Three years ago, Sony injected a new lease of life into its dormant Men in Black series with a threequel, welcoming back both Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as Agent J and Agent K, respectively. Though a worldwide box office haul of $600 million paints the follow-up as a success on paper, fans and critics were less than impressed, and today brings word of the studio pulling out the trusty neuralizer to wipe away any memory of the 2012 sequel.
That’s because Laurie MacDonald and producing partner Walter Parkes – the creative minds engineering a Men in Black 4 – are keen to reinvent the cult action serious with a new installment, one which may feature “a prominent woman in black in the fourth [film].” Could we be seeing the return of Agent L?
Plans for the next chapter in the sci-fi universe are, as one would imagine, still very much in the early stages. However, while reports had initially ruled him out of a return, MacDonald acknowledged that Will Smith could still have a part to play in the rebooted vision, revealing that we should “never count Will out.” As for the general pitch behind the tentatively titled Men in Black 4, MacDonald stated the following:
We sort of looked at the first three in retrospect as a bit of a trilogy. We tried to tell a story about those two characters and that relationship, It sounds silly because it’s a fun, science fiction comedy but when you work on these things you sort of try to find some thematic basis underneath it. Now we are looking at a reinvention, but it’s a wonderful world to get back into.
It’s certainly welcome news that MacDonald and Parkes are angling the next installment as a change of pace, not least because of its female lead. Even still, there was a nary a mention of Sony Pictures’ mooted Men in Black/Jump Street crossover, which would have seen Chris Lord and Phil Miller parody nine kinds of cinematic universes. That doesn’t necessarily mean that said crossover is cancelled; rather, it appears to have slipped down the pecking order in favor of a female-led Men in Black 4.