Over the past 18 years, the Matrix has become popular all around the world; in fact, it’s fair at this point to call it a cultural phenomenon, one that has lasted perhaps far longer than anyone ever thought. Whether it’s the characters or the cinematic presentation, fans across the globe have become enamored with the story of The Matrix, be it in the main cinematic trilogy, the number of different games or the animated features. Because of the high level of interest, every aspect of the franchise has been broken time and again, rewritten and rewired. However, even with all of the new materials that come out, one area that remains mysterious is the full extent of Neo’s abilities.
In the Matrix films, Neo becomes an all-powerful being. He can bring the dead back to life or stop a horde of renegade programs from corrupting his own mind; he doesn’t need to dodge bullets, he can fly… basically, Neo can do anything. What fans don’t know is how far his abilities can go; a limit that even today continues to be pushed to the limits of fan theory. In light of that, CBR has decided to compile 15 examples of things you didn’t know Neo could do.
15. MANIPULATE REALITY WITHIN THE MATRIX
When Neo first became The One, he gained the ability to alter the Matrix to his liking. If that’s not clear, Neo functions the same way a system administrator works in a computer system. Only a system administrator can freely delete, edit, copy, or change anything within that system. Neo’s powers within the Matrix work in a similar capacity. He can access programs and lines of code, then change them at will.
Knowing that, Neo can turn the Matrix into whatever he wants it to be, much like Smith did at the end of Revolutions. If he wanted the virtual world to become a post-apocalyptic wasteland, he could make it one. If Neo wanted the world to become a virtual utopia, he could do that, too. The point is, Neo could make reality inside of the Matrix bend to his will.
14. AWARENESS OF ANY CHANGES WITHIN THE MATRIX
One of Neo’s lesser known abilities allows him to sense any changes inside of the Matrix. Were someone to introduce a foreign program to the system, Neo would know about it. Or if a part of the system became corrupt, Neo would be alerted to the change. But wait! Neo wasn’t alerted to Smith reinserting himself into the Matrix, right? It took a direct message from Smith to finally confirm a change he admits to “feeling.”
The reason why Neo didn’t sense Smith’s reinsertion is because he was barely growing accustomed to the powers of The One. Remember, Neo ascended at the end of The Matrix and Smith resurfaced towards the beginning of The Matrix Reloaded. Neo didn’t have nearly enough time to learn about his abilities before Smith jacked himself back in. Had he, Neo might’ve been able to stop the rogue Agent before he could do much damage; though, again, he was not “surprised to see” Smith. A fully developed One would’ve immediately sensed Smith and swiftly erased him from the Matrix.
Another of Neo’s lesser known abilities is that of clairvoyance. It was briefly put on display during Neo’s time at the Mobil Ave. station. There, he witnessed a future where a river of Sentinels flowed infinitely. Neo’s vision cut off shortly after but just that glimpse proves that he’s able to predict the future, to some extent.
While Neo might not be able to see as accurately as the Oracle, he could feasibly have trained himself to be just as adept. Were he give the opportunity to hone his skills, Neo may have learned to see into all potential futures. At that point, calculating what decision would bring forth the best outcome would’ve made him an unstoppable force. It’s just too bad Neo died before he could get the chance to perfect his clairvoyant abilities.
12. HEALING POWERS
Besides removing a bullet from Trinity’s heart in The Matrix Reloaded, Neo’s healing abilities haven’t really been put on display. Despite that, Neo’s abilities extend far beyond what’s been seen. The reason is, Neo isn’t performing any miracles to do it. He’s simply adjusting a segment of code so that it returns to its previous state.
People tend to forget that the Matrix is governed by a computer system and that we see is basically just a user interface. In that system, lines of digital code dictate how everything and everyone operates within it. Neo’s function as a system administrator grants him the access to change any written code he so chooses. Because of that, Neo can alter any code that says he or an ally has been injured. Be it a grievous wound or a slight illness, Neo would only need to find the problematic segment of code and delete it, thus making him a virtual messiah of healing.
