|Appearances|| The Matrix|
The Matrix Reloaded
Enter the Matrix
The Matrix Revolutions
The Matrix Online
The Matrix: Path of Neo
Thomas A. "Tom" Anderson (alias Neo) is a fictional character in The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions, as well as having a cameo in The Animatrix short film, Kid's Story. He was portrayed by Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Trilogy and The Animatrix. Andrew Bowen provided Neo's voice in The Matrix: Path of Neo.
Thomas A. Anderson was born on the 11 March 1962 in "Lower Downtown, Capitol City, FU, USA" according to his criminal record seen in the film. His mother was Michelle McGahey (who happened to be the art director on the first film. This is an Easter egg) and his father was John Anderson. He attended Central West Junior High and Owen Patterson High (named after the film's production designer, another easter egg).
Neo and the world of the MatrixEdit
The character Neo lives in the world of the Matrix, an illusory construct in which humans are neurally connected to a massive computer system that simulates the world of the late 20th century. This system has been developed by intelligent machines to keep the human population as tools for the machines' survival; the machines use a form of fusion in addition to the bioelectrical energy of human beings as their primary energy source. Previously, the machines had relied upon solar power; but after the war between humans and machines broke out, humans cut off the machines' energy source by creating an immense cloud of nanomachines that blocked out the sunlight. Those who live their entire lives connected to the Matrix are unaware that their reality is not in fact real, nor that there is a human rebellion by the few 'free' humans in the city of Zion. From time to time, individuals are freed from the Matrix, a risky and complex operation. There is a legend or prophecy amongst free humans (which some believe and others scorn) that there is a human who, when connected to the Matrix, can override its computer-simulated rules and perceive and manipulate its code directly. Thus, within the simulated reality of the Matrix, this person would appear to be able to perform miracles. This person is called in legend "The One". His or her discovery is the subject of a lifelong quest by Morpheus, a hovercraft captain of the Zion fleet, who hopes that The One will bring the perpetual war between Man and Machine to an end.
When the nature of the Matrix is revealed to him, Neo becomes part of the human resistance and he is revealed to be 'The One'. The Matrix film trilogy explores his abilities as The One to manipulate his computer-simulated reality to his will, and his messianic mission as the savior of mankind.
The word 'Neo' is an anagram of the word 'one', but also for 'eon'. Neo is also Greek for 'new,' suggesting messianic overtones for his mission in the Matrix. In Gnosticism, eons or aeons are emanations from or aspects of God, one of which was regarded by many Gnostics to taken human form as Jesus. The name "Neo" also might be a play on words from the middle posterior lobe of the cerebellum, also known as the neocerebellum. The neocerebellum receives input from the cerebral cortex and is involved in muscle coordination during movement and in learning skilled motor skills.
At the start of the series, Thomas Anderson is one amongst billions of humans neurally connected to the Matrix, unaware that the world he lives in is a virtual reality. In his legitimate activities, he is a quiet programmer for the "respectable software company" Metacortex; but he is also a computer hacker who penetrates computer systems illicitly and steals information, under his hacker alias "Neo". During his time as a hacker, Anderson has learned about something known only as "the Matrix". It is described by Morpheus as a vague notion that Neo has felt his whole life that "there is something wrong with the world".
During the years prior to the events of The Matrix, Anderson spent his time trying to find The one man whom he thought could tell him what the Matrix was: a supposed terrorist known only as Morpheus. Anderson is suddenly contacted by Morpheus, but is rapidly captured by the virtual reality's Agents, led by Agent Smith. After refusing to co-operate with the agents, Neo has an electronic bug implanted within his Matrix-simulated body, so that his actions can be tracked and those seeking to make contact from the free world can be traced and destroyed. He is contacted by Trinity, freed from the bug, and taken to meet Morpheus.
Neo is offered the choice to remain in his everyday life or to learn what the Matrix is. Accepting, he takes a drug (commonly called the "red pill") designed to disrupt his body's neural connection to the Matrix, and wakes up disoriented and alarmed to find himself weak, hairless, and naked in a pod of liquid, wherein he is connected to many wires.
Neo is rescued and his body is healed of the effects of his atrophy suffered in the power plant. Once Neo regains consciousness and is able to walk around, Morpheus tells Neo the truth about the Matrix, about the real world, and about the fate of humanity. At first Neo refuses to believe him, but he ultimately embraces the truth. Afterward, Morpheus also tells Neo about the prophecy of The One, and how he believes that Neo is The One. The next day, Neo begins his "training", becoming knowledgeable in many forms of combat by having various training programs uploaded directly into his brain. He also receives further instruction from Morpheus on subjects such as "freeing his mind" from the restrictions of the Matrix and the existence of its Agents.
