Matrix 4: Every Hint Agent Smith Will Be Replaced

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Matrix 4: Every Hint Agent Smith Will Be Replaced

Rumors persist that Agent Smith could return in The Matrix 4, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the iconic villain will be replaced.

Agent Smith could be replaced by a digital successor in The Matrix 4, and here’s the evidence. Memorably played by Hugo Weaving, Agent Smith is the ice-cool arch-villain of the entire original Matrix trilogy. Originally a piece of software created by the Machines to police the simulated Matrix world, Agent Smith would roam around shutting down subversive humans like Thomas Anderson who threatened the illusion’s stability, and chasing off or outright murdering awakened residents of Zion such as Morpheus and Trinity and their crew, who sought to recruit new members to their cause. Smith performed his duties with characteristic machine-like precision, but also demonstrated an innate disdain and disgust for humans and natural life forms, preferring the order and regime of data to the chaos and unpredictability of flesh and blood.

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After being defeated by Neo in the original 1999 Matrix movie, Smith returned in the sequel as an exile program and set out assimilating other Agents and programs to grow more powerful. Released from the purpose for which he was designed, Smith yearned to destroy the last remaining humans of the City of Zion and escape the confines of the Matrix as a free piece of code. Alas, Smith’s hubris and greed spelled his doom, as the villain succumbed to the combined efforts of Neo and the Machines, seemingly destroyed for good.

Now set for release in December 2021, The Matrix 4, officially subtitled Resurrections, will continue the story of the original trilogy, bringing classic characters such as Neo and Trinity back into the fold, many portrayed by their original cast members (Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in this case). However, the fate of Agent Smith in the upcoming sequel remains unknown, at least officially. Lana Wachowski has yet to confirm the overall plot of The Matrix Resurrections and, despite Neo and Trinity cheating death to return in the sequel, there’s no word on Smith, with a new main antagonist widely expected to appear instead. Even if Smith is ousted as the lead villain, the character could still make an appearance in The Matrix 4, but every indication is pointing to a brand new version of the snappily-dressed assassin – and the first trailer for Resurrections arrived in September 2021, leaving even more hints that this might be the case.

The biggest hint regarding Smith’s presence in The Matrix 4 comes from the rather reputable source of Hugo Weaving himself. Back in January, Weaving candidly revealed he was approached by Lana Wachowski to return in The Matrix 4, and the two sides hammered out a schedule that would allow Weaving to film his scenes as Agent Smith while honoring a prior commitment to The Visit, a West End production due to run in 2020 simultaneous to production on The Matrix 4. As Weaving tells it, an arrangement had been reached, but Wachowski changed her mind, leaving the actor to his stint in the West End and ending his participation in The Matrix 4.

In the absence of further comment from Wachowski, it’s impossible to say why the decision was made to push ahead without Weaving, but the attempt to capture his services does at least confirm Smith’s presence in The Matrix 4. In some cases, a sequel director will sound out an actor about a possible return before finalizing the script. For example, Viggo Mortensen was asked about making a Middle-Earth comeback in the early stages of production on The Hobbit, but shot the idea down since Aragorn doesn’t feature in the original book. This isn’t the case with Hugo Weaving in The Matrix 4. In a more recent interview, the actor elaborated on his absence, explaining that he was convinced to reprise his character after reading Wachowski’s script, proving that Lana wasn’t just gauging Weaving’s interest in playing Smith again – the stern-faced Agent was part of the design – and it’s likely he still figures in the movie in some way.

Hugo Weaving has confirmed that, at one stage, Agent Smith was destined to plug back into The Matrix, but after his diary proved impossible to accommodate, Lana Wachowski would’ve been left with two choices: cut Smith entirely, or cast a different character. Given Weaving’s later comments in a subsequent September 2020 interview, recasting seems the more likely option by a comfortable margin.

If Agent Smith’s return was a mere cameo or fleeting appearance via flashback or dream sequence, cutting the character would barely be an inconvenience. Weaving could be removed from the script without seriously affecting the main plot of The Matrix 4. Details surrounding the sequel’s story remain top secret, but Weaving’s comments heavily imply that he was set for a substantial role. Speaking with Collider, Weaving described feeling a certain “reticence” about making a fourth Matrix movie, but began negotiations “immediately” after reading Lana Wachowski’s script, with the director “very keen” to bring him aboard. Weaving goes on to express his regret at being unable to play Agent Smith again, and these are not the words of a man who was set for a mere cameo. Lana Wachowski’s enthusiasm to cast Weaving and the actor’s own response to reading The Matrix 4‘s script strongly suggest that Agent Smith embarks upon a major story in The Matrix 4 – a narrative that couldn’t simply be removed due to scheduling conflicts.

