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The Matrix Conspiracy: Is Neo Really the One?

Updated on January 3, 2018

Is our perspective of Neo not what it should be?

Neo may be quite the hero but it may be a bit much to call him "the one".
Neo may be quite the hero but it may be a bit much to call him "the one".

The blue pill or the red pill?

Few films or film franchises have ever managed and kept my attention quite like that of "The Matrix". I mean really what's not to love? The films have top notch special effects, an amazing cast, some seriously brutal martial arts, and a story that just might be the most captivating one ever set to film. "The Matrix" was one of those films I just kept finding myself returning to and with every repeat visit I discovered something I might have somehow missed the previous visits. I got lost in the sheer magnitude of the story and the visual experience that the film series presented.

One time during my experience of getting lost in the film I started to notice something. I discovered what may be the greatest secret of all time, or at least a really cool one that has been hidden in the inner workings of "The Matrix". This conspiracy will shake the die hard fans to the core and cause the average fan to re-watch the film series in search of clues.

In this new search for clues you may start to realize that you are looking at the wrong person as the savior of the human race.

What makes Neo "the one"?

If you take some time and rearrange the letters of his name you will find Neo easily becomes one. Does that not convince you to the authenticity of Neo's claim as the one spoken about in prophecy? Me neither. We are lead throughout the series to believe that Neo is this chosen being who is here to alter the matrix in favor of the human race. Morpheus and Trinity are convinced of his destiny while Cypher remains skeptical.

Even the oracle seems to have some reservations about Neo being the right guy for the job. She tells him "you have the gift but you are waiting on something" when Neo ask what that is she replies "your next life maybe". This is not only a sign that we may not really be looking at the one but also that something is waiting for Neo. We will explore that a little more in detail later on.

Before we dive further we need to look at the prophecy the oracle has given and explore how each aspect relates to Neo.

Whose side is the oracle really on?

The Prophecy

I want to first clear something up before we ever venture into the prophecy itself. The prophecy was spoken by the oracle. The oracle is actually a program derived in the matrix whose primary objective is to understand and interpret the human psyche. She is part of the machine.

By informing Morpheus that he would find the one it did not matter who he found. In his mind that person already fit the bill. The machines created the prophecy to lead the one to the architect and ultimately to the source where upon implanting his code the matrix will reset or reboot if that term suits you better. That being said regardless of the actions of the oracle we are still left to wonder if she is helping the human race or the machines.

With that out of the way let's explore the actual prophecy.

"When the matrix was first built there was a man born inside that had the ability to change what he wanted, to remake the matrix as he saw fit."

"When he died the oracle prophesied his return and envisioned his coming would bring peace to the world of the matrix and end the war."

This caused many of the ship pilots to plug into the matrix mainnframe for the soul purpose of finding this enlightened individual.

Does Neo meet the requirements?

Let's break our prophecy down to key elements.

  1. Born inside the matrix.
  2. Able to change and alter the matrix
  3. Able to destroy the matrix

The argument for the first requirement is a very difficult one to make. Neo was not born in the matrix, he was born in a harvesting pod just like the vast majority of the human race. He even has the ports in his skin to prove it. Now we see our first real flaw with Neo being the one spoken of by the oracle. So we know Neo was not born inside the matrix.

We must look at the fact Neo is killed later on by Agent Smith and through an act of love from Trinity he is reborn, this time in the matrix. So we can go back and fourth on the first requirement.

Now let's move to the second requirement. Does Neo possess the ability to alter the matrix? Now we do see him bend the rules a good deal when he does his superman thing or when he stops bullets but he is not really altering the mainframe as much as manipulating the laws of physics. If he can alter the very matrix itself we are not really seeing him utilize that talent. Sure he has great strength and speed but he is far from changing the matrix to his will, thus agents still exist.

What about the third requirement. The ability to destroy the matrix. I won't argue that Neo does not have the ability to destroy the matrix but I would also have a difficult time stating that other captains and crews given the right circumstances could not bring down the matrix.

