I wanted to know how Neo knew it was Morpheus on the phone during the scene at his job (the scene with the cubicles).

Neo knows other hackers (he knows who Trinity was before she was freed from The Matrix) so I assumed this is how he knows a Morpheus. However, he knows Morpheus by voice which is not something people do often over the computer (especially when they are hackers).

I also wanted to know how Neo knows about The Matrix. During the scene where he first meets Trinity she says that she knows what he is looking for and whispers "The Matrix".

Both these points make me feel like Neo had some things to do with The Matrix before the events of the movie. I know that he has a hunch that something isn't right but these things make it appear asif he was already doing stuff against the matrix from within before being freed.

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    He's the One. of course he knows. It was inevitable. Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 5:46
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    Related, if not duplicate - scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/19746/…
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 13:47
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    There are two distinct questions here; How did Neo recognise Morpheus' voice/trust him and What does Neo know about the Matrix before speaking to Morpheus.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 21:29

5 Answers 5


At the start of the film, Neo is fascinated by Morpheus. When we first see him, he has fallen asleep in front of his computer, which is displaying news stories and articles related to Morpheus, including a recent-looking photo of him. We know Morpheus sometimes returns to the Matrix on missions for the resistance, so probably Neo is reading about these return visits.

When Neo meets Trinity in the nightclub, she does not mention Morpheus' name, but strongly suggests she knows him, and knows Neo is looking for him:

Please. Just listen. I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been doing. I know why you hardly sleep, why you live alone and why, night after night, you sit at your computer. You're looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing, but when he found me he told me I wasn't really looking for him. I was looking for an answer.

The next day, Neo wakes up in his apartment and goes to work. A mysterious cellphone is delivered to him, and when he picks it up someone immediately calls him on it. The caller is a male, so cannot be Trinity. The other people he knows are unlikely to contact him in such a peculiar fashion. Neo jumps to the conclusion that the caller is Morpheus, and as it turns out he is correct.

It is never explained how Neo has heard of the Matrix, but we can assume it is similar to how he knows of Morpheus and Trinity: From rumours and clues left on the Internet and in the hacker underground by Morpheus, Trinity and others in the resistance.

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    It may be useful to note that he has heard of something called the Matrix. He doesn't have the first clue what it is.
    – KRyan
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 12:19
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    @KRyan - agreed. In fact, in the scene you describe Trinity next asks him if he knows the question, to which he responds "What is the Matrix?". So he knows it exists, and possibly that it's important, but not what it is.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 13:42
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    You can also assume the rumor/knowledge of the Matrix has been planted by the Architect to encourage those who desire the "choice" to leave and give them the option. The unbalanced portion of a faulty equation and what not.
    – WernerCD
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 20:41
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    Apart from Neo's interest in Morpheus, as explained in this answer, when we first see Neo, his computer screen goes black, possibly hacked by Trinity, and he is told that "the Matrix" has him, to which he reacts with bewilderment, indicating that's the first time he learns of the name.
    – Oskuro
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 18:06
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    @Oskuro I really don't think the he was reacting to the phrase "the Matrix". He was reacting to the fact that someone had apparently taken control of his computer and was sending him a personal message. As the answer states, Neo had known about "The Matrix" for a while, if only as some nebulous internet rumour. This is indicated by Trinity telling Neo that a question (which he correctly identifies as "What is the Matrix?") has haunted him for a long time, contradicting the idea that he'd first heard the name an hour before.
    – DavidS
    Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 10:34

In the original draft (1996) of the script Morpheus introduces himself to Neo, not the other way around.

NEO: Hello?

MORPHEUS (V.O.): Hello, Neo. This is Morpheus.

Neo's knees give and he falls into his chair.

By the following draft (1997), it was the other way around.

MORPHEUS (V.O.): Hello, Neo. Do you know who this is?

Neo's knees give and he sinks into his chair.

NEO: Morpheus...

