In The Matrix Reloaded, the Architect offers Neo two choices; if he chooses the door on the left he will save the woman he loves, and if he chooses the door on the right he will save humanity.

So, if the Architect always offers two choices to the One, what choices did he offer to previous incarnations of the One in previous versions of the Matrix? We know that one of the choices they were offered is saving the humanity, but what about the other choice? Did all of them have a woman they loved and the option to save her?

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    It's a forced choice. Save humanity or don't. The other ones always chose to save humanity, albeit at the cost of all of Zion being wiped out and "The One" keeping his mouth shut about what's really going on.
    – Valorum
    Apr 1, 2021 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


From the Architect's speech, transcribed here:

You are here because Zion is about to be destroyed. Its every living inhabitant terminated, its entire existence eradicated. ... 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. Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash killing everyone connected to the matrix, which coupled with the extermination of Zion will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race.

So, if a previous One had been tempted not to return to the source, probably it would have been because they wanted to try to prevent the extermination of Zion somehow, and maybe find a way to avert the "system crash" (in this iteration of the cycle, we saw no immediate system crash when Neo chose the left door, and the disruption to the Matrix caused by Smith hadn't happened on previous cycles, so maybe the crash was somehow supposed to be contingent on the machines being successful in destroying Zion). The choice would have basically been "go along with our plan to wipe out Zion and reboot it, or try and fight us and risk the likely extinction of humanity."

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