In 1999, The Matrix introduced a future where humans were being held in a virtual reality run by machines that had taken over the world. The human resistance fought to escape the Matrix, led by a young hacker named Neo, played by Keanu Reeves. In the Matrix, a group of sentient programs called agents are led by Agent Smith to stop them. At the end of the first movie, Agent Smith seemed like he was destroyed, but he returned in 2003 with The Matrix Reloaded. There, we discovered he had reformed himself and become a rogue program with the power to turn almost anyone in the Matrix into a copy of himself. By The Matrix Revolutions, Agent Smith had taken over the entire Matrix, and Neo destroyed them all to end the war.
Agent Smith is not only Neo’s nemesis, but one of the greatest villains of all time. Besides his power to copy himself, Smith has incredible skills like speed, strength, martial arts and the ability to communicate with other agents and the Matrix itself. You may have seen the movies a thousand times, but there are still a few secrets about this deadly villain you definitely do not know. Enter the Matrix once again with CBR’s secrets about Agent Smith.
*Feature image art by Deviantart user, Violinsane.
15. AGENT SMITH IS THE ONE
The Matrix trilogy revolved around the prophecy that someone born inside the Matrix would free themselves, and end the war between Mankind and the Machines. That person had the power to change whatever he wanted in the Matrix, and would be called the One. If you’ve seen the trilogy, you think the prophecy referred to Neo. But you might be wrong.
There’s a fan theory that the prophecy was actually about… Agent Smith.
Think about the first part of the prophecy. Smith was also literally born inside the Matrix as a program, not Neo. Neo couldn’t change anything he wanted. He still had to follow the rules, still had to fight agents, could still bleed. More to the point, he couldn’t change the Matrix itself. Agent Smith was the one who altered the rules of the Matrix, changing everyone into copies of himself and even the world around him. Smith’s death is what ended the war, not Neo’s.
14. WEAVING WAS THE SECOND CHOICE
It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Agent Smith with the same cold and calculated style as Hugo Weaving did in The Matrix. He managed to be mechanical and robotic one moment while seeming all too human the next. It was brilliant casting, but it wasn’t the direction the movie started with. The original choice for Agent Smith was Jean Reno, the French actor of Spanish descent who broke out with his role as the kind but ruthless killer in 1994’s Leon: The Professional.
Reno was in talks to play Agent Smith but apparently balked at the idea of moving to Australia, where The Matrix was going to be filmed. He decided to take the role of Philippe Roche in 1998’s Godzilla instead. Given how Weaving pulled off the role, we’re kind of glad Reno turned it down.
13. WEAVING ALMOST TURNED IT DOWN, TOO
As much as Hugo Weaving captured the role of Agent Smith and made him one of the most iconic villains in Hollywood, it wasn’t easy to get him into the black suit and sunglasses. In fact, when the Australian first heard of the project, he didn’t even read much of the script because he thought the movie wouldn’t be good.
He changed his mind when he met the Wachowskis and they made the project seem more interesting. They showed him concept art, showed him the script, and told him he would be doing his own stunts, which seemed like a nice challenge. Weaving also watched the Wachowskis’ directorial debut in the movie Bound and was impressed with it. That turned him around to playing the character and Agent Smith was born.
12. AGENT SMITH IS A VIRUS
In one of Agent Smith’s most famous scenes, he has Morpheus held captive in a government building and is talking to him while trying to extract information. At one point, Smith explains his theory about how to classify humans, and how he decided humans aren’t mammals. According to Smith, mammals achieve equilibrium with their environment, but humans just kept multiplying until they fill the entire ecosystem, more like a virus.
Yet if you think about it, Agent Smith became exactly what he accused human beings of.
In Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, we discovered Agent Smith had the power to turn almost anyone in the Matrix into a copy of himself. As an entity that could take over other life forms and turn them into copies of himself, Agent Smith became a virus. That’s just one of the many layers of a brilliant movie and great character.
