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7 Ways to Get the New MEN IN BLACK Movie Right

After years of false starts and a 21 Jump Street crossover that never materialized, Sony’s Men in Black franchise is heading back to the big screen. The Fate of the Furious director F. Gary Gray is in talks to helm the relaunch, with Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Entertainment producing the script by Matt Holloway and Art Marcum.

At the moment, it appears that neither Will Smith nor Tommy Lee Jones will be back for the Men in Black relaunch, which is reportedly not a reboot. Instead, it will likely take the Jurassic World approach of maintaining the world of the original films while introducing a brand new cast of characters.

Unlike many comic book adaptations, there aren’t a lot of stories for the new Men in Black movie to draw upon. MIB writer and creator Lowell Cunningham and artist Sandy Carruthers only produced a handful of issues of the comic, and there hasn’t been a new story published in over 20 years. Fans of the movies would also have a hard time recognizing the Men in Black of the comic, which had a much darker and bleaker take on the premise and characters.

However, the animated Men in Black: The Series could prove to be very useful for Gray and the screenwriters as they prepare for this relaunch. That show not only captured the tone of the movies, it also laid out the ways that the franchise can continue to grow. Even the Men in Black comic can offer a few tips, as you’ll soon see in our list of friendly suggestions for the filmmakers.

Expand the Cast

One the biggest failings of Men in Black II was its laser focus on Agents J and K. After the entire first film set up Linda Fiorentino’s L to become an agent, she was only briefly mentioned in the sequel and written out of the franchise. But on the television series, L went on to become a major player within the MIB organization. The show also debuted Agent X and other characters that helped flesh out the organization beyond J and K. Now that Smith and Jones are essentially off of the stage, the next generation of MIB characters can’t be dependent on any single character or duo. Fortunately, this movie has the perfect premise to deal with the high turnover and the recruitment of new agents.

Explore the Larger (and Smaller) Worlds Beyond Planet Earth

Men in Black: The Series rarely ventured off-world, but it did establish the MIB’s ties across the galaxy. There’s a big universe out there waiting to be explored, and that’s not even counting the worlds within worlds depicted in the first two Men in Black films. As much as we love seeing the MIB in NYC, some of these stories could be more exciting if the agents have to go outside of their jurisdiction, even if that means leaving the planet for an intergalactic adventure.

Introduce Alpha

The villains were sadly lacking in the Men in Black trilogy. Almost all of them were funny, especially Vincent D’Onofrio’s Edgar the Bug, but they were also pretty hard to accept as serious bad guys. That’s where Alpha comes in. Men in Black: The Series created a perfect villain for this franchise. Alpha was K’s former mentor in the MiB who turned against the agents in his bid for immortality and power. Alpha even grafted alien and cybernetic parts to his body to stay alive and destroy his former friends. He made the stakes personal for J and K while presenting a legitimate threat to the safety of the world. That’s the mark of a great villain, Alpha could easily make the transition to live-action for the relaunch.

Bring in More Human Enemies

Not even the Men in Black can neuralize everyone, and all of the aliens living on Earth have not gone unnoticed. Men in Black: The Series debuted a very human foe who attempted to destroy the MIB through time travel just to keep the aliens from living peacefully on our planet… that seems like a very timely theme right about now. Bringing in human adversaries also complicates things for the agents by giving them foes that they can’t simply vanquish. Confronting hatred is never easy, even in this universe. But it can make for compelling stories.

Broaden the Mandate Beyond Aliens

One of the best things about the Men in Black comics is that the organization wasn’t strictly limited to policing or eliminating aliens on Earth. They also took on supernatural threats like vampires, demons, werewolves, mutants, zombies, and other creatures of myth and legend. Even more down-to-Earth conspiracy theories were within their purview. There’s a lot of room to expand the MIB beyond aliens, and it would go a long way towards giving this franchise a new sense of direction.

Embrace the Paranoia

Agent Ecks did not make the leap from the comics to either the films or the TV series, but that should definitely change for this relaunch. Unlike J and K, Ecks turned on the MIB organization when he realized that they were out to control the world instead of simply protecting it. Ecks’ paranoia was justified, and that would be an intriguing angle for the relaunch to explore. On a related note, the comic also gave J a much more contentious relationship with K, since he didn’t trust his partner or their superiors. The MIB organization could easily have more shades of grey and moral ambiguity, and that would open up even more possibilities for the future.

Keep J and K Involved in Some Capacity

Although neither Smith nor Jones are likely to return, J and K are far too important to the MIB movie franchise to simply abandon them. Even if J and K have become two of the off-screen leaders of the organization, it would still serve as a thematic tie to the original films. That said, we’ve got an idea that could keep both agents in play as field agents. If K were to undergo an alien rejuvenation treatment, perhaps he might come out looking a lot like Josh Brolin from Men in Black 3. If J did the same thing, it could be amusing if he was suddenly played by Jaden Smith instead of his father (though we’re open to other young actors filling in for the senior Smith). We’re on board with anything that keeps J and K in play.

What do you want to see in the Men in Black relaunch film? Share your thoughts in the comment section below! Then we’ll neuralize you!

Images: Sony/Marvel

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