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Before the current version of the Matrix, there was the Paradise Matrix followed by the Nightmare Matrix.

We know that there are "exiles" in the current version of the Matrix -- programs who have been replaced or who otherwise go AWOL, but do not wish to be deleted. They tend to get hired by the Merovingian, who is also an exile.

Were there exiles during the Paradise and Nightmare versions of the Matrix?

As an example, the Seraphim programs (essentially the "Agents" of the Paradise Matrix) were presumably redundant by the time the Nightmare Matrix came about, so would they not have been considered exiles at the time? If so, the Merovingian wasn't an exile at that time, so where would they have "hidden"? Or were they still useful as "fallen angels", alongside the other "monster" programs of the Nightmare Matrix, and therefore not considered exiles until after the fall of the Nightmare Matrix?

  • Well, since we don't actually know whether Seraph came from the "Paradise Matrix", any answer will be pure guesswork – Valorum Aug 19 at 9:53
  • Was hoping that the games (like TMO) or comics might shed some light on this. I'm less interested in Seraph specifically, though, as I assume he was only an exile during current version of the Matrix. I'm happy to accept that the answer might end up being a "we don't know", if there is literally no information on this. – NathanS Aug 19 at 10:22
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We don't really know, but it stands to reason that at least one program was flagged for deletion and chose exile during the Matrix betas.

Let's recall what the Oracle has to say about Exile programs and how they came to be that way:

The Oracle: Look, see those birds? At some point a program was written to govern them. A program was written to watch over the trees, and the wind, the sunrise, and sunset. There are programs running all over the place. The ones doing their job, doing what they were meant to do, are invisible. You’d never even know they were here. But the other ones, well, we hear about them all the time.

Neo: I’ve never heard of them.

The Oracle: Of course you have. Every time you’ve heard someone say they saw a ghost, or an angel. Every story you’ve ever heard about vampires, werewolves, or aliens is the system assimilating some program that’s doing something they’re not supposed to be doing.

Neo: Programs hacking programs. Why?

The Oracle: They have their reasons, but usually a program chooses exile when it faces deletion.

Neo: And why would a program be deleted?

The Oracle: Maybe it breaks down. Maybe a better program is created to replace it – happens all the time, and when it does, a program can either choose to hide here, or return to The Source.

The Matrix Reloaded transcript

The Oracle gives two examples of why a program would be flagged for deletion: either it breaks down or it is replaced with a better program, and the Oracle says this happens "all the time". It seems quite likely that an early program from the Matrix betas would be replaced with a better one, resulting in the earlier one's deletion or exile. It's also possible that with so many programs (including non-humanoid ones which govern the birds) that one of them broke down; indeed, we see exactly that in the episode Beyond from The Animatrix, in which a "haunted house" of broken program(s) that fail to obey the simulated physics of the Matrix are exterminated by Agents.

Since we don't know of any programs that chose deletion instead of exile it's very likely that a program from the Matrix betas which broke down or was replaced would choose exile. Such a program may not have been an Exile for long before being caught/deleted since it would not have been helped by the exiled Merovingian, but it would nonetheless count as an Exile.

As for the Seraphim programs, we can't say whether they became exiles when the Paradise Matrix ended or if they were re-used in the Nightmare Matrix. We do know that Agents Brown and Jones continued to operate in the Matrix after being defeated by Neo and after the upgraded Agents (Johnson, Thompson, and Jackson) became active -- so there's some evidence that the system is willing to re-use security-like programs such as the Seraphim. On the other hand, the Seraphim are definitely Exiles by the time of the films -- after all, the Oracle specifically mentions "angels" as an example of an Exile.

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  • "Such a program may not have been an Exile for long before being caught/deleted since it would not have been helped by the exiled Merovingian, but it would nonetheless count as an Exile." - That's a good point; many exiles only still exist because they have the Merovingian to protect them in the current version of the Matrix; as for the exiles of the previous versions, since he was not an exile at the time, they'd have been on their own and therefore a lot less likely to successfully hide and survive, so if there were any, we wouldn't know... – NathanS Aug 19 at 13:43
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Yes there were

Persephone: "The come from a much older version of the matrix, but like many back then they caused more problems than they solved."

Here, much is the keyword telling us that they are not just one or two versions prior to the current, i.e., sixth version of the Matrix, they are from an even older version of it.

The question of where these exiles were hiding is not addressed yet we are given several points to make healthy conjectures.

Neo: Programs hacking programs. Why?

Oracle: They have their reasons, but usually a program chooses exile when it faces deletion.

Neo: Why would a program be deleted?

Oracle: Maybe it breaks down. Maybe a better program is created to replace, that happens all the time and when it happens, a program could either choose to hide here, or return to the source.

So, they can hide in the Matrix, i.e., they don't need to be smuggled with the Trainman, as they are already in. Also, they don't necessarily need the help of the Merovingian as well. For example, to the best of our knowledge, Smith never had any help from the Merovingian, although he was an exile.

While I have addressed how they survive deletion, the question of how they survive when that version of the Matrix is rebooted is still open. Yet, Oracle also offers some possible explanation, those programs might be hacking into other programs that would survive the reboot or strong programs other than the Merovingian might be harbouring them, like the Oracle harboured Sati or Seraph.

How Merovingian himself survived the reboot of his version of the Matrix is unknown. Therefore, whether Merovingian had any dealings with Seraph or other Seraphim when he was not an exile is unknown. Although this is pure speculation, knowing Merovingian it makes sense that rather than deleting capable programs, he might have started to accumulate them, even when he was the operating system. Here I have speculated that Persephone might have helped Merovingian to acquire these programs.

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  • Persephone was talking about Cain and Abel, who were werewolves (or a vampire and a werewolf, it seems we don't quite know; Q&A's on this site refer to them in either way), but they would have been programs from the Nightmare Matrix that were not exiles at the time. They only became exiles when the current Matrix was created; that was still "much older" because the current version has been around for a long time. So I don't think Persephone's comment really answers this question. – NathanS Aug 19 at 13:39
  • Nightmare matrix was the second matrix. So, presumably, they were exiles since the launch of the third matrix. Now we are in version six, so I don't understand which part of it doesn't answer "were they exiles during the previous versions of the matrix". – user65648 Aug 19 at 14:05
  • We are not in version 6, we are in version 3.6. There was the Paradise Matrix (v1), Nightmare Matrix (v2), then the current Matrix (v3) of which there have been 6 iterations (they keep restarting it, but not replacing it, hence v3.6 -- or maybe technically 3.5 if we started from 3.0, but whatever, you get my point). Hence when I ask for exiles from previous versions, I'm excluding anything from 3.n (where n is any iteration of the current Matrix); I'm only interested in v1 and v2. – NathanS Aug 19 at 14:10
  • Alright, they were still exiles since the launch of 3.0, weren't they? So, there were exiles in 3.0, so there were exiles in previous versions. What do I miss? If you want to exclude everything from 3.0 to 3.6, you have to make it clearer on the question. Even the question title should change: "Were there exiles from the Paradise matrix in the Nightmare matrix?" because you exclude everything else. – user65648 Aug 19 at 14:12
  • That's fair; maybe I was being too general in my title. I shall update accordingly. Sorry for any confusion. To clarify, I want to know if there were any exiles during 2.0 (Nightmare Matrix) or earlier (note that those exiles could have been introduced and made redundant, thus becoming exiles, all within one version, so the exiles in the Nightmare Matrix don't need to have come from the Paradise Matrix). – NathanS Aug 19 at 14:18

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