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How Did Neo Survive in The Matrix Trilogy?

It's been a few years, but we're pretty sure he died in 'Revolutions'.

Keanu Reeves as Neo in 'The Matrix'

When Warner Bros. and Lana Wachowski announced that they were making a new Matrix movie, Resurrections, we had lots of questions. Why now? Who will be reprising their roles? How do you make something original without messing with the original trilogy? But chief among them was this: didn’t Neo and Trinity die in the finale of The Matrix Revolutions?

At least, that’s how the 2003 film ended. But of course, it’s pop culture 101: unless you see the dead body (like REALLY see it) no one is really dead. And even if you do not only see the body, bury it, and wait two decades, they still might not be dead. The film is titled ‘Resurrections’ after all. What would a Christ allegory be without our hero coming back to life?

But let’s get back to Revolutions. The finale of the film sees Neo and Trinity traveling to Machine City, where Neo confronts the Deus Ex Machina, the central interface and leader of the machines. He makes a deal with DEM, to defeat rogue program Smith in exchange for peace between Zion and the machines. DEM then jacks Neo back into the Matrix, where he battles Smith.

In the ensuing fight, Neo allows himself to be assimilated by Smith, which establishes a hard-line connection between Smith and the DEM. Neo appears dead, but the DEM runs a massive surge of energy through his body, wiping out Smith and his copies and rebooting the entire Matrix. The machines then take Neo’s body away, but we don’t see what happens after.

According to the Architect in The Matrix Reloaded, The One is part of the cycle of the Matrix. The Architect says, “The function of the One is now to return to the Source allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry reinserting the Prime Program. After which, you will be allowed to select from the Matrix, 23 individuals; 16 female, 7 male to rebuild Zion. Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash killing everybody connected to Matrix which, coupled with the extermination of Zion, will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race.”

But of course, Neo breaks this process in brokering peace with DEM and Zion, As a result, he is inserted back into the Matrix, but Zion doesn’t fall. Instead, he is reintegrated into the next version of the program. As we see in Resurrections, the cold, green-tinged world of the Matrix is now filled in with warm light. Thomas Anderson is no longer a corporate drone, but the designer of a massively successful video game franchise titled “The Matrix’.

But despite this new and improved Matrix, he can’t help but feel that something is off, something is missing. And it’s here where The Matrix Resurrections kicks off.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.