The original Men in Black is now older enough to buy alcohol, which is to say it’s old enough to be rebooted. The forthcoming blockbuster called, simply, MIB is technically a spin-off, which is to say it’s absent original stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (or even Josh Brolin, who played the younger Jones, complete with prosthetic ears, in Men in Black 3). Instead of Agents J and K, we’re getting Agents H and M, played by Thor alumni Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. MIB has been shooting since July, so it’s strange that we’re only now getting a look at what Thompson and Hemsworth look like as our new agents. Also notable is how it’s coming not as a glossy studio image but from the latter’s Instagram account.
Of course, what were we expecting? We know what they’re going to look like: They’re going to wear suits, with black ties. And so they are, minus the jackets.
When it arrives next summer, MIB might breathe new life into a franchise that never had quite the life it could have had. Both the Men in Black sequels with Smith and Jones made money, but they lacked the love of the dynamic from the 1997 film. Not only from critics; when was the last time you heard anyone talk about Men in Black II or Men in Black 3? (And yes, the series switched from roman numerals to digits mid-stride.)
MIB is due next June, and it features an entirely new cast, partly because it will hang in the shadowy government agency’s London branch, whose boss is Liam Neeson, not Rip Torn. Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, and Rebecca Ferguson will join them, as will, perhaps most excitingly of all, Emma Thompson, as a fellow agent.
For Thompson, meanwhile, MIB will be her latest step to taking over the world, which she’s presumably doing with Janelle Monáe. The ridiculously busy actress’ schedule also includes swinging back for Creed 2, voicing Lady in the Andrew Bujalski-written Lady and the Tramp reboot, and hopefully, at some point, reprising superhero Valkyrie in some future Marvel films.