11. AGENT SMITH IS THE MANY
What exactly was Agent Smith? You think you know the answer: an intelligent agent created by the Matrix to hunt down rogue humans, and ultimately went rogue to try to kill Neo. The real answer is more complex and was described by the Oracle when she said Agent Smith is Neo’s opposite, and that’s literally true.
There’s the obvious fact, which is that Neo is good and Agent Smith is evil. Whereas Neo’s goal is to save Zion and the humans inside the Matrix, Agent Smith’s goal was to destroy Zion and all humans. Whereas Neo was known as the One, Agent Smith (by copying himself onto others) became the Many. Neo wants to bring order while Smith wants only chaos. The two are a perfect balance and work against each other, while at the same time being two halves of the same whole.
10. AGENT SMITH WON
Even those who’ve seen the Matrix a thousand times may wonder how Neo manages to destroy Agent Smith and all his copies at the end of The Matrix Revolution. It’s not entirely spelled out, so let’s look at the facts and figure out the truth. In the final battle between Agent Smith and Neo, only one of Smith’s copies fights Neo to a standstill in a crater and finally absorbs Neo, but that causes them all to explode.
Throughout the movies, Agent Smith thought he was rebelling against his programming and without purpose.
In reality, Agent Smith was always about fulfilling his beloved purpose, which was about destroying the threat to the Matrix: Neo. When he achieved his goal, finally taking over Neo, the Machines sent a code through Neo to destroy Smith and all his duplicates. By fulfilling his purpose, Smith finally achieved his goal and was destroyed.
9. HE BECAME A BLACK SMITH
There’s a lot of symbolism in the Matrix trilogy, some of which is obvious and others more subtle. For instance, almost everything in the Matrix has a greenish color scheme and that’s one of the themes in the movie. At first, Agent Smith wore a dark green suit, like all the other Agents in the Matrix. However, once he was freed and became independent in The Matrix Reloaded, he wore a completely black suit.
Of course, there’s more to it than a change of color.
In The Matrix Reloaded, we see Smith’s car has a license plate number of IS5 416. This is a reference to the Biblical passage Isaiah 54:16, which reads “Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and produces a weapon for its purpose.” In other words, it’s about a blacksmith and Smith’s suit changed him into a black Smith.
8. ALWAYS MR. ANDERSON
In The Matrix, Neo’s “real name” is Thomas Anderson, and one of Agent’s Smith’s signatures is the drawn-out way he says Anderson’s name, “Mr. Anderson.” When he’s freed from the Matrix, everyone calls him Neo except Agent Smith who still refers to him as Mr. Anderson, even in the final battle between the two. In fact, Smith only calls him by his codename once in each movie.
The first time Smith calls him “Neo” was during the interview about Anderson’s double life. In The Matrix Reloaded, Smith refers to Anderson as Neo when he delivers the package containing his earplug. The third time came in The Matrix Revolutions in a package for Neo, when he says the prophecy, “Everything that has a beginning, has an end, Neo,” echoing the words of the Oracle.
7. WEAVING WAS HURT BADLY
One of the most revolutionary aspects of The Matrix is the way they approached the fight scenes. Up until The Matrix, most movies would cast martial artists as actors because they already had the fight training. The problem is that it’s hard to find martial artists who can act. Instead, the Wachowskis decided to cast actors and teach them martial arts.
It made the fights more real but it was hard on the actors, and Weaving was no exception.
On the first day of shooting The Matrix, Hugo Weaving hurt his leg and had to go through surgery. In another scene in the later movies, Weaving had to be yanked backward by a wire and hurt a disc in his back. That’s not even counting the many bruises and broken ribs he suffered during the fights requiring real contact.
6. AGENT SMITH’S VOICE
Agent Smith’s slow and methodical voice is one of the hallmarks of the character. Just the way he says things like “Mister Anderson” and “individual” are iconic. If you haven’t seen Weaving in interviews, you might think that’s his natural speaking voice, but you’d be wrong. In fact, he speaks in a higher voice with an Australian accent.
