Will Agent Smith Return for ‘The Matrix 4’? Actor Hugo Weaving Sets the Record Straight

A hero is only as good as his or her villain. So it stands to reason The Matrix would introduce a villain just as memorable as Neo (Keanu Reeves). Truly, Hugo Weaving’s performance as Agent Smith struck such a chord with audiences that the defeated character was revived for the sequels.

The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions weren’t as warmly received as the 1999 original. But Weaving’s deliciously over-the-top performance easily remains one of the sequels’ highlights. So when word broke Warner Bros. is developing The Matrix 4, fans began to wonder which stars of The Matrix trilogy would plug back into the franchise.

Now Weaving has answered whether he will reprise his role as Smith, the arch-nemesis of “Mr. Anderson” aka Neo himself.

Hugo Weaving at the premiere of 'Mortal Engines'
Hugo Weaving at the premiere of ‘Mortal Engines’ | Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

What we know about ‘The Matrix 4’

Although Lilly Wachowski won’t be back behind the camera for the untitled fourth film, at least one-half of the duo behind The Matrix will be. Lana Wachowski has signed on to direct a script she wrote with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon.

When Warner Bros. announced the film, the report also included confirmation Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss would return as Neo and Trinity, respectively. Other original trilogy cast members such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Lambert Wilson are also reportedly in talks for The Matrix 4 as well.

Meanwhile, a bunch of new actors joined the cast, including Jonathan Groff, Jessica Henwick, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Neil Patrick Harris. The Matrix 4 also notably hits theaters on May 21, 2021 opposite another Reeves-led sequel, John Wick: Chapter 4.

Will Agent Smith be returning too?

We still don’t have any word about Laurence Fishburne’s potential return as Morpheus. But with Reeves and Moss back onboard, surely Wachowski hopes to bring Weaving back into The Matrix. As it turns out, she tried, but as Weaving told Time Out, he won’t be in The Matrix 4 after all.

It’s unfortunate, but actually, I had this offer [for his new play, The Visit] and then the offer came from The Matrix, so I knew it was happening but I didn’t have dates. I thought [I] could do both and it took eight weeks to work out that the dates would work — I held off on accepting [a role in The Visit during that time]. I was in touch with [director] Lana Wachowski, but in the end, she decided that the dates weren’t going to work. So we’d sorted the dates, and then she sort of changed her mind. They’re pushing on ahead without me.

If the production was seemingly so easy to go on without Weaving, it’s possible his character was never going to play a very pivotal role in the film. Agent Smith’s absence will disappoint fans, but if the new film is going to stand on its own, perhaps it’s better off not bringing back the series’ signature villain. After all, that move didn’t work so well for Star Wars.

Hugo Weaving could just get recast

Then again, The Matrix 4 does have another option. Since the series’ titular setting is a computer program, perhaps Wachowski will simply recast Weaving’s role. Such a decision might seem blasphemous to Matrix devotees. But there is precedent within the franchise.

After Gloria Foster passed away, Mary Alice stepped into the role of The Oracle for The Matrix Revolutions. The film simply explained The Oracle needed to assume a new form after helping Neo in the previous movie. Such a tactic could work in The Matrix 4.

Casting a new actor as Smith would allow the character’s larger-than-life presence to be felt. Plus, then another actor could have the opportunity to sink his or her teeth into the role. We’ll keep a close eye on The Matrix 4 to see what Wachowski and company decide to do.