Barry Sonnenfeld Talks ‘Men in Black 3′ Ending & Reboot Potential

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men black 3 trilogy reboot Barry Sonnenfeld Talks Men in Black 3 Ending & Reboot Potential

Buzz around the upcoming Men in Black III has improved in recent months – thanks to the release of an overall decent full-length trailer, coupled with the promise of both new inspired celebrity “alien” cameos and imaginative extraterrestrials designed by makeup/effects icon, Rick Baker. Hence, there’s been more reason to suspect that MIB 3 could both rake in lots of dough and leave moviegoers wanting… well, Men in Black IV, basically.

In a recent promotional interview for the sci-fi comic book movie threequel, MIB franchise director Barry Sonnenfeld addressed many a topic of interest concerning Men in Black III – including, the much-publicized tumultuous development process for the film (which he describes as the most “emotional” of the trilogy) and how MIB 3 serves as a fitting finale for the series… while also leaving the door open for a (dare we say it) reboot.

Here is Sonnenfeld revealing the history behind the time-travel storyline for Men in Black III (via MTV):

“I think the important thing is to have a new, different story to tell. We didn’t want another regular caper where some alien just comes down to threaten Earth, and the Men in Black have to solve it. The big idea — and it was actually Will’s idea, while we were shooting ‘Men in Black 2′ one night for an exterior shot. He said to me, ‘Barry, for ‘Men in Black 3,’ Agent J needs to go back in time to save Tommy Lee Jones’ [character] from some event that’s happened decades earlier. He needs to learn something about Tommy’s character that he didn’t know before.’ That was the genesis. Ten years later, we’re about to come out and show the world what that meant.”

Sonnenfeld goes on to offer a description (with MILD SPOILERS) of the first act in Men in Black III – the end result of which is Agent J heading back to 1969, where he meets up with a younger Agent K (Josh Brolin) – which you can read by checking out the full MTV article. However, he sums it up with the following statement about the ending.

“… The second and third act is all about tracking down [the villain Boris, played by Jemaine Clement] and [J] renewing his friendship with a different K than the K he knows from 40 years in the future. What’s really cool is that J is constantly wondering why this guy who seems sort of open and happy became the sort of curmudgeon that has been his partner for the last 14 years. He makes a discovery about that. So, “Men in Black 3″ is by far the most emotional of the movies. It has a really surprising ending.”

It’s interesting (if not entirely encouraging) to learn that the third MIB flick was actually envisioned as a timeline-disrupting adventure from the get-go, considering how such story elements tend to be incorporated into franchises only by the time they’re either in need of a shakeup (Star Trek) or have seemingly run out of gas otherwise (Shrek). Still, the promise that MIB 3 will offer some closure for longtime fans of the series – that’s certainly welcome.

men black 3 trailer josh brolin Barry Sonnenfeld Talks Men in Black 3 Ending & Reboot Potential

With regards to the documented strenuous task that was bringing Men in Black III to cinematic life, Sonnenfeld said:

“First of all, I don’t know that I’ve ever been on a shoot that wasn’t stressful for the director. I think all movies are stressful in different ways. What was reported on this one was that we took a several-months hiatus to work on the script. As it relates to that, that concept was built into the shooting schedule. We wanted the next movie Will Smith was in after a long time where he wasn’t in movies to be “Men in Black 3.” We also wanted to shoot in New York, which had a tax incentive that was about to expire. It didn’t expire, but we didn’t know it wasn’t going to expire, because New York state legislature had to vote it in again, and we weren’t sure that was going to happen. So we started the movie with a full script and with a really great first act — but the second and third needed work. We built in a two-month hiatus so we could continue working on the script and not need an eight-week reshoot. So that’s what we did. The truth is, the great thing about the movie, is that there was no stress between myself and any of the actors. We all got along very well. You don’t ever want a director and a movie star who see two different movies. But we all were working with the same ideas in mind. We knew the characters, we knew the history, and we were very much in sync.”

