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We’ve posted some pretty entertaining fan theories in the past. Most of them are fun and many of them are ridiculous. However, every once in awhile one of them works really well. So well, that we have to begin to wonder if it was actually the filmmaker’s intent all along. Such is the case with one theory regarding the reality of The Matrix. Maybe Neo wasn’t The One after all. Maybe, the real chosen one was Agent Smith.
If you don’t automatically assume that Keanu Reeves’ character of Neo is the one, and you open yourself up to other possibilities, the theory makes a great deal of sense. As iO9 states, much of what the movie says about The One is as true about Agent Smith as it is about Neo. The first thing we know about The One is that it will be a person born inside the Matrix. In the strictest sense, Thomas Anderson isn’t born in the Matrix, he’s born in a gelatin-filled pod so his body can be harvested for energy, and his brain in plugged into the Matrix. Agent Smith, on the other hand, as part of the Matrix code was actually created (or born) inside of it. The One is also able to manipulate the code of The Matrix. While Neo can do this, so can Smith. After Neo "unplugs" Agent Smith from the Matrix at the end of the first film he’s slowly able to change parts of it himself, including making multiple copies of himself to fight Neo.
Eventually, he ends up pretty much taking over the entire thing.
In the end, Neo and Agent Smith fuse together, which means that Smith joins with the source, which is the stated eventual goal of The One. So basically, Neo isn’t so much The One, as he is the conduit by which Agent Smith is used to be the One. It pretty much happens against Smith's will, though willingness is not a prerequisite to being The One.
This theory isn’t a new one. Check out The Film Theorists if you want a more in depth version of the theory as opposed to the iO9 quick take. It goes into much more detail on the topic. However you look at it, the theory does hold up. Everything fits pretty well and for a film trilogy that had a tendency to not make a lot of sense, that’s saying something. We’re not sure that the Wachowskis were necessarily setting up this misdirection the entire time, but we’re also not sure they weren’t. If any filmmakers might give us three movies where they tell you one thing but actually mean another, it would probably be them.
What do you think about the theory? Does Agent Smith as The One hold up? Does the architect’s rambling monologue make any more sense if you look at from this perspective? No, no it does not.