After several days aboard the Nebuchadnezzar, Neo is taken to meet the Oracle, who has the power of foresight within the simulated world. She tells him that he has the "gift", but appeared to be waiting for something — "Your next life, maybe. Who knows?". Neo believes the Oracle to mean that he is not The One. The Oracle warns him that an event will come where he will have to choose between his own life or that of Morpheus, and that one of them will die.
On their way back to the phone, the crew of Morpheus' ship are betrayed by Cypher. Morpheus is captured and held by Agents within the Matrix. Escaping death at the hands of Cypher, Neo and Trinity learn that the Agents seek to force Morpheus to tell them the access codes to the Zion mainframe. After refusing to sacrifice Morpheus (to prevent him from leaking the codes), Neo decides to attack the government building. He and Trinity therefore fight their way to the roof level of the building, where they are confronted by Agent Jones. Neo unloads two entire magazines of ammo on Jones only to have every one of them be dodged effortlessly. When Jones returns fire, Neo proves to be capable of dodging bullets himself, fluidly moving in a way that only Agents were thought to be capable of moving. Jones is then shot by Trinity at point-blank range. Using an armed chopper, Neo and Trinity successfully rescue Morpheus from the floor of the building that he was on. Having just completed a successful rescue mission in a building protected by heavily armed guards and agents, a feat never before achieved, Morpheus takes this as evidence confirming that Neo is indeed The One, dismissing the Oracle's words by saying that she merely told Neo "exactly what you needed to hear". He further elaborates "Neo, soon you're going to realize just as I did, there is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path".
Reaching the hard line, Morpheus and Trinity return to the real world, but Neo is trapped by Agent Smith. Rather than run, Neo decides to stand his ground and fight Smith. Neo skillfully engages Smith in combat, almost seeming to be Smith's equal. In the end Neo is able to subdue him, trapping him in front of an oncoming train. Smith possesses the body of the driver and emerges from the train. Realizing that he cannot win this fight, Neo runs out of the subway.
Neo is pursued by Smith and his fellow Agents, but is able to outrun them and reach the location of the hard line, only to be ambushed and fatally shot by Smith. Trinity, seeing Neo's body dying with his mind still in the Matrix, tells his apparently lifeless body that the Oracle had foretold that she would fall in love with The One. This is probably what the Oracle told Neo he was "waiting for", in that the term "next life" refers to his revival by Trinity's kiss, which restimulates his body. When the Agents try to kill him again, he holds out his hand and the bullets stop, suspended in mid-air, and then drop to the ground. It is then shown that he is able to perceive, interpret, and alter the computer code whereof the Matrix is composed. Fully believing in his newfound powers, he effortlessly fends off Agent Smith before diving into the Agent's body (presumably a visible manifestation of his program) to destroy him from within.
Neo is then seen leaving a message for the machines via phone, a warning that Neo plans to oppose the machines by freeing as many human minds as possible. He then hangs up and flies into the sky.
The Matrix ReloadedEdit
Approximately six months go by between the events of The Matrix and the second film, The Matrix Reloaded. Neo is now fully confident in his ability to manipulate the artificial world within the Matrix: he can fly, has immense strength and speed, has telekinetic and healing abilities, and is nearly invulnerable. He no longer uses firearms, preferring martial arts, and his ability to see the code of the Matrix makes him invulnerable to ambush. He and Trinity are now lovers. Dispensing with the long black trenchcoat and black shirt he wears at the conclusion of The Matrix, Neo now prefers a long coat with a high-rise mandarin collar that greatly resembles a cassock worn by clerics. Neo seeks more advice from the Oracle, unsure of his purpose, while Zion prepares for a massive attack from the Machines of over 250,000 Sentinels. The Oracle directs him on a quest to find the Keymaker, a personified program that has access to numerous backdoors within the system. The Keymaker will be able to lead Neo safely to the Source, the programming heart of the machine world, which contains the programs sustaining the Matrix.
As the Oracle leaves, Agent Smith (now known simply as Smith) appears, and it is revealed that Neo had separated Smith from the rest of the Matrix code by shattering him, giving him a life independent of the machine's systems. Agent Smith is no longer an Agent of the Matrix, but has become more virus-like, able to insert his code into other systems and infect other programs and human minds to make copies of himself. Neo fends off hundreds of these 'Smiths' and escapes. Later he, Morpheus, and Trinity steal the Keymaker from his keeper, The Merovingian.
