentally just as he is called to see The Oracle.
The Oracle sits on a stool, smelling the scent of cookies baking. Coyly, she hints of someone's romantic attraction to him but moves on before he figures it out. She examines him casually and says, "But you already know what I'm going to tell you?" Neo replies, "I'm not The One." She tells him he has the gift, but that he appears to be waiting for something—his next life, perhaps.
After Neo stated that Morpheus almost had him convinced, The Oracle tells him an ominous prediction: Morpheus believes in Neo's destiny so strongly that would sacrifice his life for him, and that one of you will die. She warns that Neo would have to make a choice of who would die: Morpheus or himself. Lightening the mood, The Oracle sends him out, giving him a cookie.
The Hotel Ambush and Cypher's Betrayal
Neo: Whoa. Déjà vu.
Trinity: What did you just say?
Neo: Nothing. Just had a little déjà vu.
Trinity: What did you see?
Neo: A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it.
Trinity: How much like it? Was it the same cat?
Neo: It might have been. I'm not sure.
― Trinity asking Neo about the déjà vu he witnessed[src]
On the way back to the pickup point inside the Lafayette Hotel, Neo sees a black cat walk by. He turns back and sees the same black cat perform the same action as before. Bringing it to the group's attention, they become alert and arm their weapons. Realizing that "déjà vu" is a glitch in the Matrix when the Machines make an ominous change to the virtual world, Neo follows the party to the hardline, where they learn it was cut. With windows replaced with brick walls and a SWAT team coming for them, they're forced to contact Tank in order to find a way out.
They descend quietly inside the wet wall of a bathroom, minus Mouse who had already been killed earlier alone, while Agents and SWAT teams survey the building. As they crawl down, Cypher sneezes, drawing attention to them. A SWAT officer detects them but is soon possessed by Agent Smith, who grabs for Neo through the wall. Morpheus throws himself through and directs the others to go, leaving him and Smith to fight. Not wanting to leave his friend behind, Neo is forced to leave by Trinity, who pulls him down to regroup below.
Emerging from a sewer, Neo and the others find a phone in a nearby building, where they learn Cypher has betrayed them back on the ship, critically injured Tank, and killed Dozer. Cypher then kills Apoc and Switch by crudely jacking them out of the Matrix. Expecting to die next, Neo looks into Trinity's eyes as she looks back and says "Yes" to an unknown question. By some miracle, Tank is alive and kills Cypher with a lightning rifle. Tank brings them back to the Nebuchadnezzar, where they try to decide what to do for Morpheus. Revealing that he is not The One, Neo decides to place the life of his friend above his own and volunteers to rescue Morpheus, because of his belief that he could bring him back. Trinity joins him for the mission, and after a quick visit to the Construct's armory, the two set off to save their captain.
The Mission to Save Morpheus
Lobby Shooting Spree
Because I believe I can bring him back.”
― Neo convincing Tank and Trinity to not give up on Morpheus.[src]
Neo walks into the government-controlled building, setting off the metal detector in the process. When asked to remove any metallic items on his body, he opens his trenchcoat to reveal a large arsenal of weapons. Backed up by Trinity, Neo runs through the lobby, brandishing pistols, SMGs, and rifles to kill anyone who stands between them and Morpheus. They succeed in clearing the room and leave through the main elevator.
Trinity sets a bomb and climbs on top of the elevator with Neo, who disconnects it and allows it to drop to the bottom floor, destroying the lobby and simultaneously turning on the emergency fire sprinklers.
― Trinity to Agent Jones[src]
They emerge on the rooftop, where they take down the remaining guards. However, one remaining guard turns into Agent Jones, who fires at Neo after dodging all of Neo's firing bullets. Instinctively, Neo dodges most of the bullets but is grazed by two and falls to the ground. Jones approaches to finish his work but before the trigger is pulled Trinity sneaks up and shoots Jones in the head.
With help from Tank, Trinity appropriates a military helicopter and flies to the window where Morpheus is held. Neo clears the room of Agents with a Gatling gun on the chopper. Morpheus then regains his senses, frees himself from his handcuffs, and jumps out of the building, but a bullet wound to his leg caused by gunfire from a returning Smith causes him to stumble. Neo jumps out to catch his leader, now both hanging from a safety line, as Trinity moves the chopper away.
Unfortunately, Smith damages the chopper, which begins to lose power rapidly. Trinity drops Neo and Morpheus on a rooftop but is forced to bail as the chopper flies into a nearby building. Neo senses Trinity's danger faster than anyone and grabs the safety line just as Trinity snaps the line away to swing away from the crashing chopper. Neo pulls her to safety, resulting in an awkwardly silent gaze between the two. Morpheus is convinced Neo is The One and asks Trinity for the same confirmation. The trio contact Tank, who directs them to a hardline nearby.
They find the hardline in a subway: a payphone. Morpheus is rescued first, with Trinity second. Before Neo can travel through, however, Agent Smith possesses a homeless man who saw them disappear and shoots the phone, destroying it. However, instead of running, Neo chooses to fight the sentient program and draws his last remaining gun. When they both run out of ammunition, Neo and Smith resort to martial arts. Although Neo seems to nearly match his opponent, Smith is still too fast and strong.
