the matrix 4 hugo weaving

The Matrix 4 is bringing back several familiar faces: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Jada Pinkett Smith. But don’t expect to see Hugo Weaving‘s Agent Smith pop up in the film. According to Weaving himself, he’s not returning for the sequel, even though director Lana Wachowski wanted Weaving to reprise his role. Sadly, scheduling difficulties got in the way.

We still don’t know what the hell The Matrix 4 is going to be about, but it looks like writer-director Lana Wachowski was really hoping to bring back Agent Smith in some capacity. Unfortunately, actor Hugo Weaving, who played Smith in the first three Matrix films, was unavailable. Weaving is currently booked to star in the stage production The Visit, and that ultimately got in the way of returning for The Matrix 4.

“It’s unfortunate but actually I had this offer [for The Visit] and then the offer came from The Matrix, so I knew it was happening but I didn’t have dates.” Weaving told Time Out London. “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.”

This asks a big question: how did Lana Wachowski “change her mind”? Did she cut Smith out of the script entirely, or come up with a way to re-cast the part? The Matrix is no stranger to recasting roles – when Gloria Foster, who played the Oracle in the first two films, died, she was replaced with actress Mary Alice for the third.

With the plot of Matrix 4 remaining shrouded in secrecy, it’s impossible to say how things will shake out now. Still, it’s a bit of a bummer that Weaving, who was so iconic as Agent Smith, won’t be able to return.

The Matrix 4 opens May 21, 2021.

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