The voice was created by Weaving.
According to interviews, Weaving didn’t want Smith’s voice to be robotic like a machine but more like the flat monotone of a newsreader from the 1950s like Walter Cronkite. He also copied the deep voices of the Wachowskis themselves, and the clipped tones of a holographic character named Captain Hercule Platini in the British sitcom Red Dwarf. The combination of different influences created Smith’s memorable tones.
5. THE OTHER AGENT SMITH
In The Matrix Reloaded, one of the most shocking twists came when Agent Smith managed to take over Bane, a crew member of the Caduceus fighting for the Resistance. By assimilating Bane while in the process of transferring himself to the real world, Smith overwrote Bane’s human consciousness to enter his body and become real.
Smith was fascinated by his new body, and audiences were amazed as well, since Bane had the look and voice of Hugo Weaving down. It turns out the actor Ian Bliss so impressed the Wachowskis with his impression of Agent Smith that they hired him on the spot during the audition. Bliss did a great job and went on to play roles in movies like Superman Returns, and TV like 2010’s HBO miniseries The Pacific.
4. THE SMITH LIVED ON
The Matrix Revolutions wasn’t the end of the story. 2005’s MMO The Matrix Online had a storyline approved by the Wachowskis, billed as the official continuing story of the franchise. In the game, it was revealed that Agent Smith had not been completely destroyed at the end of Revolutions, but returned as a virus to infect others.
The first return of Agent Smith came when players found out some characters, like Agent Gray, had a version of Smith that survived the Matrix’s reboot. The Agent Smiths tried to wipe out Zion again but were stopped by the system and erased. Later, an unsuspecting human named Shane Black began converting others into Agent Smith but was killed shortly afterward. On the game’s third anniversary, an army of Agent Smiths began appearing. They were beaten but vowed to return. The game was shut down before that happened.
3. AGENT SMITH IS THE JOKER
In 2005, the Wachowskis wrote and directed The Matrix: Path of Neo, the first game that allowed players to take on the identity of Neo and play through the trilogy’s story. That game featured clips from the movies and new computer-generated scenes using voices from the original cast. One cast member who didn’t return was Hugo Weaving, but they found his replacement: Christopher Corey Smith.
Agent Smith was voiced by Christopher Corey Smith in Path of Neo. Christopher Smith has been a voiceover artist for years, and most notably voiced the Joker in videogames like Lego Batman 2 and Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite. He also worked as Molag Bal in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Rufus in Street Fighter.
2. AGENT SMITH WAS A REAL BOY
In The Matrix Reloaded, Agent Smith was able to take over the body of another agent of the Resistance codenamed Bane. This was the first known instance of an agent of the Matrix making the jump into the real world, and certainly the first time Smith entered a body made of flesh (or, as he put it, a “rotting piece of meat”). Like Pinocchio, Smith became a real boy… but didn’t enjoy it as much.
At one point, we saw Smith cutting himself with a knife, apparently just as a way to feel pain for the first time. Living was a new experience for him, and he took full advantage of the chance to sabotage the humans and Zion. Considering how much he hated humans, though, he was happier in the Matrix.
1. AGENT SMITH BECAME MEGA SMITH
In 2005’s The Matrix: Path of Neo, players were able to reenact and recreate the storyline from the Matrix Trilogy. Unlike most videogame adaptations, Path of Neo wasn’t just a rush job to capitalize on the movie. The Wachowskis worked closely with the game developers to make sure it captured the feel of the movie. More important, they authorized and wrote changes to the original flick. The biggest change came with the ending.
In the original movie, Neo sacrificed himself to destroy Agent Smith’s clones and end the war on Zion. In the video game, instead of blowing up, the multiple Smiths came together with building materials to form a gigantic version of Agent Smith that Neo fought and destroyed. The Wachowskis later said that the martyr ending worked for the movie but sucked for a video game. Good choice. Some moviegoers liked the game’s ending better as well.
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