He beats Neo badly and throws him into the path of an oncoming train. Refusing to believe Smith can hold him, Neo shakes off Agent Smith, leaving him alone in the train's path. As Neo leaves the station, the train slams its brakes. Agent Smith comes out of the train, again possessing another bluepill. Knowing he's in no shape for a rematch, Neo runs.
Neo runs through the city streets, apartments, and alleys, dodging Agents who appear from everywhere. Using cues from Tank as guides, Neo navigated the various paths leading to the Heart of the City Hotel.
The path through the hotel's hallways led to a ringing phone in room 303. Neo opens the door to find Agent Smith, who fires his gun point-blank into Neo's chest. Initially, Neo doesn't appear to believe he has been shot, but Smith unloads the magazine of his weapon, shooting Neo's body again and again until Neo slumps over, dead.
Back in the Nebuchadnezzar, the crew are under attack from sentinels who have detected their presence. Amongst the chaos, Trinity confesses her love to the dead Neo, telling him of The Oracle's prediction for her: "...the man that I loved, would be The One." She tells him that he can't be dead for this reason, and kisses him. On the nearby monitor, Neo's vital signs return. Within the Matrix, Neo arises, much to the surprise of the Agents. Neo is equally surprised that, now, he can perceive the Matrix as programming code. Neo has become The One.
In unison, the Agents fire at Neo, emptying their magazines. Instead of running or dodging them, Neo simply holds out his hand and stops them in mid-flight through telekinesis. Smith runs at Neo and attacks him hand-to-hand, but the results are now dramatically different than before: Neo blocks all of Smith's attacks with ease and propels him across the room with a single kick. Neo finishes off Smith by leaping his avatar into the Agent's body, which destroys Smith's body. In a strange turn of events, the remaining Agents run away from the single human that gazed at them menacingly from the hallway.
Neo runs back to the phone, transporting back to the Nebuchadnezzar. With Neo out, Morpheus fires the ship's EMP, disabling the attacking sentinels.
His eyes now open, Neo devoted his time over the next six months to freeing young minds from the Matrix. One mind he discovered was that of Michael Karl Popper, a young teenager at Clearview High School. Making contact through an internet chat room, he confirmed to Popper that there was something else in the world. He later called Popper personally on his cell phone, advising him to leave the building as Agents were on his tail. When Popper committed suicide, he was able to wake up in the Real World through self-substantiation.
Call of the Captains
Still unsure of his ultimate purpose, Neo became increasingly nervous as he began to have visions of Trinity dying at the hands of an Agent. Dismissing them as mere dreams, Neo tried to put them aside. When Captain Niobe called for all ships to broadcast level, the Nebuchadnezzar answered. Accompanying Morpheus and Trinity, Neo observed the captains as they discussed disturbing data from the Osiris, apparently destroyed.
During the meeting, he sensed a presence. Walking to the door, the guards gave him a gift from the visitor: an Agent's earpiece. Knowing the upcoming fight, Neo warned the others to retreat to their exits. Just then, Agents broke through the door. Upgraded Agents Johnson, Jackson and Thompson filed in and engaged Neo, who dispatched them easily. Feeling a need for advice, Neo flew over Mega City to The Oracle's Apartment, where she was nowhere to be found.
Return to Zion
The Nebuchadnezzar made its way back to Zion, home of the free people. Upon their landing, Neo learned briefly of Morpheus's past relations with Niobe, only to be swiftly interrupted by the welcoming Kid. Accompanying them and Link, the new operator of the Nebuchadnezzar, Kid presses for information on rumors floating about the civilians, but they refuse to break for him.
When they arrived at Link's level, he took the Kid with him. Alone at last, Neo and Trinity began to express their passion for one another in the elevator. Upon arrival, Neo looked out onto a sea of followers asking him to watch over their loved ones. Swamped by requests, Trinity left him, promising there would be time.
That night at the Temple, Trinity appeared to Neo after the opening prayer. Anxious to be alone together, they returned to their private room and made love. Neo looked into Trinity's eyes as she hit her orgasm; her face reminded him of his prophetic dream; her dying. They immediately stopped, and Neo confessed he didn't want to lose her. She promised him he wouldn't, and they embraced.
Neo woke up later that night, restless with his dreams. He walked outside and looked at Zion's nightlights, which resembled twinkling stars. He was joined by Councillor Hamann, who took him down to the Engineering Level of Zion. Down there, the two shared a quiet conversation on the meaning of existence and wonder. During the chat, Hamann expressed his awe in Neo's abilities, hoping they would bring an end to the war.
The next morning, Ballard and his crew delivered Neo a computer chip from The Oracle, signaling it was time to leave the city.
