Why Men In Black’s Original Director Isn’t Returning For The Spinoff

Tommy Lee Jones Will Smith Men in Black

News that a fourth Men in Black movie is on the way may have been welcome news to fans, but in addition to it going forward without the original leads, it will need a brand new director. Barry Sonnenfeld directed Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in all three Men in Black films but he says he won't be back for the fourth one. The director says that the reason a fourth film never happened before is that he doesn't actually get along with the producers of the franchise. According to Sonnenfeld...

The producers and I don't really get along. It didn't seem like it was something any of us wanted to do.

Barry Sonnenfeld doesn't go into details about what the issues are between himself and the Men in Black producers but obviously, they're big enough that it makes the mere concept of working together less than exciting. At the end of the day, movies are made by people, and if those people don't work well together, it makes the entire process more difficult than it needs to be.

The Men in Black franchise has been dormant since Barry Sonnenfeld directed Men in Black 3 in 2012. There was an idea floating around for a while that would have seen the brand crossover with the 21 Jump Street films, but that idea appears dead and it has been replaced with a plan to spinoff Men in Black with a new movie that will exist in the same continuity as the original trilogy, but star a new cast of characters, looking to be led by Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson.

For what it's worth, Barry Sonnenfeld clearly has fond memories of directing the three Men in Black movies, regardless of what issues he may have had behind the scenes, but he tells Insider that he, along with both Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, just reached a point after the third film where they were done with the franchise and just wanted to do other things.

After Men in Black 3, it was pretty clear that Will and Tommy and I had sort of decided we didn't want to do any more of those. It was a lot of fun. And I loved working with Will and Tommy. But they worked too hard and too long. We all just wanted to move on.

The new Men in Black spinoff is set to be directed by F. Gary Gray, who previously directed Be Cool, the sequel to Get Shorty, that had also been directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. The new film already has a June 2019 release date, so it certainly looks like this one is moving full speed ahead. Keep reading CinemaBlend for more news on the new Men in Black as it develops.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.