How The Men in Black Universe Could Grow, According To Its Producer

Men in Black International

When Men In Black International opens later this summer, it will be the first time that the lead agents aren’t played by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The idea behind MiB always seemed bigger than the one that carried three movies, but it wasn’t until Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth slipped into the tuxedos for director F. Gary Gray that he producers began thinking of ways to expand this fascinating universe.

The bulk of the early Men In Black movies took place in New York City. The franchise will branch out globally in Men In Black International, with Tessa Thompson’s agent heading to London to team with Hemsworth’s alien tracker. We have been filing reports from the UK set of the upcoming blockbuster, but it was during a conversation with longtime producer Walter Parkes that he said the creative team has its eye on the future. Parkes told CinemaBlend:

We imply that we have [headquarters in] other places and in prior drafts of the script we did [see them. But in terms of effective storytelling, we just didn’t find a way to come about that. But, if the film’s successful, we’ll certainly be going to new headquarters throughout the world.

There’s no way that a secret organization tasked with exploring and containing alien activity could or should be contained to New York City. Naturally, one way to increase the scope of your story is to expand out to new international cities. This inspires storytellers to come up with new creatures that match the cities in which you want to set your action. Think about action sequences in Egypt at the Pyramids, or along the Great Wall of China. The possibilities are endless.

The way that Walter Parkes phrased it, Men In Black International is benefitting from the current evolution of franchise storytelling, which wasn’t nearly as powerful or cohesive when the first few Men In Black movies were happening. He went on to say:

What you say about the expansion of the cinematic universe is absolutely true. I think that’s one of the most exciting things about the last 15 years that these big [franchises] exist. And what excites me is that it’s expansion -- not so much in other movies, but in other media. You know, there’s digital expressions of this, and VR expressions of this... So I think you can build out the universe, even around this movie. And I think that’s very much what modern franchises do.

That’s a very exciting premise. Who wouldn’t want to play a Men In Black VR game, or interact with the series on social media in original ways? The possibilities are unlimited, so long as you were eager to get creative.

The latest trailer for F. Gary Gray’s Men In Black International certainly looks plenty creative:

And we will see if the new movie makes enough for the cast and crew to continue telling stories in this universe for years to come. The new movie drops on June 14. Are you planning on checking it out?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.