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Will Smith was a growing force during the late 1990s following a successful collaboration with Michael Bay with Bad Boys and his show-stealing performance in Independence Day. As his popularity grew with hits such as Men in Black, so did the abundance of potential roles available to him.
At the height of his popularity, he was offered the starring role in the Wachowski siblings' sci-fi flick, #TheMatrix. However, Smith famously turned down the opportunity to play Neo, and instead opted to star in his Men In Black-director's action-comedy, Wild Wild West.
As you may remember, Wild Wild West ended up disappointing at the box office, while The Matrix went on to gross over $463 million.
The Wachowski's sci-fi flick is now solidified in film history, and it's hard to imagine anybody playing Neo other than Keanu Reeves, who has become synonymous with the performance. Nobody can pull off a "whoa" like Reeves, but it's always nice to wonder what The Matrix would have looked with with Will Smith in the leading role.
Smith is a brilliant actor, and he would have brought his own charisma to the role of 'the One'. This fun casting factoid has floated around throughout the years, and we now have our first look at Will Smith as Neo, courtesy of a ridiculously talented fan.
All Hail 'The Unusual Suspect'!
The Unusual Suspect has made a name for himself by creating awesome mashups, and his latest trailer is a two and a half minute trailer for The Matrix featuring Smith as Neo.
In order for this to be possible, the Youtuber utilizes various clips from Smith's filmography, including Men In Black and I Am Legend, and intricately splices them into The Matrix to form a cohesive trailer.
See The Mashup Trailer Below:
Could Smith Appear In A Future 'Matrix' Reboot?
Will might have missed out on his opportunity to be a part of the Matrix franchise, but at least there was one member of the Smith household who joined the sci-fi saga! His wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, appeared as Niobe for the two latter installments of the trilogy, Reloaded and Revelations, and earned an NAACP Image Award nomination in 2004 for her portrayal.
The movie trilogy earned a combined $1 billion worldwide at the box office and developed into a massive franchise that includes comics, video games and the wildly popular collection of animated shorts, Animatrix.
With recent news of a potential return to The Matrix universe for a fourth installment, could this be the perfect opportunity for audiences to finally see Will Smith in the beloved franchise?
Smith once stated he would have "absolutely messed up The Matrix", and praised Reeves' performance. Whether we will see a return to the live-action Matrix universe or Smith's involvement in it is much too early to tell, but it's unbelievably enjoyable to see mash-ups from the likes of The Usual Suspect in the meantime.