One of the most memorable elements of the original Matrix film — aside from the slow-motion bullet-dodges, the protagonists clad in black trenchcoats, and the incredible special effects and fight scenes — were the menacing agents in their suits and ties. Staring out wordlessly (usually) from black sunglasses, one agent in particular bedeviled Neo throughout the movie, with his icy “MISSSS-ter Anderson” sneer. That, of course, was Neo’s arch-nemesis Agent Smith portrayed so brilliantly by Hugo Weaving — who, unfortunately, has just revealed that he won’t appear in the hotly anticipated fourth Matrix movie that’s in the works and headed for a 2021 launch.

Speaking with Time Out London, Weaving was blunt when addressing whether he’d be part of the cast (“I’m not, no”) but he also added one intriguing aside. He actually almost was a part of the cast of the movie, for which Lana Wachowski is coming back to the helm as its director. The stumbling block was Weaving’s acceptance of an offer to join the cast of The Visit from Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt at the National Theater in London.

“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,” Weaving told the outlet. “I thought [I] could do both … 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.”

Of course, just because Weaving himself doesn’t appear in the next Matrix movie, that doesn’t mean someone else playing the character couldn’t appear in his stead. Especially since there’s been chatter that this movie will give us younger versions of the main characters like Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus — in which case, a different actor playing a younger Agent Smith would work just fine (but maybe that would imply the avatar-like “agents” within the matrix itself age like humans?).

At any rate, in terms of what else we know about the movie, check out our earlier report here. Warner Bros. has said the movie will be released on May 21, 2021, and Keanu Reeves, as well as Carrie-Anne Moss, are coming back to portray Neo and Trinity, respectively.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.