The Matrix is arguably one of the greatest modern science fiction universes. In addition to the original trilogy of movies, there's a collection of short animated stories, a video game franchise, and comic books. It's little wonder dedicated fans still fervently watch the original trilogy and come up with The Matrix theories decades after the first film debuted in theaters. Given the complex mythology and symbolism present in the films, it makes sense some of these fan theories about The Matrix are kind of crazy.
Most The Matrix conspiracy theories stem from the complicated plot and deep themes permeating the franchise. The second and third movies, some elements of which seem to contradict information provided in the original film, are a source of many of these theories; each spends a significant portion of its runtime diving deep into the philosophical underpinnings of the series (many would say at the expense of the quality of the films). And if the movies aren't enough, you've also got fan theories from The Matrix series.
That the Internet was first beginning its dominance of cultural discourse when the original Matrix trilogy came out meant viewers had the chance to discuss ideas about The Matrix mysteries online. This environment gave birth to some compelling fan theories that hope to explain some of the more confusing moments from the franchise.
One of the most puzzling things from The Matrix is how Cypher is able to meet up with the agents to betray the rest of his crew. It seems like it would be difficult to plug yourself into the simulation using the standard setup, and someone would surely notice him broadcasting a signal. Reddit user davidsmeaton came up with a solution to this conundrum involving the Women in the Red Dress and Mouse.
It’s clear Mouse is open to the idea of letting the rest of the crew spend time with his female creation, as he asks Neo if he wants him to arrange a meeting. Cypher may have taken Mouse up on this offer as a way of getting plugged in. He could then load himself into the Matrix without raising suspicions or being detected, possibly having asked Mouse to not watch over proceedings, so he could have some privacy. This freed up time for Cypher to then meet up with Agent Smith and arrange his scheme.
Although it's never explicitly explained in the movies, Reddit user RuafaolGaiscioch believes the Matrix is a relatively small simulation. After all, humans had fought a devastating war with the machines and there may not have been many survivors. This would make recreating the entire world a waste for just tens of millions of people.
Instead, it appears as if the Matrix is one large city with some surrounding geographical areas. To back up this claim, the theorist uses quotes from characters when they refer to locations such as “the freeway” or “the mountains.” These terms are generic, rather than specific, suggesting they might be the only freeway and mountains in the Matrix.
One of the main problems many people had with the Matrix trilogy was the central claim that machines enslaved humans so they could use their bodies as a form of energy. Not only would hyper-intelligent machines be able to get other sources of energy without needing to build a huge simulated world; human bodies would be an ineffective way to get power.
Redditor hungrybackpack suggests machines may be using humans more as organic computers to provide processing power. Each human would act as a biological CPU that could then be used to by the machines, with the simulation acting as a sort of interface.
This theory, which became well known following the release of The Matrix Reloaded, argues the real world shown in the movies is another level of the computer simulation from which characters like Morpheus were allegedly freed. The red pill taken by those wishing to leave the Matrix doesn't cause them to be physically ejected from the system, but instead takes them a new destination the machines control. This gives the illusion of having escaped. It's called the "Matrix within a Matrix" theory.
The theory accounts for a number of logic discrepancies in the series, such as Neo using some of his powers outside the Matrix, and Agent Smith being able to control Bane after he left the Matrix.