As shown at the beginning of the movie, using the EMP doesn't damage anything in the ship, so why did they have to wait until Neo was out of the Matrix to use it ? Even if it only damages online systems, they don't cut the power like they do the first time they use it, so that wouldn't justify it. Am I misunderstanding how their EMP works ?

1 Answer 1


If they had used it, they would have killed Neo because he'd still be in the Matrix. They used it the minute he was out, and absolutely destroyed the electrical systems of the ship. An EMP would only not damage the ship if the circuits inside the ship were disconnected, that is, turned off. That's why we see them do that when they use it the first time. It probably stretches the reality of how EMPs work - but this is the fiction the movie works in.

  • Yeah i don't know why i assumed everything was fine after they used it, i guess i didn't really understand how it could be otherwise considering they're fine in the next one and no explanation is given. Thanks :)
    – Larmy
    Jul 23, 2017 at 2:04
  • I had always thought EMPs worked on circuits, whether or not they were on - is this a case of fictional truth-stretching or what really happens? Jul 23, 2017 at 6:02
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    @marcellothearcane You're correct. An EMP should induce a current regardless of the connections in the devices. Small components would be fried in the real world. However, it is a common trope that disconnecting or powering down systems will protect against an EMP.
    – DampeS8N
    Jul 23, 2017 at 18:56
  • @Larmy presumably another ship came in to save them, since all the machines around them were caught in the EMP and died.
    – DampeS8N
    Jul 23, 2017 at 18:58

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