It just goes to show that you can never truly know what to expect from Neil Patrick Harris…

The 48-year-old American actor, singer, and multi-talent is arguably best known for his TV work as the titular character on Doogie Howser, M.D. and Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother.

While he’s most often associated with comedy, back in 2014 he was cast against type in David Fincher’s critically acclaimed Gone Girl. He tackled the role of Desi Collings, Amy’s (Rosamund Pike) rich ex-boyfriend.

Audiences were treated to him unlocking a sinister and eerie side, which is on full display in his latest part in The Matrix Resurrections.

Fans of Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s 1999 sci-fi classic and its sequels were recently given a glimpse of the fourth installment in the franchise and to say that viewers have a lot of questions would be an understatement.

It’s exciting to see that Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are reprising the iconic roles of Neo and Trinity, respectively. However, there are a host of intriguing new additions that the internet is obsessing over right now.

Neil is certainly amongst them, and an inevitable fan theory has emerged from the footage…

Warner Bros.

Is Neil Patrick Harris playing Agent Smith in The Matrix Resurrections?

In the original trilogy, the villainous Agent Smith is portrayed by Hugo Weaving. Although the antagonist’s fate appeared to be sealed at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, a continuation of the film series suggests we may see a return.

While it’s possible, it’s important to address that Hugo Weaving said last year that he would not be reprising the part. He attended a read-through and went on to accept, explaining: “Ultimately, we talked about it and, when the offer came through to do it from Warner’s, I said yes the next day and I talked to Lana.”

However, he was starring in a National Theatre production of The Visit which posed scheduling conflicts:

“Lana decided she didn’t think it was going to work. So, she pulled the plug on the negotiations. That’s where it ended up. She basically didn’t feel that my commitment to the National Theatre was going to fit in with the dates that she had in mind for me. It was a shame in one way that I couldn’t be with them all in Berlin, but that was her call.”

With this in mind, we could see the part recast, and the trailer has some under the suspicion that Neil Patrick Harris could be the one in the role.

Agent Smith isn’t explicitly featured in the trailer, despite Daniel Bernhardt’s upgraded Agent Johnson appearing. But, Johnson’s presence suggests that Smith’s importance in the film isn’t worth ruling out.

We’re introduced to Neil’s character as Thomas Anderson’s (Keanu Reeves) therapist, or at least that’s how it initially appears. Throughout the trailer we’re led to believe that he has Thomas dosed up on blue pills, which alludes to Neo’s choice in the original film; take the red pill and venture deeper down the rabbit hole or remain trapped and take the blue pill.

The flashes of Neil’s performance possess an unsettling quality and the juxtaposition of subdued intensity feels akin to Hugo’s performance. There’s clearly not something right with him, and his true identity as an Agent would be a brilliant reveal.

The Matrix Resurrections | Official Trailer

The Matrix Resurrections | Official Trailer

“There’s no way…”

A number of The Matrix fans have wasted no time in reacting to Neil’s franchise entrance, offering thoughts and theories on Twitter.

Check out a selection of tweets:

Could it be Jonathan Groff?

Sure, Neil as Agent Smith fan theories could be proven correct in due time, but ScreenRant also suggests that the character could be played by Jonathan Groff.

Indeed, they include that fans have thought this to potentially be the case for a while now, and there are scenes in the trailer which have reinforced beliefs.

For example, one shot appears to show the actor’s character standing over Neo, holding a gun, and obscured by the downpour of rain. The imagery is reminiscent of shots involving Neo and Smith in the trilogy.

Again, he then has a line about going “back to the Matrix,” which brings to mind an exchange Smith once shared with Morpheus.

We likely won’t know for sure until the movie arrives, but one thing’s for sure: that trailer has us damn excited.

The Matrix Resurrections arrives on Wednesday, December 22nd 2021.

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