Learning his Objective
The Nebuchadnezzar flew back into the sewers of the Real World, and upon reaching broadcast level, Neo jacked into the Matrix. He found himself in Chinatown, walking among a crowd of people. He made his way into a teahouse, where he found a middle-aged Asian man sitting across the room. Neo approached the man, curious at his mysterious golden glow which contrasted the green Matrix code he typically saw. The man introduced himself as Seraph, Guardian of The Oracle. He offered to bring Neo to see her but apologized. When Neo asked for the reason behind the apology, Seraph simply responded: "For this." Seraph attacked Neo with an amazing show of martial arts, testing him in his skills and reaction time.
As quickly as the fight began, Seraph signaled that he would fight no longer. He explained to Neo that he was making sure he was The One. When Neo said "You could have just asked", Seraph responded "No. You truly don't know someone until you fight them." Taking a key from his sleeve, Seraph walked to the only door in the room and inserted it. Seraph then opened the door, introducing a new hallway that wasn't there before.
Neo followed Seraph into the sleek, office building-style hallway riddled with doors. Neo asked if Seraph was a programmer, receiving the reply: "I protect that which matters most." After a short trip, the mysterious man led Neo to a door, opening into a park where The Oracle sat feeding birds.
Philosophy of the Matrix
Come on, I ain't going to bite you.”
― The Oracle to Neo[src]
The Oracle invited Neo closer and offered for him to sit down. Neo, reluctant by the thought he was being controlled, refused the offer at first, but later gave in with the response: "I felt like sitting."
"I know", she said.
From the beginning of their conversation, Neo stated he believed she was a Program from the Machine World; the same went for her guardian, Seraph. He admitted not knowing whether or not he could actually trust her. Agreeing, The Oracle replied that "You're just have to make up your own damn mind..." Neo was further bothered by the fact that The Oracle knew Neo's wants, inner feelings and private matters he confessed to no one. He saw this as not being able to make a choice. Neo asked why she chose to help the Resistance when she was a Program. She responded that she was interested in the future, and the only way to guarantee a future is to work together.
The Oracle then revealed the nature of programs, from invisible lines of code to those who take on human appearances. She described these particular programs, as being much more resistant when facing deletion, and would rather choose exile either by hiding in the Matrix or returning to The Source. Neo realized this source was the Machine Mainframe, and The Oracle concluded the Source was where "the path of The One ends." She correctly knew of his dreams and asked if he saw Trinity die in his dream.
After he replied "no", Neo became confused as to why he couldn't see what happened to her. The Oracle stated that "we can never see past the choices we don't understand." When he asked if he had to choose whether or not Trinity dies, The Oracle replied that he had already made the choice. "Now you have to understand it". Neo asked what would happen if he failed his ultimate task, only to get the answer, "Then Zion will fall."
Seraph signaled it was time for her to leave, so The Oracle spelled out Neo's next objectives: he would need to reach the Source. However, to reach the Source, he would need to find The Keymaker, a program who disappeared long ago. Apparently, he had been kidnapped by The Merovingian, a very dangerous, power-hungry program. She gave Neo a slip of paper with the location and appointment to meet with The Merovingian in order to have a chance to rescue The Keymaker. With a quick goodbye, The Oracle and Seraph were gone.
The Return of Smith
As the two left through the Back Door, Neo turned to see Smith walking towards him. The program explained he was no longer an Agent of the Matrix and he wasn't sure how any of this came to be. Blaming Neo for "unplugging" him, Smith revealed his opinion that one exists with a purpose. At this same time, Neo heard another voice behind him. One by one, more Smiths revealed themselves from behind gates, doors, and other objects; each one adding to their monologue on purpose. Finally, the first Smith said to Neo his own personal goal: to rid Neo of life and purpose.
Without warning, Smith stuck his hand into Neo's body, instantly immobilizing him and spreading a black, liquid-like substance over the surface of his body. Determined to live, Neo concentrated on the affected area, forcing the infection back towards Smith's hand. Neo then swiftly yanked himself free, causing a fight between himself and the eight Smiths present.
Neo fought the Smiths simultaneously and was able to hold his own for quite a while, but as much injury as he could inflict, they in turn would be able to take. At best, Neo would momentarily stun them, and they would keep coming back for more. In the middle of the brawl, more Smiths entered, raising the numbers. At one point, Neo was able to grab hold of an old tether-ball pole as a staff-like weapon.
Using it, Neo was able to engage the increasing numbers of Smiths pouring out from the apartments surrounding the park. Finally, unable to carry on, Neo was tackled by several foes and the programs dogpiled on top of him.
Mustering extreme strength and determination, Neo pushed upward, sending the Smiths flying. Grabbing hold of the opportunity at hand, Neo flew straight up into the sky, leaving the 50-odd total of Smiths behind. Upon re-entering the Real World, Neo told the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar that he felt like dying when Smith placed his hand inside him.
“ ― The Merovingian to Neo[src]
Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus jacked into the Matrix to meet with The Merovingian, who was dining at the Le Vrai Restaurant. Noticing through the code that each floor of the building was wired with explosives, the group decided they needed to be careful in how they approached this dangerous program. As the host led the group to The Merovingian's main table, Neo caught the eye of a man being led away by a guard. The man looked at him, then continued to walk away. Looking into the code itself, Neo sees the corrupted dessert served by The Merovingian. The trio arrived in The Merovingian's presence, where he was accompanied by his wife Persephone, the Twins, and a slew of other exiled programs acting as guards.