That’s a somewhat more diplomatic (and wordy) response than Sonnenfeld’s previous comments on the MIB 3 production process – wherein he admitted that the approach could either be “genius… [or] a really stupid idea,” depending on how the final product turns out. Seeing how the director is coming off what many people feel was a weak second installment in the MIB series, the idea that Sonnenfeld and his crew would intentionally take such a roundabout approach to making Part 3 does raises some concern.

On the other hand, it’s a well-established rule in Hollywood that some of the best movies are those that result from pretty hectic (if not downright crazy) production processes - so MIB 3 certainly has that working in its favor.

men black 3 will smith josh brolin Barry Sonnenfeld Talks Men in Black 3 Ending & Reboot Potential

In summation, it’s best to keep all that in mind while you read Sonnenfeld’s concluding assurance that Men in Black III aims to pull double-duty as a fitting trilogy finale and a rebirth of the series:

“The fantastic thing about ‘Men in Black 3′ is that it totally closes out the trilogy, it answers questions that you didn’t even know you should be asking, it leaves you emotionally warm and sad and happy, and it could also reboot the franchise. But I can’t even begin to tell you how to interpret all of that. [Laughs] But I would say this: If your interpretation is that ‘Men in Black 4′ will only star the worm guys and Frank the pug, you are wrong.”

We will find out for certain if the Men in Black will go on to fight another day – or finally head into retirement – when Men in Black III opens in theaters (2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D) around the U.S. on May 25th, 2012.


Source: MTV

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  1. I know I am in the minority in saying this, but MIB3 is the movie I am most anticipating this summer. (Sorry superheroes.) These movies have always been fun and entertaining popcorn flicks to me and I really enjoy the chemistry between Jones and Smith. My only regret with this film is that they didn’t do a makeup job on Jones so he could play his younger self like they did in the flashback sequence in part two. However, it does look like Josh Brolin has him down pat and hopefully the chemistry will resonate between him and Smith as well. All things considered this looks to be the most fun at the cinemas this summer.

    • I wouldn’t say I have been anticipating this the most this year (Prometheus took that spot) but I have been waiting for MIB3 since MIB2 ended!

  2. So far I’m not sold on this movie but i have hope because the franchise has always been very clever and well written, not to mention solid in the art department. -Every time I hear the word Reboot I cringe.

  3. MIIIB is in the top 10 for me. and I liked the MIB 2. though i do agree it was weaker than the first. and short. so as long as the third is as good as the second ill be happy. if its better, great!! which i hope it is!

    • Seriously Draagyn, how much is the studio paying you and DaveP? Top 10 movie? REALLY? Have you only seen 10 movies in your life? What other above-average but not that great films populate your list? Commando? Romeo Must Die? A Bug’s Life? Close Encounters of the Third Kind?

      I really enjoyed the first MIB, but the second was an unmitigated disaster (why do you think it took so long to get Part 3 off the ground?). I am a bit puzzled by the idea that the trailer was “decent” (if the goldfish flushing and references to pot by a guy who doesn’t have 1/10 the charisma of the Tony Shalloub character he is ripping off are the funniest things the film has to offer, we are in a world in trouble). On opening weekend, I will glady pop in and rewatch my MIB DVD, while I keep my hard-earned money for an ill-fated sequel in my pocket.

      • All bow before the supreme arbiter of great movies… some random guy on the Internet. Hey, they don’t let just anyone on the Internet, after all. And top ten movie lists are 100% objective. Yep, no one could possibly have a different opinion… or be allowed to. Such a path leads to… mature discussion and debate. And who wants to see that? *rolls eyes*

        Eesh, I thought the second movie was a crapfest, but I’m not gonna begrudge anyone for liking it or putting the first movie in their top ten. Who is anybody to protest anyone’s OPINIONS?

        • That’s right SpideyTerry, opinions are all mighty and how dare I deign to challenge them. Thanks to free speech, we can respond to other people’s opinion in debate. Draagon put out his opinion, and in MY opinion, he is insane to say MIB is a top 10 film. You put it out on the internet, be prepared for both negative and positive responses.

