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Vamp prime

Vamp Prime, a possible remnant of the Nightmare Matrix

The first Matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect, it was a work of art, flawless, sublime; a triumph equaled only by its monumental failure. The inevitability of its doom is apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being. Thus I redesigned it, based on your history, to more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature. However, I was again frustrated by failure.

― The Architect[src]

The Nightmare Matrix is a fan theory which posits that the second prototype Matrix, designed by The Architect after the massive failure of the first prototype Matrix, was a gothic nightmare world infested by monsters. The theory is based on a dialogue in The Matrix Reloaded where he posits that human minds would more readily accept an imperfect world with suffering. This theory is further supported by various dialogue in The Matrix franchise tying together the relationship between The Oracle, The Merovingian, Persephone, and the other various exiles in existence.

The Merovingian and Persephone[]

Both The Merovingian and Persephone are posited to have had their roots in this version of the Matrix. This is given credence by The Oracle's statement on how The Merovingian was "one of the oldest of us" possibly referring to The Merovingian to be about the same age as herself. Considering also how Kid believed that The Merovingian was originally an operating system, and quite possibly the operating system for this version of the Matrix, it could be theorized that The Merovingian previously held a lofty status in this version of the Matrix before getting replaced by The Oracle, whose insights led to the creation of the third and current version of the Matrix. Being made defunct by The Oracle would then explain his motives for wanting to have The Oracle destroyed.

Nightmare Creatures[]

The theory also posits that it is this version of the Matrix which originally featured The Merovingian's henchmen; programs that resembled mythical evil creatures from various human mythologies such as vampires, angels, werewolves, zombies, aliens, etc. As in the franchise canon, many of these programs still survive deletion in exile. The theory is supported by Persephone's descriptions of how The Merovingian's henchmen originated from a much older version of the Matrix.

Regardless of which specific iteration they represent, gothic iterations of the Matrix persisted as Constructs in The Matrix Online.


Seraph was an exile who canonically worked for The Merovingian before working for The Oracle. He identified himself as someone who protects "that which matters most". If it is assumed that his original function had remained unchanged when he switched allegiances, it could then be theorized that The Merovingian was previously that which mattered most before getting replaced by The Oracle.