When we first see Neo in The Matrix, he is living as Thomas A. Anderson in an unknown city known only as the Mega City
and by day is working for the Metacortex Corporation, supposedly one of the world's most prestigious software companies. By night, he spends his time on the internet as a hacker
under the alias of Neo. Cracking files, hacking into accounts and according to Agent Smith
, he is 'guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for.'
During this time, he stumbled across information regarding something known as The Matrix
which helps confound his belief that there is something wrong with the world he lives in. Seeking more information, he spends almost a year searching in vain for a man known only as Morpheus
until one night, he gets a message telling him to 'follow the White Rabbit'
. Following Dujour's white rabbit tattoo to a night club, he meets with Trinity
, a contact of Morpheus who tells him that they will make contact soon.
This contact comes the folowing day when at work, Neo recieves phone in the mail from Morpheus who immediately warns him of the the Agents
who are on their way to apprehend him as they speak. Morpheus tells Neo to escape up to the rooftop but he is unable to make the climb leaving him with no option but to be taken into custody by the Agents. Here, Neo gets his first proof of the world not being right when Agent Smith manages to seal up his mouth just by saying it and implanting a metallic bug inside him. Believing the ordeal to be a dream, Neo wakes up in his bed to the sound of his phone ringing. This is Trinity who has found out about the bugging and realises she has to take Neo to see Morpheus that evening. Upon arriving, Neo is met by Morpheus who informs him of what the Matrix really is and is given the choice for remain inside it or to get into the real world. Choosing the latter option, Neo takes the red pill and soon finds himself awake in the power plant: A huge construction containing the world's population hooked into a generator powering both the machines and the Matrix.
After taking several months to relearn how to use his body now that it has been released from the Matrix, Neo is trained by Morpheus in all types of martial arts
and also how to bend the rules of the Matrix allowing him to become far more agile and more resiliant during combat. When he is sufficiently trained, Morpheus takes Neo to see The Oracle
: A sentient program who can predict the future of events within the Matrix. She tells him that there will be an event where he will have to choose between his own life and Morpheus' life and that while he might not be The One that everyone hopes for, he might be in the next life. During this meeting, Neo and the rest of the Nebuchadnezzar's crew are betrayed by Cypher forcinging them head on into confrontation with Agents Smith, Jones and Brown along with a full SWAT team. With no option but to escape, Morpheus sacrifices himself to give Neo, Trinity and the rest of the crew enough time to flee and reach another hardline.
Following Cypher's betrayal, Neo and Trinity mount a rescue mission to save Morpheus from the skyscraper where he is being held by the Agents. During the assault on the tower, Neo is confronted by Agent Jones who flawlessly dodges all his bullets but when he fires back, Neo almost manages to do the same
. This agility is above and beyond what any other redpill can do meaning Morpheus is convinced that Neo is indeed The One. Heading into the subway for the nearest accessible hardline, Morpheus and Trinity pass through into the real world but while this was happening, Agent Smith hijacked the body of a homeless man and smashes the phone, leaving Neo with no easy way out. However, filled with confidence after his encounter with Agent Jones, Neo faces Agent Smith on the subway platform, eventually getting the better of him by forcing him in the path of an oncoming train.
Smith reappears immediately, this time hijacking the body of the train driver making Neo realise this is a fight he can't win. Fleeing from the station, Neo follows Tank's instructions to the next accessible hardline in a block of flats nearby. Outmaneuvering the Agents, Neo runs to the ringing phone but just as he reaches it, Smith hijacks yet another body, presumably that of a resident in the building and shoots Neo repeatedly in the chest, leaving him to die in the hallway. On the Nebuchadnezzar, Trinity is distraught and confesses to Neo's lifeless body that she loves him and that she truly believes he is The One. This rejuvenates Neo back to life in The Matrix, much to the surprise of Agents who all start shooting at him. However, the bullets are effortlessly stopped by Neo who has now realised his full potential as The One. Realising his firearms
are useless, Smith charges down the corridor to take Neo on but he is also effortlessly beaten with Neo blocking all his attacks with one arm before knocking way back down the corridor with one single kick. Neo then sprints down the hallway and flies into Agent Smith, destroying his body from the inside.
