The Matrix is arguably one of the greatest modern science fiction universes. In addition to the original trilogy of movies, there’s a collection of short animated stories, a video game franchise, and comic books. It’s little wonder dedicated fans still fervently watch the original trilogy and come up with The Matrix theories decades after the first film debuted in theaters. Given the complex mythology and symbolism present in the films, it makes sense some of these fan theories about The Matrix are kind of crazy.
Most The Matrix conspiracy theories stem from the complicated plot and deep themes permeating the franchise. The second and third movies, some elements of which seem to contradict information provided in the original film, are a source of many of these theories; each spends a significant portion of its runtime diving deep into the philosophical underpinnings of the series (many would say at the expense of the quality of the films). And if the movies aren’t enough, you’ve also got fan theories from The Matrix series.
That the Internet was first beginning its dominance of cultural discourse when the original Matrix trilogy came out meant viewers had the chance to discuss ideas about The Matrix mysteries online. This environment gave birth to some compelling fan theories that hope to explain some of the more confusing moments from the franchise.
Cypher Uses The Lady In The Red Dress To Secretly Get Into The Matrix
One of the most puzzling things from The Matrix is how Cypher is able to meet up with the agents to betray the rest of his crew. It seems like it would be difficult to plug yourself into the simulation using the standard setup, and someone would surely notice him broadcasting a signal. Reddit user davidsmeaton came up with a solution to this conundrum involving the Women in the Red Dress and Mouse.
It’s clear Mouse is open to the idea of letting the rest of the crew spend time with his female creation, as he asks neo if he wants him to arrange a meeting. Cypher may have taken Mouse up on this offer as a way of getting plugged in. He could then load himself into the Matrix without raising suspicions or being detected, possibly having asked Mouse to not watch over proceedings, so he could have some privacy. This freed up time for Cypher to then meet up with Agent Smith and arrange his scheme.
The Matrix Is Really Small
Although it’s never explicitly explained in the movies, Reddit user RuafaolGaiscioch believes the Matrix is a relatively small simulation. After all, humans had fought a devastating war with the machines and there may not have been many survivors. This would make recreating the entire world a waste for just tens of millions of people.
Instead, it appears as if the Matrix is one large city with some surrounding geographical areas. To back up this claim, the theorist uses quotes from characters when they refer to locations such as “the freeway” or “the mountains.” These terms are generic, rather than specific, suggesting they might be the only freeway and mountains in the Matrix.
The Machines Are Using Humans For Computing Power Rather Than Sheer Energy
One of the main problems many people had with the Matrix trilogy was the central claim that machines enslaved humans so they could use their bodies as a form of energy. Not only would hyper-intelligent machines be able to get other sources of energy without needing to build a huge simulated world; human bodies would be an ineffective way to get power.
Redditor hungrybackpack suggests machines may be using humans more as organic computers to provide processing power. Each human would act as a biological CPU that could then be used to by the machines, with the simulation acting as a sort of interface.
The Machines Scorched The Sky
The Animatrix and the other movies in the franchise make it clear humans were the ones who scorched the sky, in a final, desperate attempt to win their war with the machines (also Morpheus straight up says this is what happened in The Matrix).
Redditor IAmBirdPerson believes this is unlikely to be the genuine account of what happened. According to the theory, it would make much more sense for the machines to block the sun. Having found alternative sources of power, they could destroy humanity’s access to warmth and food, whilst forcing humans underground. The machines could then simply rewrite history, suggesting to all those plugged into the Matrix that humans were responsible for the event.
The Real World Was Just Another Level Of The Matrix
This theory, which became well known following the release of The Matrix Reloaded, argues the real world shown in the movies is another level of the computer simulation from which characters like Morpheus were allegedly freed. The red pill taken by those wishing to leave the Matrix doesn’t cause them to be physically ejected from the system, but instead takes them a new destination the machines control. This gives the illusion of having escaped. It’s called the “Matrix within a Matrix” theory.
The theory accounts for a number of logic discrepancies in the series, such as Neo using some of his powers outside the Matrix, and Agent Smith being able to control Bane after he left the Matrix.
Agent Smith Is The One
Much of the plot of The Matrix deals with whether Neo is the One. While he is certainly capable of exceptional feats and meets the criteria of a prophecy, many have noticed that a number of his traits are shared by Agent Smith.
Consider this – Smith was born in the Matrix when Neo tried to destroy him, which makes Neo his creator in his second, more powerful iteration, which is intrinsic to the system, and can manipulate it at will. As the prophecy says:
“When the Matrix was first built, there was a man born inside who had the ability to change whatever he wanted, to remake the Matrix as he saw fit… After he died the Oracle prophesized his return and that his coming would hail the destruction of the Matrix, end the war, bring freedom to our people.”
If Smith is the one, Neo is the father of the one. As this fan theory suggests, the Oracle deceived everyone so she could manipulate the system behind the scenes to her benefit. Because she guided events that led to Smith’s rebirth as the One, she is his mother.