11. RESURRECT THE DEAD
To some, resurrection might seem extremely similar to healing in the Matrix, but there’s a notable distinction between the two. As mentioned above, Neo simply needs to rewrite a piece of code to heal someone. As soon as he does so, their injuries would disappear. But to bring someone back from the dead, the process would be a bit more complicated.
When someone new jacks in to the Matrix, their mind is converted into lines of code. After going through said process, the code which contains the entirety of a person’s mind will exist in some form regardless of what happens to it. Therefore, segments of code containing people past and present can be accessed. And Neo can do what he wants with all of that code, including bringing back allies. They wouldn’t be the same but a live version of them could be crafted nonetheless.
10. WITHSTAND BLAST OF NUCLEAR BOMB
Since Neo is capable of altering nearly any aspect of the Matrix, he can prevent any harm from coming to himself. Even with a nuclear bomb igniting right in front of him, there are plenty of avenues Neo can take to stop it. Of course, the most entertaining would be to see Neo supposedly engulfed by the explosion, only to be shown that it had no effect on his physical being.
The logic behind such a feat would be similar to Neo’s manipulation of the Matrix. It would simply require that he edit the segment of code governing a bomb’s ignition. Some fans might argue that Neo isn’t fast enough to stop a nuclear bomb, but those people haven’t accounted for Neo’s past as a hacker. He knows all the ins and outs of computer systems, and could easily find a solution, thus rendering a nuclear bomb ineffective.
9. MOVE BETWEEN WORLDS THAT AREN’T THE MATRIX
While most of us are familiar with Neo jumping between the real world and the Matrix, not many remember his ability to enter other worlds. We saw a clear example of this when Neo ventured into the Mobil Ave. station. It’s a weigh-station between the Source and the Matrix, a world not beholden to either plane of existence. But Mobil Ave. is just one of the worlds Neo has access to.
Since Neo can travel back and forth between different worlds, that also means he can jack into the Source. It’s a destination Neo has yet to travel to but if his biological wireless connection to the Matrix is as strong as we assume it is, then it’s probably safe to say Neo can access the Source and any other nearby worlds.
Everyone who has seen The Matrix knows that Neo can stop bullets with his mind. What they don’t know is that Neo’s telekinetic abilities extend far beyond just stopping bullets. The power of Neo’s mind gives him the ability to move or stop anything with just a simple thought.
Now, it’s not like Neo changes anything in an instant outside of the program, but with enough concentration, he can control them wirelessly. We saw this on display when Neo first learned to bend a spoon, of course, but that was within the Matrix itself. Outside of it, he would still be able to have some measure of control over (at least over machines) — think of it has having a remote control directly inside his brain. Speaking of which…
7. CONTROL MACHINES OUTSIDE OF THE MATRIX
Something else fans might forget about Neo is that he possesses a wireless connection to the Matrix. Neo never grasped the full extent of said connection because of his short time as The One, but he has it nonetheless. And it’s this connection to the Matrix that grants him access to the all moving parts within the system, including the physical parts outside of it; the hardware, if you like.
Despite not actually seeing Neo connect with the machines, stopping that group of Sentinels in The Matrix Reloaded is all the proof we need to confirm that Neo can control them. If he’s able to stop a Sentinel outside of the Matrix, that must mean he holds some power over them. Neo just didn’t have enough time to hone those abilities. But if he did, he might’ve been able to stop the entire Machine City before his death.
6. DESTROY ANY OBJECT WITH HIS BARE HANDS
Inside of the Matrix, Neo has extensive physical abilities. One of these dictates that he has immeasurable strength. Said strength makes him capable of crushing or demolishing anything he sees fit. The logic behind Neo’s strength is fairly similar to how all of his abilities work while inside the Matrix.