In the final scene of the movie, Neo is heard giving a message saying he will do everything he can to free as many human minds from the Matrix as possible before flying away, demonstrating that he can not only bend the rules of the Matrix, but break them completely.
The Matrix Reloaded
Following on six months after the events of the first film, Neo has captured the hearts and minds of the population of Zion
. This is demonstrated by the amount of blessings and gifts he is given during his stay in Zion in the opening scenes. While in Zion, Neo's worst fears are confirmed when he finds out that the machines are launching an attack on the city and that he has to act or it will be destroyed in 72 hours. Seeking advice, Neo travels into the Matrix to meet with The Oracle, but first he has to face Seraph, a program dispatched to protect The Oracle from the more dangerous programs in the Matrix which have sprung up since Neo's awakening. The Orcale tells him to seek the Keymaster, another sentient program which monitors all the backdoors and shortcuts in the Matrix, who will give him the key to access The Source which he must destroy to save Zion.
Before Neo can return to the Nebuchadnezzar, Smith confronts him. No longer an Agent after Neo destroyed him at the end of the first film, he is now the enemy of both the humans and the Matrix which wants to delete him and so rather than going back to The Source, he has turned into a virus-like being and can multiply into many different bodies, including redpills like Neo, at once, rather than being limited to one body. Neo manages to fend off an attack from hundreds of these Smith clones and return to the real world to tell Morpheus and Trinity about the Keymaster and his keeper, The Merovingian.
Travelling to the Merovingian's residence, Neo, Morpheus and Trinity attempt to bargain for the Keymaker but are flat out refused. However, his wife, Persephone, hands the Keymaker over to the trio after Neo obliges her with a passionate kiss, something her husband never does. While escaping with the Keymaker, they are caught by the Merovingian's guards but they pose little threat to Neo who dispatches them with ease. While Morpheus, Trinity and the Keymaker all escape, Neo is left trapped in the chateau many miles north of the Mega City and must fly back down on his own. When he reconvenes with the others, the Keymaker reveals that two power stations must be destroyed to allow the backdoor into the Source to even open.
The plan to destroy the power stations is extremely difficult to pull off but manages to work thus allowing Neo entrance into the Source where he is confronted by The Architect, the program which created the Matrix who informs Neo he is infact the sixth 'One'. He also says that Zion has been destroyed 5 times before and rather than being a group of renegade humans, it is in fact started by the machines themselves who allow it to repopulate in order to give the humans the idea of choice between the Matrix and the real world and also that the purpose of The One is to make sure the creation and destruction of Zion goes smoothly.
The Architect then gives Neo a choice: He can either enter the Source and destroy it like all his predecessors or return to the Matrix and save Trinity from dying at the hands of an Agent, just as he had envisioned at the start of the film. Rejecting the option to save Zion, Neo explodes out of the Architect's room, flies through the Mega City so fast that he creates a hurricane in his wake and catches Trinity before she hits the floor. Refusing to let her die, Neo reaches into her stomach and pulls out the bullet. When he arrives back on the Nebuchadnezzar, Neo informs Morpheus that the prophecy he had believed for so long was simply a way for the machines to control the humans outside of the Matrix and that Zion was going to be destroyed.
However, an attack from a group of Sentinels force the crew to leave the Nebuchadnezzar behind forcing them to trek back to Zion on foot through the Sentinel infested tunnels. While escaping, Neo claims that he 'can feel them'
and manages to destroy a Sentinel in the real world at great cost to his health. Falling down unconcious, he has to be escorted back to Zion on the Hammer hovercraft. Here, Neo is attached to a life support machine along with the only surviving member of the Caduceus: Bane.
The Matrix Revolutions
Following on directly after the end of Reloaded, Neo awakes in an empty train station which acts as a limbo between the Matrix and the Source where programs go in order to be returned
to the Source and deleted. Here he is told by The Trainman that he will be left there until The Merovingian decides to let him out. Once he escapes, thanks to Trinity bargaining with the Merovingian, Neo concludes that The Oracle's vision was indeed correct only rather than heading to the Source as he and his predecessors had, where they were then foiled by the Architect, The One was instead intended to travel to Machine City and destroy it in person.