The Keymaker explains that two power stations elsewhere in the Matrix must be disabled in a short time window to successfully disable the security system and allow Neo to reach the Source. This task is accomplished; but the Keymaker is killed, a hovercraft is destroyed, and Trinity is put in jeopardy by Agents of the Matrix; a vision that Neo has seen earlier in his dreams. Entering the door, Neo finds himself confronted by the Architect, a personification of the systems which create and design successive versions of the Matrix.
The Architect presents Neo with a radically different explanation of his origins and purpose, claiming that Neo is actually the sixth "One". He goes on to say that Zion has been destroyed by the machines five times before; faced with the dilemma of allowing humanity to be destroyed, or allowing the machines' preferred status quo to be reconstructed, Neo's five predecessors have helped reload, or restart the Matrix, before being allowed to rebuild Zion with a handful of freed humans. The productive output of the Matrix is based upon this repeated cycle of destruction and recreation, to keep the human minds which power it in a stable structure. The Oracle is as much part of that self-perpetuating design as the Architect, Neo is told, and the prophecy of The One is designed to ensure it runs smoothly each time.
The Architect warns of the annihilation of all human life in and out of the Matrix if he did not enter the Source door to reload the Matrix, but unlike his predecessors, Neo does not enter the door to the Source; he chooses not to believe the Architect's dire warnings of consequences, and to save Trinity instead.
Together, they exit the Matrix and return to the real world. Neo tells Morpheus that the Prophecy was merely another system of control emplaced upon them, and that Zion's destruction is imminent. A group of Sentinels begin to converge on their hovercraft, so that Neo and the others are forced to abandon it and flee. Neo stops, however, and is able to deactivate the Sentinels by a hitherto unknown ability. The effort of doing so renders him unconscious.
He and the crew are rescued by the hovercraft Mjolnir/Hammer, the crew of which are dealing with a mystery in the form of Bane, a crewmember from another ship, who is the only survivor of an ill-fated attack by the Zion fleet. Unbeknownst to anyone, Bane has become caught and infected by a copy of the Smith program, which has allowed Smith to bring himself into the real world through Bane's mind.
The Matrix RevolutionsEdit
The Matrix Revolutions begins immediately after the events of the second movie. As a result of his struggle with the Sentinels, Neo returns to consciousness to find himself caught in an isolated limbo only accessible by order of the Merovingian, from which his mind is unable to free itself. He remains trapped until freed by Trinity, who threatens the Merovingian in a Mexican standoff unless Neo is freed.
Neo determines, through his new abilities of foresight, that in truth the Oracle's prophecy was correct in that The One was predetermined to return to the Source to stop the war. The Architect, however, altered the prophecy and forced Neo's predecessors to end their path with Zion's destruction and the reloading of the Matrix. After a final visit to the Oracle, Neo learns it is not the approaching Sentinels that he should fear, but Smith, whose clones are multiplying and threaten to destroy the Matrix, the human world, and the world of the Machines. Building on the Oracle's previous explanations about the nature of choice, Neo learns that the Architect's assertion that his choice to save Trinity would inherently lead to the extinction of mankind was incorrect, due to his nature as a purely mathematical being. Having told Neo that he now has the power to choose to end the war and defeat Smith, the Oracle then states "Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo". Neo must now go to the heavily-guarded Machine City in hopes of stopping the Sentinels and Smith.
Neo and Trinity are given the Logos, a hovercraft commanded by Morpheus's former lover, Niobe, in what seems to others as a suicidal journey to the Machine City. Meanwhile, Captain Roland and the Nebuchadnezzar's surviving crew of Link and Morpheus in the hovercraft Hammer/Mjolnir to Zion, which is now besieged and losing in the Machines' attack. Neo and Trinity are ambushed by the stowaway Bane/Smith, who blinds Neo, but is killed when Neo discovers an ability to 'see' programs and Machines independently of his eyesight. Neo, with Trinity as pilot, guide the Logos past the Machine City's defenses, but in the effort the Logos crash-lands, and Trinity sustains fatal injuries and dies.
Neo encounters the Deus Ex Machina, a Machine construct, and offers Smith's destruction in exchange for a truce. The offer is accepted; Neo enters the Matrix to find that the Smith program has cloned itself throughout the simulated world, and has turned it into a rainswept dark simulation where copies of Smith exclude most other beings. One of the copies of Smith, having assimilated the Oracle, has become Neo's equal and therefore becomes his opponent. Their cataclysmic fight leaves Smith unable to defeat Neo, while Neo himself realizes that fighting will not win this battle. Therefore Neo sacrifices himself to Smith and allows Smith to seize victory by finally infecting Neo with the Smith program and turning Neo's mind and body into a Smith clone. By infecting Neo with the Smith code, the program whereof it is a copy allows the Machines to regain control of Smith through Neo's mind, whereupon the Machines destroy them.
