Matrix 4 almost brought back Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith - but unfortunately, his schedule couldn't match-up with the planned shoot for the Matrix Trilogy sequel. Weaving was recently doing an interview and explained that despite an earnest effort by both himself and Matrix 4 director Lana Wachowski, they just couldn't make the return work. Instead, Wachowski crafted another Matrix 4 story that could move forward without Agent Smith's character (and subsequently Hugo Weaving's involvement). While some fans may feel a pang of regret imagining what could've happened if Agent Smith returned for Matrix 4, other fans will be just as happy that the franchise is moving forward into new territory.
“Lana Wachowski had rung me at the beginning of last year,” Weaving explained. “We’ve worked together five times, the Wachowski’s and I on three Matrix films, V for Vendetta and Cloud Atlas. I’ve hung out with them all over the world for many, many years. So, yes, Lana was very keen for me to be involved in The Matrix."
Apparently, Weaving's involvement in Matrix 4 wasn't just theoretical - he was actually part of the pre-production process:
"There was a reading with Keanu, Carrie and myself and a few others from the old family... I loved a lot of it and wasn’t sure about other bits,” Weaving revealed, adding that scheduling was the reason he couldn't do Matrix 4:
“Ultimately, we talked about it and when the offer came through to do it for Warner’s, I said yes the next day and I talked to Lana. I thought we could have done my scenes in May, June and July ; and we talked about money and we talked about — they were negotiating. And we were all pretty much sorted and agreed on dates and it was all fine, but then Lana decided she didn’t think it was going to work. So, she pulled the plug on the negotiations... that was her call. So, that was it really.... but, yeah, it would be lovely to be over there to hang out with them all. I’m very fond of Keanu and Carrie. I haven’t seen them for a while. But I look forward to seeing it."
That explanation tracks with what Weaving alluded to earlier this year, when he explained why he hadn't been announced for Matrix 4:
"The Matrix is a very different story," Weaving told Time Out. "It's unfortunate but actually I had this offer 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... but in the end [Lana] 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."0comments
As stated, the "different story" that Weaving mentions is what a lot of Matrix fans are hoping for from Matrix 4. The original trilogy got criticized for being overly repetitive with its themes and conflicts - down to the idea of The Matrix being a constantly revised process, with many prior "chose ones" before Keanu Reeves' Neo. The intrigue of Matrix 4 is how ideas about technology, machines, and an A.I. apocalypse have evolved in the 21st Century. That arguably means a new threat other than the classic agents should be part of the story.
Matrix 4 hits theaters on April 1, 2022.