For the Men In Black franchise to have only really featured male leads up until this point is not entirely surprising. I mean the clue is right there in the name. But it looks like times they are a-changing.
While chatting with BBC’s Newsbeat (via /Film), franchise producer Laurie MacDonald revealed that the upcoming fourth film will be taking a cue from so many recent Hollywood productions and that there will be “a prominent woman in black in the fourth [film].” So will that now make the title Man and Woman in Black, Persons In Black? C’mon, somebody help me out the proper PC term here!
Of course, this isn’t the first time the franchise introduced a “Woman In Black”, as Linda Fiorentino’s Laurel Weaver was setup right at the very end of MIB 1 as a new partner for Will Smith’s J after Tommy Lee Jones’ K retired. Of course, we never actually got to see how that partnership played out as MIB 2 decided to rather stick to a tried and tested formula and had J pull K out of retirement again.
McDonald’s co-producer and husband Walter Parkes elaborated on why that status quo shakeup was never explored and why they are doing it now.
“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.”
And naturally it helps that the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road‘s Furiosa and Paul Feig’s upcoming all-female Ghostbusters reboot are blazing a trail that shows that females can lead genre films too, and kick ass while doing it. And Men In Black 4 could be a solid vehicle to continue that long overdue transformation.
A transformation that may still have a very familiar face though. The last time McDonald and Parkes spoke about the upcoming movie, it looked as if Will Smith was not going to be returning – not surprising seeing as how he also balked at reprising his role the upcoming Independence Day sequel (and also dodged Bad Bays III for years). But that was much earlier in the development, before any proper plans were being developed. Now, Parkes says, you should “Never count Will out.”
Last Updated: November 27, 2015