Hugo Weaving will not be reprising his role as antagonist Agent Smith in The Matrix 4.
The esteemed Australian actor confirmed the news during an interview about his upcoming play The Visit, revealing that a scheduling conflict led to his departure from the fourth installment. “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 explained. “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 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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Weaving also explains why he didn’t return as Red Skull in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame after playing the character in Captain America: The First Avenger, “I loved playing that character Red Skull – it was a lot of fun. We were all obliged to sign up for three pictures: I was thinking [Red Skull] probably wouldn’t come back in Captain America but he may well come back as a villain in The Avengers.” He continues, “By then, they’d pushed back on the contracts that we agreed on and so the money they offered me for The Avengers was much less than I got for the very first one, and this was for two films. And the promise when we first signed the contracts was that the money would grow each time. They said: “It’s just a voice job, it’s not a big deal.” I actually found negotiating with them through my agent impossible. And I didn’t really wanna do it that much. But I would have done it.”
Without Weaving in the cast, the ensemble currently includes original actors Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Jada Pinkett Smith, with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jonathan Groff. The Matrix 4 premieres May 20, 2021 — the same day as John Wick 4, making for a Keanu-filled weekend.
Elsewhere in entertainment, Disney’s live-action Mulan will not feature Mushu.