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The Machine Theory That Could Explain How Neo Is Alive In The Matrix Resurrections

"The Matrix Resurrections" is the fourth film in the "Matrix" franchise and it debuts on December 22, 2021, eighteen years after "The Matrix Revolutions" premiered in theaters. Like the title suggests, "The Matrix Resurrections" is a rebirth of the franchise, and that's particularly true for the main character, Neo (Keanu Reeves).

"The Matrix Resurrections" takes place twenty years after the events of "Revolutions." Neo is no longer Neo. He's reverted back to being Thomas Anderson, the person he was at the very beginning of the movies, a man living oblivious to the fact that he's living in a simulation. Anderson has no memory of his past as the leader of the revolution against the machines that controlled the Matrix and the human race, or his battle with the power-hungry Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). Sure enough, Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) shows up with a red pill and brings it all back. 

So, "The Matrix Resurrections" has Neo back in action. But as anyone who saw "The Matrix Revolutions" remembers, Neo died at the end of that film when he sacrificed himself during the fight with Agent Smith. Naturally, that leads to a question: how is he alive now? 

Presumably, the film will explain how this is possible, but according to this fan theory, there may be a clue in one of the "Matrix" video games.  

The machines might have brought Neo back to life

"The Matrix Online" is a massive multiplayer online RPG that was released in 2005. The game's story takes place immediately after the events of "The Matrix Revolutions," and the player character can discover the fates of characters like Neo and Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss). Even though Neo is technically dead, the game explains that his Residual Self-Image — his avatar within the Matrix — is still accessible. Furthermore, when Morpheus tries to recover Neo's body from the machines, they deny his request. The game doesn't outright explain Neo's fate, but according to the fan theory, the machines have managed to bring Neo back to life (via ScreenRant). 

That would fit with the trailer for "The Matrix Resurrection." In the first few seconds, Neo tells his therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) that he's been having strange dreams he suspects aren't really dreams. Then, the trailer shows several brief glimpses of these dreams. There's a shot of Neo's body, which the machines are using as a power source. That's followed by a closeup of Neo's face with his eyes burned out, as they were during his fight with Bane (Ian Bliss) during "The Matrix Revolutions."

This has several implications: Neo's body is in the possession of the machines; he's still alive, since he's serving as a power source; and this is happening after the events of "The Matrix Revolutions," since his eyes are destroyed. So, it's possible the machines resurrected him. 

Why would they do that? In "Matrix Revolutions," Neo and the machines made a truce to defeat Agent Smith, who wanted to wipe them both out. The theory suggests that the machines have brought Neo back to life to face another common existential threat. Luckily, it's only a few weeks until we find out.