They sat and Neo refused a drink offer, prompting The Merovingian to enter into a speech on time, wine, and cursing with the French language. During the conversation, the party discussed The Keymaker, why they came, and the essence of control. Morpheus stated "everything begins with choice", prompting The Merovingian to express his ideals on control: "Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without." Referring especially to Neo, the program pointed out a woman who was being served a slice of chocolate cake for dessert.
Using his ability to see what others could not, Neo saw the dessert's code to be corrupted. The following reaction which took place inside her body's code exemplified The Merovingian's thesis on causality, leading the program to leave without helping the trio with their goal. They were led out of the restaurant feeling as if something didn't work. At the end of their elevator ride, Persephone appeared before them, asking them to follow her.
I want you to kiss me as if you were kissing her.”
― Persephone to Neo[src]
Leading them to the men's restroom, Persephone offered the group a deal: she would give them The Keymaker if Neo would give her a kiss. Neo and Trinity immediately resisted, but left with no other choice, Neo reluctantly decided to do his duty.
At first, Neo gave her a small peck on the lips, frustrating Persephone enough to consider leaving. Realizing what he had to do, Neo stopped her before she left. Giving in, he envisioned himself kissing Trinity. After the event, which lasted for many seconds, Persephone told Trinity she envied her. With that, she led the group through the restaurant's kitchen.
Using a special key, she took them through a portal directly to The Merovingian's Château. Persephone brought them into a library containing two guards, programs from an earlier version of the Matrix.
She then took out a gun loaded with silver bullets and shot one in the head, effectively deleting him. She then told the remaining program to either inform her husband what she did or stay and die. Choosing to run, the guard left the room, allowing Persephone to open the secret door behind the bookcase. The trio followed her into the secret hallway, where she pointed to The Keymaker's cell. Neo proceeded to open the door, therefore freeing The Keymaker.
Handle us? You'll handle us? You know, your predecessors had much more respect.”
― The Merovingian[src]
On the way back through the main hallway, The Merovingian burst through the door with six of his guards closely tailing him. The Keymaker proclaimed "I cannot go back!" and took off running. Morpheus and Trinity followed The Keymaker as he ran through the side hallways of the Château. Neo stayed behind to deal with the guards, except for the Twins. Each one taking out a gun, the guards fired continuously at Neo, who stopped the bullets midair with ease. Dropping them to the floor, the surprised Merovingian replied "Okay, you have some skill. Kill him." With that command, the guards engaged in a fight against Neo.
Unarmed, they proceeded to grab various weapons hanging on the walls about the main hall. Neo defended himself as long as he could, dodging and attacking the guards constantly without stopping for a breath. Realizing he wouldn't last long without a weapon, Neo leaped onto the second floor and grabbed two sais with his telekinetic powers.
He reentered the fray, attacking each program one after another, immobilizing or deleting many of the guards. Eventually, he left them behind to disable one particularly troublesome guard and instead opted for a sword. Neo methodically defended himself from the remaining guards, eventually deleting another. With three remaining, Neo finally deleted them with ease, leaving The Merovingian alone.
After a final taunt, the Frenchman walked through the main door back into the restaurant's kitchen, closing it in the process. Neo quickly opened the door, only to see the portal had closed and miles of mountaintops greeted him. Tracing the path Morpheus and Trinity took, Neo found a door leading into an underground parking garage.
However, before he got there, one of the Twins closed the door, keeping Neo in the Château's natural mountain-laden landscape. Neo quickly called Link back on the "Neb", where he was informed the two were still carrying The Keymaker and were 500 miles south of the Château. With that in mind, Neo did his "Superman Thing", and flew at top speed towards their location where they were in a struggle for The Keymaker.
Neo, if you're out there, I could use some help.”
Neo moved as fast as he could. Using his adrenaline-rushed vision to see much further ahead than he normally could, Neo spotted Morpheus and The Keymaker in a disastrous situation: they were on top of a speeding semi about to crash into another. Just as the two vehicles collided, Neo swooped in and saved them from the resulting explosion.
Returning to Source
Inside this building, there is a level where no elevator can go and no stair can reach. This level is filled with doors. These doors lead to many places. Hidden places. But one door is special. One door leads to the source.”
― The Keymaker[src]
Back in the Real World, the Nebuchadnezzar was joined by the Vigilant and the Logos, which were dispatched from Zion in order to find it. With The Keymaker in their possession, the trio of crews agreed to aid Neo in his quest to find the Machine Mainframe. Meeting in the Matrix, they listened to The Keymaker as he explained the process to unlock the Source. During the briefing, Neo had visions of an exploding building, as well as repeated visions of Trinity's death. Back in the Neb, Neo asked Trinity to stay out of the operation, alluding to his possibly-prophetic dreams. She agreed, trusting his judgment.