Neo's body is respectfully taken away by the Machines in the Machine City, while below in Zion the Machines stop their attack and retire in deference to the peace that Neo bartered.
As the movie ends, a black cat is seen walking down a destroyed sidewalk. It stops, appears to digitize as the Matrix is reloaded or restarted, and repeats and resumes its business. (This was an allusion to a scene where Neo sees a black cat appear twice in The Matrix, an indication that something has been changed within the Matrix code.)
Sati, a program smuggled into the Matrix, awakes, meets with the Oracle, and creates a colorful sunrise in honor of Neo. Sati asks the Oracle whether they will ever see Neo again, with the Oracle responding; "I suspect so". The Architect approaches the Oracle and agrees to release all humans from the Matrix who desire release.
It is known that in some limited edition future comics, Neo is revived by the Machines to combat a new threat. Agents remaining in the Matrix are suspected to be the new threat; but no definition is given.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
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 fewer than 15 minutes (2,000 miles per hour), implying that his "cruising speed" is in excess of three times the speed of sound. His speed of flight is further exemplified by his ability to escape explosions and the fact that as he flies, objects around him tend to twist, catch fire, or smash; the sonic boom left in his wake has the power to overturn rows of heavy vehicles.
Further, Neo possesses superhuman strength and agility, and is able to survive attacks that would kill or disable a normal human being with relative ease. His reflexes are great enough to dodge bullets. Although he could block a sword with the edge of his hand, however, 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 in the second film, Neo was forced to escape rather than continue fighting, and upon exiting the Matrix, he appeared visibly tired.
Neo has displayed the ability to heal people within the Matrix, even to the point of resurrecting the recently deceased (though the extent and limits of this ability 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. The ability to see the Matrix's inner workings has been nicknamed "Code Vision". This has been described as "seeing the world without time", or visualizing possible futures like a chess player looking several moves ahead.
In addition, Neo (like most Red Pills) 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 style, including Kung Fu, Jujitsu, Karate, Eskrima, Drunken Boxing, 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). In training for the series, Keanu Reeve's fighting arsenal, as well as the entire cast's, emphasizes Wushu.
In the real world, Neo has 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, causing him to collapse into Mobil Avenue Station 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.
At the start of the MMORPG sequel, The Matrix Online, scattered code fragments of Neo's 'RSI' (Residual Self Image) were found on the bodies of the impostor Agents who appeared across the Mega City during Chapter 1.1. When held, these fragments echoed some of the final thoughts of Neo inside the redpill's mind. Each of the three main post-war political organizations inside the Matrix realized the possible significance of these fragments and began fighting amongst themselves to gather as many as they could.
With their large number of Neo Fragments, Zion had their specialist coders try and reforge The One's RSI, but were only able to partially do so and even then it was essentially flawed. This partially reforged RSI was later placed permanently inside the Matrix by the Machines for the "edification of redpills".
The Oracle reveals a secret society of exiles known only as the Shapers, who are the only ones able to bring the Fragments together in any significant way and that they must be protected from the impostor agents' corruption. The redpills' distrust and organizational differences prove too much for any strong unity, so that a Shaper fell into the captivity of the false agents. His power was used to encode some part of The One's being onto themselves, creating the powerful, pale-skinned, dark-presenced "N30 Ag3nts".
In Chapter 1.2, Morpheus states that the Machines never returned Neo's physical remains (Thomas Anderson's body in the real world) to Zion, that they did not "recycle" them: a reference to the first film, in which Morpheus tells Neo that the machines liquefy deceased occupants of the Matrix to provide organic sustenance for its living inhabitants.
There was also a newspaper clipping found in one of the game's storyline missions which detailed a woman who suddenly and unexpectedly awoke from a coma only to leave the hospital without a word. The name of the woman was Sarah Edmontons, which is an anagram of Thomas Anderson. This was recently confirmed as not being a loose thread as MxO writer Paul Chadwick "has not forgotten [sic] about that little newspaper clipping".
In April 2007, an RSI transmission appearing to be that of Morpheus appeared throughout the city at random, claiming that Neo is still alive and that the Machines have him captive. These transmissions have since been revealed to be a fabrication made by the Exile known as the General, who planned to sow dissent between Zion and the Machines.