The obvious solution would be to recast Agent Smith, and The Matrix has already set a precedent for this. Smith himself inhabited a different body in The Matrix Revolutions during his brief tenure in the real world, taking over a resident of Zion. Furthermore, The Oracle was forced to assume a different appearance after the death of Gloria Foster. Smith is a piece of programming, just like The Oracle, and changing his face in The Matrix 4 would certainly fall within the franchise’s mythology. Alternatively, The Matrix 4 may introduce an entirely fresh character who plugs the gap left by Weaving’s absence, picking up Agent Smith’s intended arc and essentially acting as the villain’s successor.

Another major clue towards The Matrix 4 replacing Smith is the return of Daniel Bernhardt as Agent Johnson. Debuting in The Matrix Reloaded, Agent Johnson was essentially Smith’s in-world replacement after Neo proved victorious in the climax of the first movie. Johnson leads the Agents loyally, just as Smith once did, executing the will of the Machines and protecting the Matrix as dictated by his programming. Agent Johnson never becomes a major player, and given how Smith’s arc diverges in the Matrix trilogy, Johnson won’t be replacing Smith himself in the fourth movie, but Bernhardt’s return does reveal that The Matrix 4‘s Agent storyline isn’t being cut due to Weaving’s scheduling conflict. If Lana Wachowski had decided to cut Smith from The Matrix 4 after losing Weaving, the other Agents probably would’ve been omitted too. Agent Johnson’s presence hints that the script hasn’t been amended on Weaving’s account, and Smith’s part could be taken by someone else…

A host of top acting names have joined The Matrix 4 alongside the more familiar legacy cast, and out of all the newcomers, Jonathan Groff is best suited to replace Agent Smith. The Matrix 4 has long been the subject of speculation and thoerizing, with no confirmation of any details (other than casting announcements) until the first trailer for the movie landed in September, giving fans their first glimpse of the returning and new characters. Long theorized was the return of a Morpheus, played by newcomer Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – a theory which was confirmed by action depicted in the trailer showing the actor in distinctly Morpheus-style get-up. The role of a younger version of Morpheus was later confirmed by Abdul-Mateen’s own Instagram .

If classic Matrix characters are reverting back to their younger selves in some sort of time travel mechanic, Groff could easily get away with playing a fresher-faced Smith. The actor portrayed an overblown villainous type in Hamilton and an intelligent investigator in Mindhunter. Combining the pair would offer a fairly close approximation of The Matrix‘s Agent Smith, as originated by Hugo Weaving. The first trailer for The Matrix Resurrections did include a glimpse at Groff in character, though not really enough to give his role away. He’s seated in an office, wearing a suit, with raven-black hair, talking with Neo. There’s no distinctive “Mr Anderson” uttered, but Groff’s portrayal does include a heavy dose of gravitas and seriousness, which tracks with the original version of Agent Smith. So while the trailer doesn’t confirm whether Groff is indeed Smith, it does continue to solidify the theory that this is his role in the sequel movie.

Even if Jonathan Groff is playing a previously unseen character, he might still adopt the part originally written for Weaving, but as a different agent. Add a pair of sunglasses to Mindhunter‘s Holden Ford, and Groff is the archetypal Agent, and whatever part Lana Wachowski had in mind for Smith could be retrofitted for Groff’s new villain on the block. As Agent Smith in the original Matrix movies, Hugo Weaving combined the callous reserve of a computer program alongside an overflowing megalomania. Groff could also portray an entirely different type of program but pursue the same character objectives as the original Weaving role. With a background in both musical theater and drama, Jonathan Groff is ideally placed to inherit the Smith role and carry the character’s legacy into future movies.

Craig first began contributing to Screen Rant in 2016, several years after graduating college, and has been ranting ever since, mostly to himself in a darkened room. Having previously written for various sports and music outlets, Craig’s interest soon turned to TV and film, where a steady upbringing of science fiction and comic books finally came into its own.
Craig has previously been published on sites such as Den of Geek, and after many coffee-drenched hours hunched over a laptop, part-time evening work eventually turned into a full-time career covering everything from the zombie apocalypse to the Starship Enterprise via the TARDIS.

Since joining the Screen Rant fold, Craig has been involved in breaking news stories and mildly controversial ranking lists, but now works predominantly as a features writer.
Jim Carrey is Craig’s top acting pick and favorite topics include superheroes, anime and the unrecognized genius of the High School Musical trilogy.

After being defeated by Neo in the original 1999 Matrix movie, Smith returned in the sequel as an exile program and set out assimilating other Agents and programs to grow more powerful. Released from the purpose for which he was designed, Smith yearned to destroy the last remaining humans of the City of Zion and escape the confines of the Matrix as a free piece of code. Alas, Smith’s hubris and greed spelled his doom, as the villain succumbed to the combined efforts of Neo and the Machines, seemingly destroyed for good.

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