Before Neo takes the red pill, he is a potential, but he is much older than the other potentials we see in the Oracle's living room. This is simply a demonstration of what Morpheus told Neo in M1: "We never free a mind once it's reached a certain age. It's dangerous, the mind has trouble letting go." This is also what Cypher refers to when he says to Trinity in the very first scene of M1 that they're going to kill Neo:
Trinity: Is everything in place?
Cypher: You weren't supposed to relieve me.
Trinity: I know, but I felt like taking a shift.
Cypher: You like him, don't you? You like watching him.
Trinity: Don't be ridiculous.
Cypher: We're gonna kill him. You understand that?
Trinity: Morpheus believes he is the one.
Cypher: Do you?
Trinity: It doesn't matter what I believe.
Cypher: You don't, do you?
Neo is way too old to free his mind, but since he is the One, Morpheus is certain that Neo can handle it. Ironically, when Cypher says "We're gonna kill him," it turns out Cypher is the one who indeed tries to kill Neo along with all the others on his ship.
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