Movies

The Matrix Franchise Recast Agent Smith 18 Years Before Resurrections (& It Did So Much Better)

Summary

  • Recasting Agent Smith in “The Matrix Resurrections” was a risky move that didn’t live up to the iconic status of their predecessors. The franchise had already proven that recasting Agent Smith wasn’t impossible.
  • In “The Matrix Resurrections,” Jonathan Groff’s version of Agent Smith didn’t capture the intensity or seriousness of Hugo Weaving’s performance. He felt like a lesser, less threatening version of the iconic character.
  • Actor Ian Bliss’s portrayal of Bane as a twisted real-world version of Agent Smith in “The Matrix Revolutions” was a lot of fun and successfully recreated the campy seriousness of Weaving’s original performance.


The Matrix franchise infamously recast Agent Smith in The Matrix Resurrections, but the series actually already did this trick much better 18 years earlier. Recasting iconic characters is always a risky move, as the new performances risk not living up to the legendary status of their predecessors. Agent Smith’s recast is a famous example of a recast gone wrong, and while it didn’t work in The Matrix Resurrections, The Matrix franchise had already proven that recasting Agent Smith wasn’t impossible.

The Matrix Resurrections is the fourth film in The Matrix franchise, with the controversial film being the current end to the iconic series. The Matrix Resurrections had to do a lot of work to bring the series back to the status quo, with it having to bring Neo and Trinity back to life while also bringing in some other old characters. One of the returning characters in the film is Agent Smith, famously played by Hugo Weaving, although the character had a different face this time around.

Related: What Went Wrong With The Matrix 4


Matrix Revolutions’ Bane Was A Better Agent Smith Than Resurrections’

Bane sitting at a table in The Matrix Revolutions

A different actor got to play Agent Smith back in The Matrix Revolutions, and this iteration of the character was much better than Jonathan Groff’s Agent Smith in The Matrix Resurrections. In the film, Agent Smith needs to travel to the real world in order to stop the resistance. Thus, he took over Bane’s body while he was jacked into the Matrix, allowing Smith to have a real-world form.

This twisted real-world version of Agent Smith was a lot of fun, mostly because it is a great iteration of Smith. Actor Ian Bliss plays Bane in the series, and he is able to perfectly recreate the campy seriousness of Hugo Weaving’s original Agent Smith performance. The film also sets the story up in a way where any inconsistencies or odd performance quirks can be written up to Agent Smith trying to blend in with the humans, which was a brilliant move on the part of the writers.

Why Matrix Resurrections’ Agent Smith Doesn’t Work

On the other hand, Jonathan Groff’s version of Agent Smith in The Matrix Resurrections just doesn’t work. Groff does have his moments, but he simply isn’t able to recapture the magic of Hugo Weaving’s performance. This version of Smith doesn’t seem nearly as serious as Hugo Weaving’s character, leading to him being a lesser version of the iconic character.

Related: The Best Matrix Viewing Order (Including All 4 Movies & Shorts)

Jonathan Groff just isn’t able to bring as much intensity or seriousness to the role as Hugo Weaving was, making Agent Smith feel like much less of a threat. Many of the lines feel like jokes in the hands of Jonathan Groff, and while he is a fantastic actor in projects like Mindhunter and Frozen, the role of Agent Smith may just not have been for him. It’s possible that another actor could have made the Agent Smith recast work, as The Matrix franchise proved back in The Matrix Revolutions.

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