Upon reentering the Matrix, Neo stood in an empty room high in the office building with Morpheus and The Keymaker, waiting for the city blocks to lose electricity and the opportunity to open the door. Finally, the city begins to grow dark. As the lights go out in the building, The Keymaker opens the secret portal to enter the hallway leading to the Source.
As the three rounded a corner in the hallways, they were confronted by a lone Smith. Quickly backed up by more copies of himself, Smith attacked the group, stalling them from obtaining their goal. Neo defended himself and Morpheus from the horde of Smiths, just as The Keymaker opened the door they needed. Grabbing hold of Morpheus, Neo flew into the newly accessed room, with The Keymaker closing the door just in time. Turning around, Neo noticed The Keymaker had been shot several times. As the old program began to pass on, he gave Neo the key to the Source. As Morpheus took his leave, Neo inserted the key into the proper slot, opening the gateway to the Machine Mainframe.
Neo's True Purpose
Having the sensation he was traveling across time and space, Neo materialized in a room covered wall to wall, floor to ceiling with screens. There were two doors and a lone chair facing away from him. A figure in the chair turned around and introduced himself as The Architect: the creator of the Matrix.
Dreams Become Reality
Preparing for the End of the War
Choice... the problem is choice.”
― Neo to The Architect
Neo and The Architect have a conversation, with the latter revealing to Neo that the Matrix is older than he or any other human knows, saying that Zion has been destroyed five times before and the current Zion is the sixth version. Neo ponders this, realizing that either no one told him or no one knew of it. The Architect goes on to say that Neo is the sixth One, following his five predecessors before him and stating that his responses were faster than theirs.
The Architect explains the first and second versions of the Matrix, which he considers to be failed versions as the humans ended up rejecting the "perfect" virtual reality. He explains further that the answer to the problem was choice, which was found out by the intuitive program, The Oracle, originally created to study the human psyche; thus a third version was created. After realizing that 99% of humans would accept the program if given the illusion of choice, even on an unconscious level, the 1% of humans who did not accept it (the freed red pills who formed the Resistance) would, in time, grow to destabilize (and even destroy) the Matrix, which resulted in the creation of The One.
Neo learns that the prophecy of The One is, in fact, a system of control employed by The Architect and guided by The Oracle to ensure the Matrix's stability while preventing its destruction by rebooting the Matrix (The One reinserts his "Prime Program" into the Machine Mainframe) every cycle. Neo is observed by The Architect as having a different kind of 'attachment' to humanity unlike his five predecessors due to his love for Trinity, who is shown to Neo via television monitors being attacked by Agent Johnson.
Neo is then ultimately presented with a choice: there are two doors; the door on the right leads to the Source, where he would select 23 individuals (16 females and 7 males) who would rebuild Zion after its destruction, with him reinserting his Prime Program to the Machine Mainframe and rebooting the Matrix. The door on the left leads back to the Matrix which, as said by The Architect, will cause it to crash, killing everyone connected to the Matrix and coupled with the destruction of Zion would ultimately result in the extinction of the human race as we know it. Neo chooses the latter with almost no hesitation and tells The Architect that he hopes that the two never meet again, with him replying that they wouldn't.
After resurrecting Trinity, Neo unsuccessfully tries to save the Nebuchadnezzar from Sentinels, using a newly found ability to self-destruct them. Not prepared for this, Neo loses consciousness and awakens in a mysterious train station with no knowledge of how he got there after his meeting with the Sentinels. He begins to have visions, this time about traveling to the Machine City following three large pipelines.
Upon awakening he is greeted by Sati, a program being smuggled into the Matrix by her father Rama-Kandra, who explains to Neo that he is in the Mobil Avenue train station (a limbo, or intermediary space, which acts as a place between the Matrix and the Machine City). He tells Neo that it is run by the Trainman, a program who serves The Merovingian, and only he can make the decision of who will be released from here.
Rama-Kandra talks to Neo about love, to which he explains that programs too can understand it; that it is a feeling or affinity, not just a word, and that this is what defines it. He reveals that Sati, like himself and wife, is a program created but with no purpose (created out of love). When a program has no purpose it is faced with deletion.
Rama-Kandra chose to send Sati into Exile and made a deal with The Merovingian to smuggle her into the Matrix, which is done via the Mobil Avenue station and the Trainman. Rama-Kandra says that he sees that Neo is in love and asks what lengths he would go to keep that love, Neo answers, "Anything".
When the train arrives Neo attempts to board the train with Rama-Kandra but is stopped by the Trainman, who realizes he is The One Trinity, Morpheus, & Seraph are looking for. Neo states that he doesn't want to hurt him, but the Trainman punches Neo sending him flying into a wall, stating that he created this place and saying, "Down here, I'm God". Neo watches helplessly as Rama-Kandra and Sati are boarded and driven away. Not long after, Neo is rescued from the Mobil Avenue by Trinity, whom he embraces and kisses, but this is not until after Morpheus, Trinity, & Seraph make a dangerous and brutal entry to a club run by The Merovingian to negotiate his release.
