Liam Neeson will use his particular set of skills to monitor and regulate extraterrestrial activity on earth in Sony's upcoming Men in Black spinoff. The Men in Black franchise has been in a holding pattern since Men in Black III hit theaters in 2012, with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith yet again reprising their roles as Agents K(ay) and J(ay). Sony toyed with the idea of crossing over the zany comic book-based series with the equally wacky Jump Street movies at one point, before ultimately deciding to move forward with a spinoff (or, depending on how you look at it, reboot) instead.
The Men in Black spinoff doesn't have an official title just yet, but it does have a director - Straight Outta Compton and Fate of the Furious' F. Gary Gray - along with a pair of writers (Iron Man's Matt Holloway and Art Marcum) and two leads, in the forms of Thor: Ragnarok costars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. It was previously reported that Sony was casting an older actor to round out the film's main MIB agent crew with Hemsworth and Thompson - and now, the studio has found just that in Neeson.
THR is reporting that Neeson has signed on to costar in the Men In Black spinoff as the head of the MIB organization's base in London, which is where the film's story begins. Hemsworth previously indicated that London might not be the only setting in what he promises will be an "epic and fun" Men in Black movie, teasing that the film will visit "different countries [and] cities" not seen in previous MIB adventures. For the time being, however, London appears to be the only confirmed backdrop for the Men in Black's next big screen mission.
By joining the Men in Black spinoff, Neeson has added yet another noteworthy item to his ever growing collection of franchise roles. He's already costarred in the Star Wars movies, played a Batman villain, lent his voice to an animated LEGO figure and a talking lion from Narnia, and was even Zeus himself in the Clash of the Titans movies. That's not to say he's given up on one-off projects either; far from it, Neeson has roles in Steve McQueen's heist thriller Widows and the Coen Brothers' Netflix western anthology series The Ballad of Buster Scruggs on the horizon, among other things.
With Neeson filling out its A-list main cast and a talented mainstream director in Gray behind the camera, the Men in Black spinoff sounds far more promising than some might have expected. It helps that the movie isn't a hard reboot of the MIB films that features new iterations of characters that Rip Torn (American MIB boss Zed in the previous films), Jones, and Smith so memorably brought to life before. If Sony's lucky, the film may even follow in the footsteps of another reboot/spinoff - the studio's own Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - and give the aging MIB franchise a new lease on life.
- Men in Black International (2019) release date: Jun 14, 2019