The Matrix Resurrections has been met with a mixed response from fans and critics alike, while those early box office numbers are a strong indication that a sequel probably isn't going to happen (the Warner Bros. execs who thought it would be a good idea to open less than a week after Spider-Man: No Way Home must be feeling spectacularly stupid right now).
One major sticking point for even the biggest fans of the Matrix franchise was the decision to recast Morpheus and Agent Smith. Laurence Fishburne was replaced by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, while Jonathan Groff filled in for Hugo Weaving. Morpheus didn't have enough screentime for Abdul-Mateen II to be fairly judged, but the talented Groff was, unfortunately, unable to recapture that "Mr. Anderson" magic.
After confirming "a new Morpheus was there from the beginning," co-writer Aleksandar Hemon told io9 that there were once plans for Weaving to reprise his role as the villainous Agent Smith.
"There were preliminary talks [with Hugo Weaving] and so we were not involved in them with people, but it was not entirely resolved. Because the premise of The Matrix and [this] movie is somewhat different, Agent Smith would have been different in some ways, no matter who played it. And Jonathan Groff is amazing in that role."
"He added a dimension that I could not foresee while we were writing," he added. "But there’s an increased emotional emotionality in the movie and then he fits into that pattern."
Fishburne has previously said he was never contacted, while Weaving himself has actually said that scheduling conflicts proved problematic for his potential return as Smith. While him being part of the movie wouldn't necessarily have made up for The Matrix Resurrections' many other flaws, it would have provided this fourth instalment with a much stronger antagonist than Groff's pale imitation.
Read our review of the latest instalment in The Matrix series by clicking here.