The malevolent Agent Smith of The Matrix trilogy is one of Hugo Weaving’s signature roles, but we’ve known for a while he wouldn’t be able to make it back for the upcoming The Matrix Resurrections. There’s been speculation for a while about who would replace Weaving, and now thanks to a brand new trailer we know the answer. It will now be Mindhunter star Jonathan Groff who will play the formidable A.I. locking horn’s with Keanu Reeves’ Neo.
The trailer released by HBO Max earlier today reveals Groff’s role as Agent Smith early on, showing the actor doing his best Hugo Weaving impersonation as he repeats lines from 1999’s The Matrix. Later we see him in the rain, yelling “Mister Anderson” in the simultaneously threatening and somehow banal way that only Agent Smith can pull off. There’s also shots of a battle between Neo and possibly Groff’s Agent Smith in what appears to be the same train station where Neo and Smith fight in the first film, though you don’t get a clear shot of the Agent’s face. You can watch the trailer below.
We also get to see a lot more of Neo using his telekinesis ability in the new trailer. An earlier preview showed Reeves’ character using it on a helicopter. In the new preview, he uses it on a car during a chase, and later wields it against Agent Smith, or whichever other Agent he happens to be fighting.
The preview that dropped today represents a pretty short turnaround from the last The Matrix Resurrections trailer, which came out just last Wednesday. Both previews feature numerous callbacks to the original film, including plenty of footage from The Matrix. One interesting difference is while the earlier trailer features Jonathan Groff, it not only doesn’t make it obvious that he’s playing Agent Smith, but certain shots seem to hint that he was somehow being inserted into Neo’s role. For example, a shot from The Matrix of Neo’s mouth being sealed shut by Agent Smith is quickly replaced by Jonathan Groff’s mouth reacting in the same way.
Hugo Weaving originated the role of Agent Smith in The Matrix and reprised it for the 2003 follow ups The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. We learned that Weaving wouldn’t be able to return to the role of Agent Smith for The Matrix Resurrections last September. The actor admitted he was initially hesitant to once again play the villain, but changed his mind after reading the script. Unfortunately, Weaving had a scheduling conflict which opened the door for Groff.
Agent Smith promises to be one of Jonathan Groff’s darkest high profile roles. Of the parts he’s best known for, most are either heroic and/or comedic. He plays the profiling prodigy Holden Ford on Netflix’s Mindhunter, and the voice of Anna’s boyfriend Kristoff in Disney’s Frozen films. He has played at least one memorable villain before — the darkly humorous King George in both the Broadway production and Disney+ film Hamilton. But we’re confident Agent Smith’s villainous turns in The Matrix Resurrections will amount to more than singing “You’ll Be Back.”
The Matrix Resurrections will be released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max Wednesday, December 22. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Ann Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff, Christina Ricci, Neil Patrick Harris, and more. The new film is directed by Lana Wachowski.