Neo’s Real World Powers Came About As Agent Smith Left The Matrix
One of the most prominent themes in The Matrix trilogy is the intrinsic connection between Neo and Agent Smith, and what this means philosophically re: the necessity of binary forces for systemic stability. The pair appear to be direct opposites, even gaining new powers at the same time, such as when Agent Smith breaks free from his programming around when Neo realizes his potential as the one.
A theory by Redditor agroom suggests the abilities Neo apparently gained to sense the sentinels and destroy them outside of the Matrix simulation came about because of Agent Smith. Smith, a rogue program, escapes the Matrix by possessing Bane when he’s in the simulation. When Bane is jacked out of the simulation, Smith stays in him, and enters the real world.
As per this theory, when Agent Smith leaves the Matrix and takes his powers with him into the real world, he opens a channel by which Neo can take his powers out of the Matrix and use them in the real world. Because the two are connected.
Humanity Willingly Entered Into The Matrix And The Machines Are Looking After Them
Redditor Examinus supposes. in a fan theory. humans weren’t imprisoned in the Matrix, but willingly entered into it to escape a worse fate. Having exhausted the Earth’s resources, they were left with only one choice – enter in a period of stasis in a computer simulation while tasking their machine servants with fixing the planet and protecting them. In this context, Neo, Morpheus, and the rest of humanity are actually more like a terrorist organization than the machines are battling against for the good of humanity as a whole.
Do the humans who aren’t in the Matrix know this, or are they being fed propaganda and fake history by a small contingent of leaders who refused to take part in this scheme? Are people really being used as batteries by machines, or is this part of the nefarious human propaganda machine?
Cypher Betrayed The Group After Being Driven Mad By His Prophecy From The Oracle
Most people assume Cypher betrayed his fellow crew members and Neo because he wanted to return to the Matrix and escape the real world. Redditor EerieFurious suggests the Oracle told Cypher the One would die, or he would kill the One. This essentially drove him insane, as his entire life with Morpheus is dedicated to finding and free the One.
If The One dies, and if Cypher plays a hand in killing him, well, what’s the point of anything? Why fight at all if the fight cannot be one?
Trinity Really Did Die In The Matrix Reloaded
At the climax of The Matrix Reloaded, Trinity is shot and killed by an agent, only for Neo to resurrect her. This theory by Redditor SvenHudson contends that Neo didn’t really bring Trinity back to life, but used his powers to create a fantasy version of her in the digital world. As is shown with Agent Smith taking control of Bane in the real world, it’s possible this new version of Trinity would have uploaded into her brain when she was removed from the Matrix.
Some evidence for this comes from the change in Trinity after the event. She acts differently, and dresses more like Neo, almost as if his some of his desires and thoughts were transferred to her as he recreated her mind.
Neo Is The One Because Of Genetic Mutation
Redditor reddittechnica’s theory contends Neo is the One because he carries a genetic mutation that makes him sensitive to signals given off by machines. This not only explains his superhuman powers when inside the computer simulation, but also how he was able to learn all of training programs given to him when he first left the Matrix so quickly.
The theory also goes some way to revealing exactly why the One is so different from other humans; he carries a small evolutionary change in his biology that gives his extra abilities. The final proof comes when Neo is able to feel the sentinels that attack his ship. The theory argues that Neo can attune to their signals such that he can interact with them.
Neo Did Not Destroy The Sentinels, They Had A Fail Safe So They Cannot Kill Him
Redditor yendorion attempts to explain how Neo destroyed the sentinels attacking him and the rest of the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar in The Matrix Reloaded ascribing him extra powers or abilities.
The theory points out that the importance of the One to the survival of the Matrix and, thereby, the machines, is explained to Neo by the Architect. They need him to reboot the simulation and restart Zion. Given Neo’s importance to the system, it’s unlikely they would kill him.
Because of this, the theory suggests all sentinels have a failsafe preventing them from killing the One. When they reach Neo, this system kicks in, and stops them from hurting him. Unrelated to the machines shutting down, Neo collapses from overexertion after saving Trinity and escaping the previous attack.
Morpheus Is A Villain Working With The Machines Against Humanity
This theory by KGBkid centers on the idea that Morpheus might not be a good guy. The main bit of evidence comes from the name of his ship. Nebuchadnezzar was an ancient Babylonian king who invaded and destroyed Zion, so why would Neo choose to call his ship this, knowing he is tasked with protecting humanity’s last refuge, called Zion.
The theory goes on to to state Morpheus is working with the machines to bring about the downfall of humanity, acting as an agent to help influence events, and Neo, to work out as the Architect intended.
John Wick 2 Is Actually A Matrix Sequel
A theory proposed by Tom Guise makes the outlandish claim that John Wick 2 is a sequel to The Matrix trilogy. Guise points out that the main character of each, both played by Keanu Reeves, have similar fighting abilities. They take out armies of bad guys single-handedly, and engage in physics-defying, reality-bending feats. The civilians encountered throughout both universes don’t seem to react to the events around them, despite obvious carnage, while each also has a mentor character played by Laurence Fishburne.
The conclusion the theory comes to is the events and realities of both movie universes are so similar they must be part of the same world.