Back in 2012, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reunited for Men in Black 3 after a ten-year hiatus between sequels. But that may be Smith’s last appearance in the MiB franchise.
Men in Black producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald have confirmed that a new Men in Black trilogy is in active development at Sony and that Smith will most likely not be involved. Beyond that, nothing else is known about the planned series of films.
During last year’s Sony e-mail leaks, it was revealed that Sony was interested in crossing over the 21 Jump Street and Men in Black movies, but that project never came together. And it should be noted that Men in Black is severely underdeveloped as a franchise. The original MiB trilogy is enjoyable, but it left a lot of untapped potential in its first go-around.
Most fans probably don’t even realize that Men in Black is based on a comic book series by Lowell Cunningham and artist Sandy Carruthers that was first published in 1990. Marvel Comics currently owns the rights to the Men in Black comic, but the company hasn’t shown any interest in putting out any more MiB comic books since the first film came out in 1997.
If Parkes and MacDonald are looking for inspiration for the new Men in Black trilogy, the original comic book is a good place to start. Certain elements from the comic are extremely unlikely to be used again, like the blonde-haired white guy version of Agent Jay or Agent Kay’s willingness to murder witnesses who were unfortunate enough to encounter the strange and unusual (the films shortened the lead character’s names to Agent J and Agent K). The comic book also had a much bleaker tone than the movies.
The Men in Black comic also had a much broader world to play with. The first adventures of Jay and Kay included a demon summoned to Earth by a roleplaying game and a drug that could turn its users into superhuman monsters. Essentially, it was The X-Files before The X-Files. The comic also introduced Ecks, a former MiB agent who reinvented himself as a superhero and went rogue after discovering that the Men in Black organization was more interested in controlling the Earth than in protecting it. That would definitely be a plotline worth exploring in the new films.
Men in Black: The Series also did a good job of expanding the world of the film and it gave the franchise its best villain: Alpha, the former leader of the MiB who grafted alien body parts to his own in a bid for immortality and ultimate power. None of the villains in the MiB movies were even half as interesting as Alpha. If the new Men in Black trilogy needs an ongoing adversary, Alpha should definitely make the jump from animation to live-action.
However, the original Men in Black movie trilogy was responsible for a lot of the best parts of the franchise, including the expanded MiB organization and the supporting characters. Without the films, the Men in Black comic book would have been entirely forgotten.
MiB fans, what do you want to see in the new trilogy? Charge your neuralizers and share your thoughts below!
Image Credits: Sony Pictures/Marvel Comics