How is it possible that a line from The Matrix never actually existed? The line begins "What if I told you," and it's believed to have been spoken by Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne). It has even become part of the zeitgeist, repurposed into a popular joke meme. In reality, though, that line was never actually said in the film. So how did fans end up believing it was?
Fans believe "What if I told you" was said by Morpheus when he was explaining the Matrix to Neo (Keanu Reeves). The line would have helped kick off Morpheus' monologue about how everything in the Matrix is a construct meant to distract Neo from the brutal reality he is simply a slave to machines actually running the world in a distant, post-apocalyptic future. The monologue precedes a moment that really does happen in the film: Morpheus offering Neo the choice between the blue pill, which would make him forget their conversation and let him carry on with his life, and the red pill, which would permanently open his eyes and free him from the Matrix. What's interesting is that Morpheus' "What if I told you" line was never actually spoken and instead has become an infamously misquoted line from the film.
Per KnowYourMeme, chances are good the "What if I told you" line was merely a reworded take on Morpheus' actual dialogue in the scene: "Do you want to know what 'it' is?". This makes sense considering a meme thrives on brevity and clarity as it reshapes pop culture into a digestible, humorous piece of content. Additionally, the idea of putting "What if I told you" at the top of a meme as a way of jokily revealing a truth about the world similar to the way Morpheus does with Neo has a nicer, clearer ring to it than the line "Do you want to know what 'it' is?".
As fans have gone on to rewatch The Matrix over the years, they've noticed the "What if I told you" quote is actually not mentioned in the movie. Various discussions have allowed people to confer over the line's existence with many swearing it was included in the theatrical run of the film but has since disappeared from versions of the film cut for broadcast purposes or DVD/Blu-Ray releases.
But the fact is, this isn't the first time that famous quotes have been altered in fans' minds over time and eventually used in public incorrectly. It's quite common for people to get famous movie quotes wrong. One of the biggest instances of this is Darth Vader being misquoted when he told Luke that he's his father. As we now see, the truth about the "What if I told you" line is neither supernatural nor is it a glitch in the Matrix. In reality, it's a simple case of lines blurring together into an infamously misquoted line which has found a second life in the world of memes.