We learn that Neo (aka Thomas A. Anderson; aka Missster Anderson) is the 6th incarnation of "The One". Since The Matrix is a complex simulation of the real life, let's assume that each individual/entity is identified by their name, so that The Matrix can keep track of everyone. Now, Neo is an anagram of "One" which our friend has as a hacker name (which could also essentially be a nickname).

Have the previous 5 "Ones" also gave themselves the nickname Neo or was it just a happy coincidence that the 6th incarnation we see was called that?

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    Except for the fact that Neo is anagram for One I don't see any reason why they should be called so. Jan 30, 2015 at 21:10
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    @Richard: Why do you say the only connection between Neo and One is out-of-universe? It seems pretty in universe to me. Jan 30, 2015 at 21:27
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    @AndrewThompson It would have, if he had known about the previous five. He only knew about one, and that was mostly by legend.
    – KSmarts
    Jan 30, 2015 at 21:29
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    Morpheus aside, the council of zion would have recognized neo face and name, if he used it before, as they were chosen by him to lead the next cycle. They did not.
    – user16696
    Jan 30, 2015 at 21:33
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    And if the previous Ones were complicit in the plan to destroy and re-build Zion, they likely would have lied about their names and histories to perpetuate the fiction about this being the "first" Zion.
    – Nerrolken
    Jan 30, 2015 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


We have no idea. The only real description of previous iterations of The One we have come from the Architect, and he only refers to them as Neo's "predecessors".

However, my gut says that it's unlikely they were all called Neo. One of they key elements of the Matrix was the idea that everyone hooked into it had some degree of free will, the option to make their own choices. I would assume this applies to the small things, like their choice of aliases. And, obviously, Neo picked that nickname before he had any clue he was special, and no one in the movie ever makes a connection between the name and it's anagram.

So, in-universe, it was likely just another cool hacker alias.

  • 2
    counting that one.. once?
    – KutuluMike
    Jan 31, 2015 at 1:46

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