Last Visit to The Oracle
Neo has decided to visit The Oracle the last time before going back to the real world. Upon arriving there, The Oracle explains to Neo that her purpose is to unbalance the equation, making her an opposite to The Architect, who balances the equation. She tells him that the power of The One extends out into the real world, which it is an explanation of what Neo felt when touching the Sentinels. When Neo asks The Oracle about Smith, she told him that Smith is Neo's opposite and negative.
Convincing the Crew
Neo: It's been an honor, sir.
Morpheus: No, the honor is still mine.
― Neo and Morpheus, before Neo and Trinity's departure to the Machine City.[src]
Upon realizing his choice, Neo confronts the three captains and asks for a ship. Roland is extremely against the idea of handing Neo a ship, while Niobe is solemn. Captain Niobe chooses to give Neo her ship, The Logos and justifies her choice as believing in Neo. Morpheus is astonished at her decision, and it seems Neo already knew that something like this might happen. The crew urges Neo to bring some weapons, some form of defense and try to reconvince him explaining the 01's abundant defense systems. Neo declines and Trinity tells him that she is coming along - and that he probably already knew she was coming along. Before the three captains leave aboard the Hammer; Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, and Link have a final farewell.
The Enemy Within
That's it, Mr. Anderson, look past the soft gelatin of these dull, cow eyes and see your enemy!”
― Bane, possessed by Smith, to Neo on The Logos[src]
As Neo and Trinity prepare to depart in the Logos, the power suddenly goes out. Trinity suspects a blown fuse and goes down into the ship to check. She is attacked by Bane who has stowed away. Trinity is able to warn Neo, however, she is taken hostage. After Bane drops Trinity to a lower level, Bane reveals his true identity as Smith. Trinity frees herself and trips a fuse to give Neo a chance to attack Bane. The two fight briefly and Bane cauterizes Neo's eyes with a severed electrical cable. Bane hides, taunting the "blind messiah" and grabs a jack handle to defend himself. However, a new power manifests itself in Neo: he is able to see Smith as an orange-colored image. Neo, having wrested Bane's weapon, shatters Smith's head. He is found moments later by Trinity. The two continue their mission to 01.
The Machine City
Piloting the Logos Trinity takes Neo to 01. They emerge near the fields of humans harvested for the city's power. Neo tells Trinity to follow the bundle of primary power cables towards the cliffs surrounding 01. As they approach the city's defenders activate and begin shooting a swarm of Tow bombs at the Logos. Neo is able to detonate hundreds of them, however, a wave of Sentinels moves in and begins to dismantle the ship's hover pads.
Both the large number of Sentinels and tow bombs prove to be too much for Neo's disruptive power and he tells Trinity to fly above the clouds. The atmospheric interference disables the Sentinels, which fall off the ship. As they burst above the cloud cover, Trinity catches her first glimpse of the Sun. Unfortunately, flying through the cloud cover has also entirely disabled the Logos which falls back toward Earth. As they plummet towards 01, Trinity attempts to restore power to the ship; she does so but just in time to crash into a tower. Trinity is fatally wounded and she and Neo share their last words together.
Deus Ex Machina
The program Smith has grown beyond your control. Soon, he will spread through this city, as he spread through the Matrix. You cannot stop him, but I can.”
― Neo to the Deus Ex Machina[src]
Neo makes his way from the Logos, through part of the Machine City to a ravine. The Deus Ex Machina rises from the depths and forms a human infant's face. Neo warns it of the impending destruction of the Machine City by Smith, who has grown beyond the Machines' control in the Matrix. Neo makes his offer: he will destroy Smith in the Matrix in exchange for a ceasefire between the humans and the Machines. In Zion, the Sentinels stand down, as do the humans, who have prepared for their last stand in the Temple. Neo is jacked into the Matrix.
Super Burly Brawl
Now jacked into the Matrix via the Machines, Neo finds himself in a street surrounded by Smith clones, all glaring menacingly at him. The sky is filled with thunder and lightning, and rain is pouring down onto the street. Smith emerges from the side of the street, and asks, "You like what I've done with the place?" Neo replies, "It ends tonight." Smith then replies, "I know it does, I've seen it", indicating that he is the Smith that absorbed The Oracle earlier and gained her powers of precognition. The two then charge at each other engaging in an epic final duel.
Although they both succeed several times in hitting each other with punches and kicks, they do not appear to be affected by them, considering they are almost equal in power. This lasts until Neo is able to punch Smith strongly enough to slam him into the street at least twenty feet away. Enraged, he and Neo fly upwards towards each other and slam together, forming an immense shock wave. They continue their fight through the air until Smith manages to knock Neo into a building.
Inside the building, Smith, and Neo resume their fight, until Neo kicks Smith through a window and back into the air. Once again, they charge at each other, forming a shock wave that shatters the glass of the surrounding buildings. They continue the fight as they rise higher and higher into the air. Both Neo and Smith are successful in inflicting several hits onto the other, and charge at each other one last time. Smith gains the upper hand, and tackles Neo to the ground.
Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why, why do you persist?
Neo: Because I choose to.
― Smith and Neo on their final battle[src]
Neo was stunned temporarily by the attack. He weakly tries to get up. Smith asks him why does he continue. Neo answers him, "Because I choose to." He manages to punch Smith through the crater. Smith suddenly emerges and punches him. Smith then remembers a vision and tries to fulfill it quoting The Oracle saying "Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo". This leads to Neo understanding that to balance the equation, neither of them can exist and thus he allows Smith to duplicate himself through Neo's chest.
Smith asks the Neo/Smith clone "Is it over?" The new Smith clone nods confidently. Suddenly, the clone's eyes begin to shine with a bright white light and explode. As Smith starts to panic, repeating "NO, NO IT'S NOT FAIR!" over and over again, the rest of the Smiths begin glowing and disintegrate.
When Smith says, "Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo", The Oracle speaks through Smith. The Oracle allowed Smith to assimilate her because she knew when the time was right, she would have to tell Neo this, so he would know that he has to sacrifice himself.
Also, the reason why Smith is deleted is because just before he assimilates Neo, Neo makes the decision to be deleted, and Smith doesn't know that Neo's jacked into the Machine City, so when Smith takes Neo over, he gains the decision of wanting to be deleted. He cannot "change his mind" because the Machines know of Neo's decision to be deleted as soon as he chooses, thus tricking Smith.
Some theories suggest Neo's decision to sacrifice himself was possibly due to The Oracle's cookies, the belief that The Oracle put codes into the cookies to determine Neo's decision when the time is right, as it was proven that data can be transferred through food when Neo sees The Merovingian's cake at the restaurant. It is also possible that Smith's deletion was due to the fact that he had completed his objective, defeating Neo was his purpose, and his base programming allowed him to exist until that objective had been completed.
Another theory about Smith's ultimate demise originates during Neo and Smith's conversation at the park before engaging in the Burly Brawl. Smith asks if Neo is aware of their connection and says, "I don't fully understand how it happened. Perhaps some part of you imprinted onto me, something overwritten or copied." This was in reference to the actions of his defeat as an Agent when Neo, realizing he was The One, leapt into Smith and destroyed him from within.
Though he says it's irrelevant at that point, Smith's theory to their connectivity could be grouped with the "fulfilled program purpose" and "balanced equation" theories quite soundly. After his ties to being an Agent were destroyed, his program attached to Neo's existence, hardwired even. By assimilating Neo and erasing him, Smith essentially erased their shared code (severing their connection) and defeated himself by a self-inflicted act of erasure. Smith simply could not exist without Neo existing.
After Neo destroyed Smith, the Matrix was saved with all of its inhabitants restored after the system rebooted. The Machines' human power supply remained intact, and they called off their genocidal attack on Zion as per Deus Ex Machina's truce with Neo, which in turn led to an uneasy peace between the Machines and Zion. Neo's body was taken away by the Machines to the Machine City, leaving his fate unknown, but rumors concerning his still being alive continued to circulate decades after the end of the war. Despite the ambiguity of Neo's fate, The Oracle declares to Sati that she expects they will see Neo again.
Neo's body was reconstructed at great expense on orders from the Analyst. The machines analyzed his source code in an effort to discover what made him tick, finding that he and Trinity held no particular value individually, but discovered that when bonded together they were dangerous. During the rebuilding process, Neo and Trinity were restored back to life, and when they briefly regained consciousness, they caused severe damage to the machines keeping them in stasis.
The Analyst placed Neo and Trinity in the Anomaleum, suppressed their memories, and reinserted them both into the Matrix as a means of controlling the rest of the bluepilled humans, exploiting their unconscious bond to keep the others docile and unwilling to escape. Neo was given his Thomas Anderson persona, this time with memories of a videogame designer of an award-winning game trilogy called "The Matrix", while Trinity was given a false life of a wife and mother named "Tiffany". They were placed in each other's social orbit, close enough to frequent the same coffee shop but not for anything closer as mandated by the Analyst.
To further conceal Neo's resurrection, the machines periodically altered his RSI. His latest incarnation made him appear as a balding bearded man to others. At times, though, his real self manifested to witnesses like Bugs and inspired them to free themselves from the Matrix.
Sessions with the Analyst
Inside the Matrix, Neo was seeing the Analyst to discuss feelings he had been having. As Thomas Anderson, he had a psychotic break, had trouble distinguishing his video game Matrix from reality, and attempted to walk off a high rise building ledge during a work-related publicity event. He was given medication called Ontolofloxin to keep his mind from being opened up as it had been in years past.
Reunion with Trinity
Neo later reunited with Trinity, now under the identity of Tiffany inside the Matrix, after being reintroduced to her by his co-worker Jude Gallagher.
Powers and abilities
Neo has carried, since his inception, the Matrix's source code known as the Prime Program. This gives him the ability to freely manipulate the simulated reality of the Matrix, similar to the authority a system administrator has over a given system. He manifests these abilities as various superhuman powers.
