If Neo defies his fate and refuses to be removed from the Matrix (by taking the blue pill) what happens next?

Would another "The One" get selected by The Architect or The Oracle and is there anything to suggest that the current instance of The Matrix actually could have multiple "The One"'s (perhaps one of the 'potentials') in the event that the Chosen One manages to get himself killed or simply refuses to play ball?

  • 3
    see also: Does either pill actually do anything?
    – phantom42
    Feb 8, 2016 at 20:55
  • There are the 'potentials' as seen in the first Matrix. These are people who in theory could be The One. Feb 8, 2016 at 21:01
  • 7
    Everyone dies and the film is only 26 minutes long
    – Valorum
    Feb 12, 2016 at 17:08
  • 1
    Eventually, Neo did decide to stop following the path expected of him, when he talked with the Architect (see this question). By that point, it was much too late to choose another One, but I don't know if they had a backup plan in case Neo got hit by a bus before he was offered the red pill.
    – Molag Bal
    Apr 16, 2016 at 15:33
  • 1
    @Richard And even more, it would have saved the world from the two followups.
    – ott--
    Apr 16, 2016 at 21:02

3 Answers 3


There are two questions here, one quite answerable, the other less so.

What happens to Neo?

We actually see this scenario in the film's tie-in video game "The Matrix: Path of Neo". In short, Neo takes the blue pill and wakes up back in his apartment.

Since we know that the Agents are still aware of him, but lacking any further connection to the Zionese rebels, the Agents would probably put another bug in Neo's tummy (or his eye) and leave him in situ.

What happens to the Matrix?

There's no real indication of what happens if The One won't follow the Path of The One, but my personal instinct is that if they point-blank refuse to do so (or get their fool self killed before they get to the Architect), the Machine Mainframe would likely just place the Prime Program into another newborn. The machines can presumably wait a few extra years before destroying Zion if needs be.

  • Maybe the Oracles quote answers the second part 'Sorry kid, you got the gift but it looks like your waiting for something.... that's the way it goes sometimes'. This implies that nothing happens, it would mean they simply have to wait for the next one (and possible that its happened before). It certainly didn't suggest the Matrix would collapse or anything
    – Matt
    Jul 31, 2017 at 17:50
  • 1
    @Matt - Except that she's lying. She's very well aware that the other children aren't "The One" and that Neo is.
    – Valorum
    Jul 31, 2017 at 17:53
  • I don't think the Oracle lies about anything, manipulates yes but lie no, one of the others could had taken over if Neo refused to accept his role.
    – Matt
    Jul 31, 2017 at 17:56
  • 1
    @Matt - It's not clear if any of the other "potentials" could have taken over from Neo. My instinct is no. You've either got the prime code or you haven't.
    – Valorum
    Jul 31, 2017 at 17:57
  • No, but they seem to be 'potentials' for a reason, the one clear thing is 'the system failure the architect describes' seems unlikely in that scene as shes not concerned.so the potentials might be there as a backups. +1 for the best answer yet though
    – Matt
    Jul 31, 2017 at 18:04

The architect said that if he chose not to go to the source then everyone in the Matrix would die. Given that you would have to decide what Morpheus would do if Neo chose blue. Also, could the machines figure out he was the one. If so they may force him to the source. If you assume Morpheus leaves him alone and the agents bug him for a while but let him go then everyone in the Matrix dies. Neo' s code is necessary to keep the Matrix from crashing.


Neo isn't The One. I believe it is a cover up by the oracle to protect The One, who I thought at one point was Agent Smith, because when I did some research, it made a lot more since that Smith was The One. Until another part of what the oracle said to a character hit me. Trinity said the oracle told her she would fall in love with The One. But if The One is Smith, that would go against everything we saw in the movies. Then I thought of something. What if both Neo and Agent Smith are The One. That would explain the Trinity thing. They are the one for each society. Neo is the human's The One. Smith is the AI's The One. So even if Neo had chosen the other pill, there would still be a The One. They are both the backup version of The One.

  • There appear to be two answers here, neither of which really addresses the question.
    – Adamant
    Oct 4, 2016 at 14:07

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