Hugo Weaving’s Absence In The Matrix Resurrections Revealed

By Tyler Pisapia | 7 seconds ago

hugo weaving matrix 4 agent smith

Many who seized the opportunity to return to the world of The Matrix this holiday season may have been surprised or disappointed to see that Hugo Weaving, who originally played antagonist Agent Smith in the first three films, does not show up in the 2021 installment. It turns out that the movie was originally designed to allow Hugo Weaving to reprise his role as the villain, but scheduling conflicts didn’t allow for it. Thankfully, the plot of the movie left some wiggle room for another actor to step in and take the villainous helm. 

Speaking to Gizmodo, The Matrix: Resurrections co-writers David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon explained Hugo Weaving’s absence from the movie, noting that it fit in with the narrative of the fourth installment in the popular science fiction franchise while still allowing them to have a villain with connective tissue to the original. They explained that there were preliminary talks with one of the original stars of the franchise, presumably Hugo Weaving, about returning. Unfortunately, those talks weren’t resolved in time for production on the movie to start, so they had to go in a different creative direction. 

These comments echo those that Hugo Weaving made in an interview with Collider in September of 2020 when he noted that he was excited to reprise his role as Agent Smith and even talked with director Lana Wachowski about doing the fourth movie. Unfortunately for both him and fans of The Matrix, he was already committed to doing a play at the time. He spoke with the director and Warner Bros. about scheduling his shoot time so that he could do both. However, when that got too complicated, he told the outlet that it was Lana Wachowski who ultimately pulled the plug on the negotiations and allowed the co-writers David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon to go ahead and find a way to write a new, similar villain. 

[SPOILER ALERT]

The writers noted in their interview with Gizmodo that, even if Agent Smith returned with Hugo Weaving at the helm, it would still be a decidedly different character than the one Keanu Reeves’ Neo defeated at the conclusion of the original trilogy. Therefore, allowing Jonathan Groff to take over the role wasn’t that big of a stretch for the story.

matrix 4 jonathan groff

In fact, Hugo Weaving isn’t the only actor from the originals who experienced some plot-driven recasting. When the first trailer for The Matrix Resurrections dropped, many were shocked to see that actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II had been cast in the role of Morpheus despite Laurence Fishburne making the character his in the original films. This was extra jarring given that actors like Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith and Lambert Wilson were allowed to reprise their respective roles. 

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Laurence Fishburne noted that, unlike Hugo Weaving, he was not asked to return as Morpheus. However, the actor stopped short of condemning the decision. While he definitely expressed his disappointment at not being approached, he wished his former co-stars well as well as the creative team behind the movie. He alleged that he simply hoped the film would satisfy fans.