To sum it up, Neo merely has to edit the written code governing over an object he’s face to face with. In doing so, Neo can demolish anything in his way — in video game terms, everything in front of Neo is a “destructible environment.” We’ve seen a bit of this ability at work during Neo’s fight with the Smiths. While that didn’t give us an accurate assessment of how much more he’s capable of, the massively destructive effect of Neo’s fight with Agent Smith in The Matrix Revolutions proves that his strength makes him capable of destroying just about anything with just a touch.
5. CREATE CLONES OF HIMSELF
Since Neo can alter almost any aspect of the Matrix, he can essentially create clones of himself. All that needs to be done is copy the Prime Program. For anyone not familiar with the label, Neo is the Prime Program, which instills the powers of The One in the current host; that host being, in this case, Neo (there were others before, and presumably after him).
As such, Neo has access to the entire Matrix. With that access, Neo can copy himself, duplicate the Prime Program, and basically create an army of anomalies. We see this with the powers of Agent Smith from Reloaded, though he has more of a parasitic, viral bent. Neo’s, presumably, would be the exact opposite to that, perhaps as a form of antibodies within the body of the Matrix, but the fact remains that it would just be Neo copying his code onto something (or someone) else… or creating something from scratch.
4. CREATE NEW PROGRAMS INSIDE THE MATRIX
Part of having a God-like power over the Matrix also grants Neo the ability to create programs of his own. The process wouldn’t be simple but if Neo wanted to write in a program that would improve the quality of life inside the Matrix he could. Or, if he wanted to create new training simulations for his fellow Red Pill voyagers, he could.
All things considered, Neo could create a program to perform just about any function within the Matrix. The question is, what kind of programs would he create? The most logical would be installing a program that gives his comrades greater control over their superhuman abilities. Regardless of how he would use it, the power of creation itself is at his digital fingertips. Sure, “there is no spoon,” but because of that, Neo could create all the fake spoons he wanted. Cue Alanis Morissette.
3. REWRITE PROGRAMS
Another power which Neo possesses is his ability to adjust the function of programs, such as the Oracle or even Smith. Neo’s connection to the Matrix gives him access to every corner of the Matrix, including those that govern over prophetic programs and ones that attack it.
Had Neo rewritten the Oracle to suit his needs — sort of like Smith did — he might have learned the answers needed before his untimely death. One could argue that Neo was meant to die but he could’ve avoided it altogether. Simply changing a few of the Oracle’s protocols would’ve made a huge difference, but then, that might have made him as bad as the things he was fighting against. However, with help from the Matrix, he was able to overwrite Smith, and that definitely needed doing.
2. CREATE A PARALLEL VERSION OF THE MATRIX
While creating a parallel version of the Matrix may seem preposterous, it really isn’t. Neo possesses a strong enough connection to the Matrix that copying it wouldn’t be an issue. He wouldn’t create an exact copy, of course, seeing as how the Machines have unrestricted control of its servers, but the framework for a new version of the Matrix is already there. Neo would simply need to throw out all the antagonistic components and replace them with beneficial ones, and then protect them from outside threats. It would be a bit like the training programs he and his revolutionaries used, but bigger (and better).
As to what a parallel version of the Matrix would look like, that’s up for debate. But being Neo’s creation, it would likely be a virtual utopia. He’s suffered in two worlds that he had no control over, so perhaps a world made to his liking would be the vision he’d have for a new Matrix.
1. MAKE A NEW “THE ONE”
In the Matrix, the Path Of The One runs in a never ending cycle. When one ends, another begins. What controls this path is a set of programs and subprograms. It’s these subprograms which dictate when a new Prime Program, or The One, will come into existence. The thing is, those subprograms can be altered just like any other aspect of the Matrix. And Neo having the ability to change inert components of the virtual world means he can also manipulate the Path Of The One.
Now, Neo might not want to mess with the function of the Prime Program too much, considering he’s governed by it too. But Neo could feasibly delete the subprogram which requires a previous One to end before a new One can be born. If he did, a new One would be born into existence while the previous incarnation remains alive.