Men in Black 3(D) outperformed its predecessors at the worldwide box office, but it didn’t exactly leave the door wide open for a fourth installment. The story involved Agent J (Will Smith) chasing a biker thug extraterrestrial back in time to the year 1969, in order to prevent him from killing 29-year old Agent K (Josh Brolin) before he grows up to be Tommy Lee Jones. By the end, J has learned the hard truth about his partner’s impersonal ways, and (back in the present) the pair’s friendship then became all the stronger for it.
“I think three is enough for me. Three of anything is enough for me. We’ll look at it and we’ll consider it, but it feels like that it might be time to let someone else do that.”
Smith, over the past couple years, has grown increasingly wary of being pigeon-holed as (to quote him) “the sequel guy,” which explains why he’s not planning to revisit his previous blockbuster playgrounds – with the gestating I Am Legend 2 and dual Independence Day installments - should they ever happen, that is. Men in Black 3 was the exception to the rule, because Smith came up with the idea for the story – where time-travel is a plot device used to bring emotional closure to J and K’s relationship – during filming on Men in Black 2 over a decade ago now (according to MIB trilogy director Barry Sonnenfeld).
Sony/Columbia Pictures has taken the first steps towards making a fourth Men in Black installment, and has screenwriter Oren Uziel – who is also rewriting the 21 Jump Street sequel – assigned to scripting duties. The consensus among our editors on the Screen Rant Underground Podcast lines up with Smith’s comments: that Men in Black 4 – if it happens – should take the form of a reboot, where the proverbial torch gets passed to a younger generation of actors (for more on that subject, listen to the SRU’s Men in Black 3 episode).
Collider asked Smith about the possibility of his son Jaden – Big Will’s costar in The Pursuit of Happyness and After Earth – being up for the job. The actor’s reply:
“If they were interested in that – that’s not something that I’m pushing for, or I don’t even know if Jaden is interested, but we’re open.”
The debate about Jaden taking over any of his dad’s popular franchises is a testy one, especially since the discussion tends to quickly veer away from the focus – and onto issues concerning nepotism in Hollywood (and showbiz parents bringing their kids into the limelight). However, the pertinent question is whether or not Jaden has the same natural screen presence as his father – based on his lead performances in The Karate Kid remake and After Earth (read our review for insight on that) – and can help to carry the Men in Black franchise into the future.
If Jaden’s interested in (semi-literally) following in his father’s footsteps, then it would probably make more sense for him to assume the lead in something like Independence Day 2 - he could easily portray Captain Steven Hiller’s biological son (born after events in the first movie) – rather than explain how his character looks like Agent J’s son and has never been mentioned before. (That would be based on the assumption that Uziel’s script doesn’t abuse the neuralizer-as-plot-device gimmick even more than it already has been in the first two MIB sequels.)
Similarly, Men in Black 4 seems to call for a re-modeling approach similar to that which – by most accounts – would be used in Ghostbusters 3 (assuming it ever becomes more than Dan Aykroyd’s pipe dream): have the older Men in Black train a new band of alien-fighting agents – like Jones did with Smith in the first movie – and thus, allow the original stars to complete the circle. If it worked for Star Trek and (fingers crossed) may work again for Star Wars: Episode VII, then perhaps third time will be the charm (as far as it working for Men in Black).
Do you want Will Smith to pass the baton in Men in Black 4 – or would you rather the door be shut on this sci-fi franchise? Be sure and let us know what you think in the comments section!