Travelling to meet The Oracle one more time, she warns Neo that the real threat is not the machine army approaching Zion but the army of Smiths that have been slowly taking over the Matrix. Knowing what he must do, Neo and Trinity take Niobe's ship, the Logos and intend to fly it to the centre of Machine City and face the Deus Ex Machina, the head of the machines. However, while they prepare the journey, Neo is attacked by Bane who has been posessed by Smith. During this encounter, Bane blinds Neo but Neo can still see him, or more precisely: Smith's aura, due to his abilities as The One and kills him.
Upon encountering Machine City's defences, the Logos is shot down forcing it to make a crash landing. While Neo managed to survive relatively unharmed, Trinity sustained fatal injuries and dies in his arms leaving Neo to go on alone. When he arrives at Zero-One, the machine city, Neo makes a deal with the Deus Ex Machina: If he can defeat the Smith virus, Zion must be left unharmed. Realising the virus was as much a threat to the machines as it was to the humans, the deal is accepted and Neo is plugged into the Matrix which is now completely overrun by Smith clones. Going one-on-one last time with the original Smith, the two fight all over the Mega City until they evetually smash into a crater in the ground. Realising that the two are equal and he can't win, Neo sacrifices himself to Smith who finally manages to infect him and finally take control. However, this victory is short lived as the machines take control of Smith again through Neo and delete him from the system, similar to how he was destroyed by Neo originally thus saving both the Matrix and Zion.
While Enter the Matrix
was the first and most publicised of The Matrix
video games, Neo himself does not appear in either the video game itself or the FMV
sequences, however, he is mentioned regularly as the crux of the game's storyline is that Niobe
are acting to destroy the power stations in order to allow Neo to enter the Source which is happening directly in parallel with the actions of the film. In The Matrix: Path of Neo
, this is reversed as Neo is the main and only playable character and the game offers a different take on his path through the three films with changes including Neo escaping from the Metacortex building in the first film rather than being apprehended by the Agents and the final encounter involving a giant MegaSmith rather than facing a single Smith amidst an army of clones. This game is also the only featured appearance of Neo where he is not played by Keanu Reeves
and instead voiceed by Andrew Bowen
In the massively multiplayer The Matrix Online
, it was essentially confirmed that Neo is dead as his memories have been implanted in Impostor Agents due to his RSI code fracturing after his final battle with Smith. These were fought for between the game's main factions but even with all the pieces brought together, the code was still unreadable to anyone besides The Shapers, a cult who can repiece RSI code. They do not trust the redpills however and so used part of the code to create a being known as the N30 Ag3nt. In Chapter 1.2 of the game, Morpheus discovers that while the remains of Neo were never returned to Zion, his body was never recycled either meaning he could potentially still be out there. This was backed up by a newspaper clipping found in the game which details the miraculous coma recovery of a woman called Sarah Edmontons, which is an anagram of Thomas Anderson.
Due to the success of The Matrix series, references, homages and parodies of Neo have appeared from time to time in all aspects of media including video games, most particularly the bullet time
effect which allows the player to slow down time while allowing them to react at the same speed as normal thus giving the player an edge over opponents. There are some games that feature direct references to the series, the most famous of these is in the Max Payne
series where the titular Max Payne
has Neo's bullet time abilities as well as being able to
leap further distances than other characters while shootdodging. Max is also always seen in his black trenchcoat which is similar to the one worn by Neo in the first film. Also, in the final section of the game, Max launches a one man attack on a skyscraper which opens with a shootout in a lobby not too dissimilar to that in the Morpheus rescue sequence of the original film. This lobby shootout is also used in the N64
game, Conker's Bad Fur Day
, and it's Xbox remake
, only to a much more comic effect. This time, it is Conker
and his girlfriend Berri who are storming the building dressed exactly like Neo and Trinity. However, this time a bank rather than a skyscraper and the pillars are boobytrapped with lasers that are deactivated once a certain amount of enemies have been killed. These can only effectively be killed in bullet time which appears here as a conext sensitive
action which springs Conker cartwheeling up into the air, dual wielding