When we break these three requirements down we start to see a valid argument against Neo's claim to the throne of the one. It starts to put a few noticeable kinks in the armor of Morpheus' knight. Doubts should start rising now about Mr. Anderson has the prophecy filler or just the guy holding the space for the real hero of the story. Is Neo the one or just a glorified hacker with a growing interest in the matrix?

Asking this question should cause another question to surface. If Neo is not the one, than who is?

Neo, not the one?

Bending the rules is not the same as changing them.
Bending the rules is not the same as changing them.

If not Neo than who?

Now we are going to look at a less than likely character in the series to replace Neo has the one. At first this choice may seem illogical but stay with me and it will all start to make sense.

Let's look at Agent Smith. Sure he seems to be the polar opposite of Neo but a closer look is going to reveal a deeper more potential inside of Smith. There is no question that Smith would love to eradicate Morpheus and his entire crew but at the same time he is also all about destroying the matrix.

During the scene in which Agent Smith interrogates Morpheus he removes his ear piece, which severs his connection to the matrix and the other agents acting within it. It is then he tells of his desire to end it all. He is tired of the plague that is humanity and the matrix itself.

This does not mean he can destroy the matrix but the desire to do so is there and present within him. Looking deeper into Agent Smith we start to see that he may very well fit the bill for the one in as many ways as Neo and maybe even a little more so. Let's first imagine Smith is not just a blood thirsty sociopathic program inside a giant computer simulation of the real world. Now let's explore what makes him a candidate for the spot held by Neo.

Who is really the one?

Which one of these men fit the bill?
Which one of these men fit the bill?

Revisit the prophecy

So let's once again look at the requirements set in place by the prophecy.

  1. Must be born in the matrix
  2. Can change and alter the matrix as they see fit.
  3. Can destroy the matrix

Agent Smith has been inside the matrix since it's very conception. He was in essence born inside the matrix. He has met the first criteria of our prophecy. As our story progresses Smith continues to gain power and starts to manipulate the matrix to his own requirements. He begins replacing the codes of the other agents with his own and even altering the very make up of the matrix. He now has met two requirements set fourth by the oracle's prophecy.

Now thinking of Smith destroying the matrix you kind of have to imagine windows office trying to take down windows 10.

For the matrix to reboot the one must insert his code into the source. During the final battle between Neo and Agent Smith it would appear that Smith defeats Neo. But wait! Suddenly the clones of Smith begin to die. As they are destroyed the matrix reboots itself.Did Neo destroy the matrix according to prophecy?

Perhaps what really happened is Agent Smith assimilated Neo while Neo was plugged into the machine city mainframe. It was Smith's unique code that caused the system to reset itself. Again we are seeing more argument for Smith being the one.

Some other clues.

While Agent Smith seems to fit the bill for the prophecy there are other indicators that point to his rightful place to that title. Throughout the matrix series we see these subtle clues pop up.

We know that by the matrix standards the architect is the father of the matrix. The oracle is the mother. She is there to explain to the system what it is that makes us human. In one scene we see Smith talking to the oracle. He calls her mother. This is a sign of respect for her but it also could be much more. Is it eluding to his title as the one?

Later we get to witness the architect speaking with the oracle. Here he tells her of the dangerous game she was playing. Is the game in question her lying to the humans about the real nature of the one? By putting that title on Neo's shoulders she removed any suspicion that Agent Smith could be the one. If the machines knew Smith was the one they may have destroyed him before he gained the power needed to do what he needed to do.

This makes you wonder if the oracle protect Agent Smith all the while leading Neo to the final battle so Smith could finish the job.

Is there more here than meets the eyes?


Take it as you will. "The Matrix" is a powerhouse of a film trilogy. It will go down as one of the most epic of our time. Whether you are team Neo or team Smith the outcome remains the same. Happy watching.


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