(Credit: YouTube / Warner Bros)


The insane theory behind Neo in 'The Matrix'


At the end of 2021, we will be willfully plugging ourselves back into the world of The Matrix, a pivotal science-fiction franchise written and directed by sisters Lana and Lilly Wachowski. Capturing the attention of industry experts and cinema lovers upon its release in 1999, the original Matrix film spawned two sequels, Reloaded and Revolutions, with both coming out in the spring and autumn of 2003, respectively. 

For a story so wildly eccentric, it’s remarkable just how accessible the landscape of the Wachowski’s Matrix really is, with the film following a central conflict between two pieces of warring digital matter. Thematically, it’s a fight between creator and created, and on the surface, it’s an acrobatic leather-laden romp complete with a neo-punk aesthetic. A film of several genres, including dystopian horror, film-noir and high-stakes western, The Matrix is in a filmmaking league of its own. 

Aside from its thematic explorations, the central plot follows Neo, a once-ordinary computer programmer who is led to fight an underground war against malevolent machines who have enslaved humanity within a simulation called ‘the Matrix’. Whilst life inside the Matrix operates just as everyday reality does, with no change to the everyday humdrum, it is essentially a fake version of reality, providing images and stimuli that mimic real life. It is the mission of Neo (Keanu Reeves) and his newfound liberators Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) to help defeat the machines and bring humanity back to reality. 

The theory that changes ‘The Matrix’

Holding powers that seem to defy the laws of physics, Neo can fly, dodge bullets and can even seemingly manipulate the Matrix as he pleases whilst he exists within it. He can do this because the Matrix is essentially a game made up by the mind to make you think you are living in a physical world. Though, what if life outside ‘the Matrix’ is also a simulation used to keep the machines in check? And, what if Neo is merely a machine designed to oversee and guard these mechanical beings? 

It’s an insane theory that suggests that Neo was created by humans as a tool to guard the real world against discovery by the machines. So, where’s the evidence for this throughout the Matrix trilogy? The secrets are hidden in The Matrix Revolutions. 

Neo in the upcoming Matrix 4 film. (Credit: Warner Bros)

Mr. Smith 

Played by the excellent Hugo Weaving, Mr. Smith is the most powerful member of the villainous  ‘Agents’, a program created by the machines to keep watch over the humans of the Matrix. Holding similar abilities to Neo, Mr. Smith can manipulate the simulated world and can even possess the minds of any individual he pleases. 

In The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, he possesses the mind of Bane, a liberated member of the ‘real world’ who is momentarily caught in the Matrix. Assimilating into Bane’s body, Smith takes control of his mind and movements even after he leaves the simulated Matrix and returns to the ‘real world’ of Zion. Though, if Zion is indeed the ‘real world’ then how could Mr. Smith, a computer programme, remain in Bane’s mind? Unless, of course, ‘the real world’ isn’t real at all. 

(Credit: Warner Bros)

Neo and the machines 

At the end of The Matrix Reloaded, and indeed throughout The Matrix Revolutions, Neo is able to disable the evil sentinel robots through the use of mere telekinesis, giving the liberated ‘real world’ a considerable advantage. 

The sentinels are robots living in the ‘real world’ who maintain order and hunt down the liberated rebels looking to bring down the sinister system of enslavement. The way Neo uses telekinesis against the sentinels is very similar to the way in which he manipulates the simulation of the Matrix to dodge bullets, with many believing that this is a clue to the theory that the ‘real world’ is indeed also a simulation. 

Trinity and Neo in The Matrix. (Credit: Alamy)

The Matrix Code

The code for the Matrix programme has become one of the most iconic aspects of the science fiction franchise, with its neon green symbols forming the foundations of the simulated world that Neo can visualise throughout all three films. 

At the end of The Matrix Revolutions, Neo is blinded during a fight with Bane, possessed with the evil of Mr. Smith. Left totally without vision after the incident, Neo finds his way around the ‘real world’ by the code of the Matrix as well as large golden glows that light his way. If he is living in the ‘real world’ of Zion at this point, then surely he shouldn’t be able to see the code of the simulation, further adding to the theory that Zion is merely another version of the Matrix.