Men in Black International Cast and Crew Reveal New Story Details

Say what you will about the sequels, but the original Men in Black became a modern sci-fi classic when it hit theaters in 1997. Part of its success was due to the witty banter between Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. And that’s why Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have big shoes to fill when they relaunch the series with this summer’s Men in Black International. Hemsworth, Thompson, and assorted crew members recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about what fans can expect from the franchise reboot.

According to EW, the film’s story kicks off with the murder of an alien diplomat on Agent H’s (Hemsworth) watch. This triggers speculation about a mole within MIB’s ranks. With this, H partners up with new recruit Agent M (Thompson) to find out who it is. As the trailer indicated, M (a.k.a. Molly) has been searching for the clandestine agency for two decades. As Thompson tells it, a mysterious event from her character’s past is what prompts her search. “The genesis of the whole thing is a young girl whose life had been altered by an encounter with Men in Black,” she said. “And the idea is that unlike Will [Smith] in the original films, she’s a protagonist who hasn’t been recruited but has found them.”

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Jones and Smith obviously won’t be reprising their famous roles as Agents K and J in Men in Black International. However, the movie is still set in the same universe as prior installments. This is evidenced by the appearance of other familiar faces like Emma Thompson’s Agent O and the caffeine-obsessed worm aliens. Director F. Gary Gray explained that the film plans to honor Jones and Smith’s legacy while expanding the series’ horizons. “We went into the project knowing the deep affection we and the fans have for Will and Tommy,” he said. “We’re not replacing them, simply adding to their team.”

Hemsworth himself views the new film as “a sort of reinvention, an opening up of the original franchise that aesthetically is a lot different. Like the geography of this one, we’re not just in New York — we’re in Istanbul, Italy, London.”

Beyond the international scope, producer Walter F. Parkes came up with another reason why the next entry will feel fresh. “I think the biggest difference [in this story] is that this time the enemy is within,” Parkes said. “MIB has been compromised from inside, which leads them on a globe-trotting adventure to discover the true nature of the threat.” We can also anticipate more uniquely designed extraterrestrials. Makeup designer Jeremy Woodhead estimated that he completed “somewhere between 400 and 500 individual sketches” during pre-production.

Men in Black International rockets into theaters on June 14. What are your thoughts on the series’ new direction so far? Let us know in the comment section below!