The power Neo exhibits most often is telekinesis, in that he seems capable of manipulating any object in the Matrix through will alone. By focusing this ability upon himself he can fly at amazing speeds and jump great distances. Whilst his speed is never specified, he flies from The Merovingian's mountain manor to the highway "500 miles due south" in a very short time.
His high-speed flight is further exemplified by his ability to escape explosions, and the sonic boom left in his wake has the power to overturn and two rows of heavy vehicles and debris. His sonic boom almost destroyed a city block while catching Trinity. He has used this ability multiple times to stop several bullets in mid-flight, first against the Agents and then again against The Merovingian's henchmen.
Further, Neo possesses superhuman strength and agility and is invulnerable to many attacks. His reflexes are great enough to dodge bullets. Although he could block a sword with the edge of his hand, he received a small cut, indicating (as The Merovingian pointed out) that he was still human, despite his powers. His endurance is also finite: when confronted by masses of Smith clones, Neo was forced to escape rather than continue fighting, and upon exiting The Matrix, he appeared visibly tired. He can also pass through walls. This ability was first shown in The Matrix, when he entered into Agent Smith's body and deleted him and a Sentinel passed through his body in the Machine City in The Matrix Revolutions.
Neo was able to revive the recently deceased Trinity by gently applying pressure on the heart, and thus making it operational once again. Though the extent and limits of his ability to revive within The Matrix are not known.
A more subtle application of Neo's ability is a heightened awareness of the simulated nature of The Matrix, enabling him to easily detect Agents, Exiles, and other anomalous phenomena (such as the presence of explosives). He is even capable of a limited form of precognition. This has been described as "seeing the world without time" by The Oracle.
In addition, Neo (like most redpills) utilizes the Resistance's combat programs, which grant combat abilities equivalent to a martial artist with decades of experience. Neo is able to run an unprecedented number of these programs simultaneously; he is therefore a master of every known martial art and fighting styles, including Kung Fu and Kempo styles, Jujitsu, Eskrima, Drunken Boxing, Jeet Kune Do, Krav Maga, Budo and Taekwondo (the Nebuchadnezzar's ship operator, Tank, uploads each of these martial arts programs to Neo's brain during his training in the first movie). While fighting the Merovingian's Exiles, a resurrected Neo discovers that he still retains these implanted martial arts abilities, commenting that "I still know Kung Fu" during the fight. In training for the series, Keanu Reeves' fighting arsenal, as well as the entire cast's, emphasizes Wushu.
In the real world, Neo does not display any of the aforementioned abilities. Neo does have some degree of wireless connectivity with the Matrix system: he eventually learns to sense the presence of the Machines, and even interfere with their function. This capability overwhelms him at first after he disables a squad of sentinels, causing him to collapse and sends him to limbo without the equipment normally used by the Resistance.
According to The Oracle, "The power of The One extends beyond the Matrix. It reaches from here all the way back to where it came from". Apparently, because of his status as The One, he has a direct connection to the Source, and can, therefore, affect everything connected to it. After he is blinded in the fight against Smith/Bane, Neo begins to perceive everything connected to the Source, including the Machine City itself, as silhouettes of golden light.
Following his resurrection, it appears that while connected to the Matrix, his aging process is significantly diminished. Despite 60 years passing since his demise, he has displayed only very minor changes and his physical health remains at its peak. During the rediscovery of his true nature, Neo's powers slowly returned to him over time, although he initially lacked the ability to use them all, such as failing to achieve flight when he tried it. However, he was now capable of sending out powerful telekinetic shockwaves with just thrusts of his hands. While he could still stop bullets, his telekinesis in that area appeared to be weaker with it taking Neo more effort than before. By the time that Neo and Trinity confront the Analyst again, Neo's powers appear to have fully returned, including his ability to fly on his own, as he is seen flying alongside Trinity across the sky.
The folder brought in by Agent Smith during his interrogation with Neo contained information on his life while inside the Matrix. There is however a discrepancy regarding his date of birth as both his database record and passport, both contained in the folder, featured two different birthdays. The database record also contains a reference to his birth state, known only as "FU", which his passport does not mention. The information below is taken from both documents.
Name: Thomas A. Anderson. Marital Status: Single.
Date/Place of Birth: March 11, 1962, aged 36/37 (Record) or September 13, 1971, aged 27/28 (Passport), Lower Downtown, Capital City, USA.
Mother's Maiden Name: Michelle McGahey. Father's Name: John Anderson.
Schools Attended: Owen Patterson High School: Central West Junior High School.
Notes: In high school, he excelled in science, math and computer courses and displayed an aptitude for literature and history. Although he had disciplinary troubles when he was 13 to 14 years old, Anderson went on to become a respected member of the school community through his involvement in football and hockey.
- Note that The Oracle herself did not tell Neo that he wasn't The One, but allowed Neo to say what he believed.
- Neo is in the same hotel and the same room where Trinity is first seen at the start of The Matrix.
- Silver is a common antidote when dealing with vampires.
- Michelle McGahey was named after the art director for the first film.
- Owen Patterson is the production designer of the first film.