The Matrix – The Hero’s Journey Stages

Ordinary world

Neo has a boring job as a programmer for a large software company

Call to Adventure

He receives a message to follow the white rabbit on his computer and meets Trinity in a nightclub and tells him she knows the answer to the Question “What is the Matrix”

Refusal of the call

Neo receives a call from Morpheus and is guided out onto to a ledge to escape the agents looking for him but becomes scared and says, “I can’t do this” and is taken away by the agents.

Supernatural Aid

Morpheus is his supernatural aid, he gives him the red pill to enable him to see the truth and then trains him to be able to overcome his thoughts that ae holding him back so he can manipulate the Matrix

Crossing the First Threshold

Neo chooses to swallow the red pill

Belly of the whale

Neo enters the real world in s liquid filled pod guarded by mechanized octopus like creatures

The Road of the trials

Neo learns about the Matrix and his potential role in it. He learns how to fight and who his friends are.

Meeting with the Goddess

Trinity is the bringer of love. She kisses Neo once he has been killed by Agent Smith which brings him back to life

Woman as Temptress

This stage is flipped onto Cypher. He succumbs to the temptation offered by Agent Smith as he desires to give up the real world and return to the Matrix. Showing what happens when you take the easy way out

Death of the mentor

Morpheus is captured by Agents.

Atonement with the Father

Neo understands what Morpheus was telling him when he said he had to believe he was “The One” in order to be able to manipulate the Matrix

Ultimate Boon

Neo gains the courage and insight to confront the Agents, he is improving in his ability to manipulate the Matrix at the same level as the Agents.

The Magic flight

Fighting against and being chased by Agent Smith

Rescue from without

Trinity saves his life by kissing him in the real world which revives him in the Matrix

The crossing of the return Threshold

He returns from death as the One.


Neo gains the ability to see the Matrix and has become The One with God-like abilities.

Master of two worlds

He’s now the One and he has the girl

Freedom to live

He tells the Machines, I’m going to show the people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them the world without you.


This was one of the best sci-fi movies ever made with it’s unique stylised fighting and other imagery. The next two films really came off the rails but this first one is near perfect. Unusually in this story, Neo’s Apotheosis occurs at the end of third act rather than at the end of the second act.

Hero’s journey – Crossing the first Threshold

Crossing of the first Threshold

The hero agrees to take on the journey, often reluctantly or because external forces have given him no other choice. This is the point of no return, a moment of commitment and change, leaving behind the old and accepting the new. New opportunities, new dangers.

It is significant in that this event is a choice the hero makes in response to the call to adventure.

Thresholds often have guardians which represent some sort of challenge for the hero to overcome. Again, this is rooted in the need for conflict in drama otherwise a scene becomes boring. If the hero agrees to go forward there must be some force trying to prevent this.

This is the turning point into Act Two.

In The Matrix the Crossing of the first Threshold is when Neo decides to take the red pill and find out how far the rabbit hole goes. Everything has changed, new rules, new location and how well the hero responds to this is a demonstration of his mettle.

Breakdown of Crossing of the first Threshold


Definition – A place where two roads meet OR the action of moving across or over something.


Passage, intersection, transit, crossroads, pass, cut through, intertwine


Definition – Opening; beginning


Boundary, point of departure, starting point, dawn, door, verge, brink, entrance


Definition – To become different from what it was.


Transform, convert, substitution, exchange


Definition – the act of engaging oneself in an action that restricts one’s freedom


Guarantee, pledge, promise, vow, application, captivity, participation, obligation

How to use in your script

Has your hero crossed the threshold by choice or was it passive?

Do you have a guardian making it difficult for the hero?

Have you forced your hero into a rock and hard place before this moment where he has to make this choice.

Have you created a new world for the hero? New locations, new goals, new rules for him to learn or is it repetition of what has already occurred?

Read the definition and synonyms of the breakdown, are you touching on those words in this moment?