          Also, nowhere did I claim to be the end-all be-all authority of films (though I honestly would love to be the arbiter of film). I personally have done everything in my power to stop anybody from seeing the Transformers films – some of the worst films ever committed to celluloid – and as you can see, my endeavors have had virtually no effect at all.

          The fact remains that it is hard to believe that anybody would put MIB in a top-10 movies of all time list – at least without any explanation of some other subjective reason (i.e. first film I saw with a significant other, first film I sa without parents, etc.). I mean I dont even think it could arguably be a top-10 sci-fi film.

          I actually really like Men in Black, it is a fun and inventive film and as mentioned, I even own it on TV. That being said, I just find it really hard to believe that it merits any mention in anybody’s top-10 list. For example, I love/own the movie Freddy vs. Jason, but I would never place it in a top-10 list. There is a whole world of film out there that is far better, funnier, thrilling, and i would hope that people see them.

          Anyways, I am more incredulous that people see sequels simply since they enjoyed another film in the series. I will never own Indiana Jones 4, no matter how much I like the first three. I will never own/revisit the first four Fast and Furious films just because I like the first. Each entry should be judged on its own merits, and MIB II (and seemingly III) are not good enough for me to see just because I enjoy the First.

          • Also, I meant the Fifth Fast and Furious

            Lastly, you imply that because I am a random internet person my opinion is less valid. So, if I were Roger Ebert, would I suddenly have the authority to trump Draagyn’s opinion? What if I was President Obama? All opinions have equal worth. Obviously you side with his, and not mine, but that doesn’t make my statements any less valid.

            • I wasn’t going to comment any further, however, I think what is being said is being taken out of context. I think Draagyn is saying that MIB3 is in his top ten movies for this summer to see. Basically since he is refering to the third film since there is a placement of three I’s instead of the one. (MIIIB I would assume translates into MIB3)

              Anyway, as for me, all I ask from a film is that I be entertained by it, and these films do the job. I will agree that part two was simply a rehash of the first film with Smith bringing Jones back into the fold, but there were enough differences to where I didn’t feel like I was watching the same film such as Home Alone II and Hangover II.

              I honestly wouldn’t put any of the MIB’s in my top 10, but I am sure I do have films in my top 10 some would disagree with. As I am sure people would probably disagree on some of the films in your top ten list as well. And of course it’s open to debate, but it’s all in the way you go about it. To ridicule someone’s character for their likes and dislikes only weakens the point you are trying to relay because it is viewed as an attack. There are better ways to get your point across without insulting some’s interest.

              • Typo: I meant someone’s interests.

  4. Im sold on this movie for the mere fact its men in black. The other men in black movies were just amazing, and this one will be great too!

  5. I’m calling it now that agent k’s wife didn’t leave him but really died by the hand of an alien race hence why he’s all cranky and junk.

    • or the usual time paradox where J dies trying to save K in the past, and then in the future he personally enlist his savior in the agency. full circle.

  6. meh, 10+ years after the ho-hum sequel…cant say im all that thrilled, honestly.

  7. Jay is sooooo gonnna die. It would make sense that Kay would emotionally detach himself in the first movies from Wills character.

  8. i liked the “MIIIB” thing.

  9. perhaps Edgar the Bug from The Men in Black, gets avenged by his Father Edward [just assuming] and his Sister Elise as starred by Robert Di niro and Selma Blair by imprisoning Agent K in a High Voltage Electrical Cage above a Volcano. but there is one problem Agent J [Will Smith] is still not caught and he teams up with Agents AA and W from Men in Black 3 who are transported to the 21 century New York by Agent O to help J to save his partner and quite possibly the Earth from Edward Edgar’s father and Edgar’s Sister Elise who like Edger are Alien Bugs but they will fight to the very end of their lives to avenge Edgar and risk their lives if they need to and kill anyone who intervenes if they must. then add the Stereotypical Humor to go with the Sc fi action of The Men in Black Film Franchise. and you get Men in Black 4 The Avenging. But this is not Real Just an Idea of a Film idea if u are Curious. if interested free to read it.