Since Neo was already looking for Morpheus (a famous hacker) and Trinity had basically told him that Morpheus would be in touch shortly, there really wasn't much need to have it the other way around, which is presumably why they changed the dialogue.


The Matrix is a simulated reality and the goal of Morpheus is to make people aware of its existence. So the community of hackers is probably the easiest to convince: they have the technical background to understand its mechanism, they are somehow at the margin of the society and avid of freedom.

We could infer that the Matrix is a sort of urban legend in the hacker community. Maybe the Matrix is not explicitly known to be a simulated reality (who would believe this?) but Morpheus is spreading some hints in order to test potential Ones. Neo, being the One, has probably been attracted by these bits of informations.

As well, Neo most likely does not know Morpheus' voice, but is leaded to Morpheus by several hint (the white rabbit, Trinity,...). So he (rightfully) believes he is speaking to Morpheus.

Don't forget that Matrix, beside being a story about choice, is also a story about faith.

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    It's also a story about a false prophecy planted by the Architect. A way to balance the equation. There needs to be dissemination of the truth to get those who "chose" out of the matrix lest it destabilize.
    – WernerCD
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 20:44
  • Great answer, and well put. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 1:52

While Royal Canadian Bandit's answer was excellent, I'd like to expand upon one point which I believe will help explain a bit about this part of your question:

Both these points make me feel like Neo had some things to do with The Matrix before the events of the movie. I know that he has a hunch that something isn't right but these things make it appear as if he was already doing stuff against the matrix from within before being freed.

Potential spoiler-alert for those who haven't seen "The Matrix Reloaded" or "The Matrix Revolutions":

When Neo meets "The Architect" in "The Matrix Reloaded," he is informed that he is actually the sixth version of "The One" since the inception of the current version of the Matrix (the one based on the "real world" circa 1997 as opposed to the original, failed version, which was Utopian in nature). The Architect further explains that Neo has a choice:

1. Return to "the source," allowing his "code" to be re-inserted into the Matrix's prime program for the purpose of eradicating the threat of a quickly-replicating Agent Smith, upon which time the system would then restart. This would result in the eventual death of every living member of the resistance as well as the destruction of Zion, but it would also avoid a cataclysmic failure of the matrix as a whole, preventing the eventual system-wide takeover by Smith (whom, if allowed to continue infecting every other program, would eventually have the ability to kill every human being still connected) allowing the human beings who were never freed to continue living unaware of their captivity, starting the cycle of "the One" all over again.

2. Return to the matrix, attempt to save Trinity (who was shot in the chest by Smith), continue to fight for the survival of Zion/peace with the machines, and pursue the goal of freeing every person still connected to the matrix en masse. But should Neo fail, Smith would continue to infect every remaining program within the Matrix, guaranteeing the extinction of humanity AND the machines (without human beings, the machines would no longer be able to convert human body heat into electricity, essentially robbing them of their "life force.")

The Architect expresses during his conversation with Neo that Neo's life and the path he's taken to get to where he is (specifically, the place and time in which he was having that conversation with the Architect) are inherent to his existence, admitting that, despite all attempts to the contrary, he could not figure out a way to prevent the inevitability of the next version of "The One" eventually having that same exact conversation with the Architect at some later point in time (should Neo choose to return to "the source," allowing the cycle to start over again).

Because it is inherent to Neo's existence that he is destined to repeat the same actions over and over again (until he breaks the cycle and chooses against returning to "the source"), we can also assume that the knowledge of the Matrix, the members of the resistance, and the existence of "The One" is also ever-present in Neo's psyche, never allowing him to forget that which he is destined to do in perpetuity, even if he doesn't remember everything completely until Morpheus eventually finds him.


How does Neo know about the Matrix?

Morpheus: You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Neo: The Matrix.

Neo didn't know what it was called initially, but was driven to find out. It seems all he learned was the name, and that Morpheus knew the answers. This information was likely planted online by Morpheus himself to attract Neo (and other potentials) to him. He couldn't be more explicit as that would attract attention from Agents.

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