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Was there a human who first escaped the Matrix? How?

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  • 3
    Stan. Stan was first.
    – user867
    Oct 6 '15 at 3:31
  • 2
    Define first. Only because, the Matrix has been cyclical, and The Matrix trilogy focuses on the 6th iteration; wherein Zion is destroyed and re-built with a set of people, and the Matrix itself gets restarted, as does the entire process.
    – Möoz
    Oct 6 '15 at 4:00
  • 5
    @Mooz the first in the first iteration seems logical.
    – Jakob
    Oct 6 '15 at 7:15
  • @Jakob: Not necessarily. It's an equally interesting question how the first person (of any given iteration) manages to escape and then subsequently free others and rebuild Zion. (This is already answered, I remember a quote that specifically lists how many people "the One" gets to keep (upon resetting the Matrix) in order to rebuild Zion, but we can't know if the OP is aware of this already)
    – Flater
    Sep 18 '17 at 13:13
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His name is unknown:

From the first movie:

MORPHEUS 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. It was this man that freed the first of us and taught us the secret of the war; control the Matrix and you control the future.

But this is not exactly the truth. The Architect in the second movie reveals that in fact this is the 6th reboot of the Matrix:

The Architect - Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly, which despite my sincerest efforts I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. While it remains a burden assiduously avoided, it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control. Which has led you, inexorably, here. [...]

The Architect - The matrix is older than you know. I prefer counting from the emergence of one integral anomaly to the emergence of the next, in which case this is the sixth version

So, there was once a first anomaly that awoken from the Matrix, helped to awake more people and built Zion. Then came the second anomaly (or if you prefer "Chosen One") which triggered the destruction of Zion and reset of the Matrix followed again by awaking another humans, rebuilding the city etc...

The Architect - The function of the One is now to return to the source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the prime program. After which you will be required to select from the matrix 23 individuals, 16 female, 7 male, to rebuild Zion.

Of course, this answer doesn't account the Paradise/Hell versions of the Matrix.

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    There is no contradiction between what Morpheus says and what the Architect says. Morpheus also told that, when The One died, the Oracle predicted his return. That’s in line with the idea of the reboots. Morpheus never said that he witnessed the earlier One, he’s just retelling an old story. The only thing, we could nitpick on, is, that it’s never said that the first One ever left the Matrix. It’s only said that he “freed the first of us” which doesn’t necessarily include himself…
    – Holger
    Oct 6 '15 at 10:06

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