The first question that anybody asks when a movie reboot is announced is "Why?" Regarding the upcoming Men in Black reboot, Tessa Thompson has an answer. The actress is the first to agree that rebooting a franchise should only happen for a good reason, and she feels that putting a woman front and center, specifically a woman of color, in the franchise is a plenty good reason. Thompson spoke to CinemaBlend's own Mike Reyes recently while promoting her role in the upcoming Creed II and she told him...
I had so much fun making the movie, and I think if you're going to reboot something, if you're going to borrow from a franchise, then you'd better have a good reason to do it, and I think we did. It's exciting to have a lead agent be a woman, a woman of color, and I feel real proud that it got to be me.
The name of the franchise, and the comic book that inspired it is, Men in Black and that was certainly the case in the original trilogy. Pretty much all of the characters of any real importance were dudes. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (and his younger iteration from Men in Black III played by Josh Brolin) were the main characters and we rarely saw agents that weren't men.
There were a few exceptions of course. At the end of the original Men in Black Linda Fiorentino becomes an agent, but we never see her again. In Men in Black III Emma Thompson (and Alice Eve thanks to the film's time travel storyline) played Agent O, who will reportedly be back for this new movie. However, neither of them were lead agent characters and while both were women, Tessa Thompson is still the first woman of color to take a major role in the franchise.
While diversity is important for its own sake, the fact is that it also does have a significant impact on any story. Actors bring their own perspectives to any role they play, so making a woman of color a lead in a movie changes a great deal more than simply the way a movie looks. We can expect a significantly different Men in Black movie with the new entry and that makes the film worth making.
Alongside her will be her Thor: Ragnarok co-star Chris Hemsworth as her partner along with an all-star cast that includes Liam Neeson among others. While the new film is being called a reboot, it's more of a spinoff, as it appears the film will take place within the same universe as the previous three films, it will simply focus on someplace else. Instead of being all about the New York City division of MIB, Thompson and Hemsworth will work out of the London office.
The as yet officially untitled Men in Black movie will be here next summer, so we can expect to get our first look via a trailer any time now.