They are a rumor, recognized only as deja vu and dismissed just as quickly. They are the Men In Black, an organization specializing in protecting the identities of and defending the earth from extraterrestrials. This June, the MIB will return in Men In Black: International, the fourth entry of the franchise once headlined by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. Thor and Valkyrie fighting aliens - yeah, that checks out.
What we are most excited to see in F. Gary Gray's reboot of the science fiction and comedy hit is what every Men In Black sequel does best: give us some new otherworldly creatures to gush over, if you find aliens particularly gush-worthy. The thing is, creating new aliens that are just as memorable as what the franchise has already introduced is going to be a challenge, as the creatures we have already been introduced to have been nothing short of unforgettable. But which creatures holds the most lasting memories with Men In Black fans?
We take a look back at 1997's Men In Black, its two sequels, and even a few references to its animated series, and rank the top 10 biggest, baddest, funniest, and most iconic aliens in the universe.
This species earns a spot on our list purely for being, just about, the funniest joke in Men in Black II.
The Ballchinian made its first and last very brief appearance shortly after K regained his previously neuralyzed memory. J is in trouble, fighting a losing battle against a gang of various alien species. As soon as K comes to his senses about his MIB training, he bursts into the assault, taking down the different aliens one by one with J’s suggestions based on each species’ weaknesses.
The final alien K takes down in Men in Black II is, at first, resistant to each strike he lays down, until J reminds him of the creatures namesake. He pulls away his scarf, revealing what can only be described as the most anatomically correct appearance of a “ballchin” ever witnessed. K promptly grasps the low-hanging facial appendage and, with a forceful tug, defeats the perpetrator, giving the audience a much-needed laugh.
9. Beatbox Alien
It probably does not sound too implausible to assume that rapper Biz Markie of “Just A Friend” fame is a creature not of this earth. That must be why the producers of the 2002 Men In Black follow-up decided to cast him as an otherworldly creature with a unique language.
In Men In Black II, Will Smith’s Agent J has proven successful as one of the Men In Black’s best agents, but faces a threat that only the retired and neuralyzed Agent K can help him defeat. J finds K (now Kevin) working as a postman and, in an effort to jog his memory, proves to him that most post office employees are not human. The first alien he exposes is this mail sorter, played by Markee, whom he communicates with through the art of beatboxing, as you can see in all its glory in the clip below.
We have no idea what J and the Beatbox Alien said to each other, but it is one of the most engaging moments of Men In Black II, due to the fun surprise cameo and the opportunity it gives Will Smith to show off his beatboxing skills, as previously demonstrated during his days on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. What is especially fascinating about the scene is that Markee’s beatboxing requires no special audio modification. That’s just Biz in action, doing what no human could. That’s just perfect casting.
8. Boris The Animal
If there is one thing we can say about Men In Black 3 in terms of improvement over Men In Black II it was the villain in that movie. We went from a huge, malevolent, monstrous bug in the first Men In Black to Serleena: an emotionless, shapeshifting alien plant queen disguised as a lingerie model. Where she succeeded in merciless commitment to world domination, she lacked in personality. Which is why we are thankful that, 10 years later, we met Boris.
Brought to life by an enthusiastic performance by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement (as well as heavy prosthetics), Boris The Animal is the ruthless, short-tempered sole member of the Boglodite race who hates human beings as much as he hates his nickname. Men In Black 3, opens with his escape from an outer space maximum prison with an intent to seek vengeance on his sworn enemy, Agent K. He achieves his mission by going back in time and killing a younger version of K (played to perfection by Josh Brolin) in 1969, forcing J to travel to the past and team up with young K to prevent his murder and save the world again.
Boris’ presence in Men In Black 3 is the main source of the film’s fun. He is dripping with intriguing -- and often chilling -- character traits, such as having goggle lenses for eyes, razor sharp teeth, and a missing arm (which he blames K for), not to mention the shockingly lethal, spider-like pet Weasel that resides in a hollow part of his hand. Boris is a stone cold killer who treats the galaxy as his personal playpen of carnage. We’re too afraid not to include him on this list.
From battling carnivorous beasts in flying saucers to finding tiny green men residing in the head of rotting corpses, being an MIB agent sounds like the scariest, most revoting job in the galaxy. However, as a key moment in the first Men In Black demonstrates, it does have its more lighthearted perks.
On Agent J’s first official outing as a newly recruited member of the MIB, he and K pull over Redgick, an alien with Earth citizenship looking to seek refuge for him and his pregnant wife, who is visibly in the late stages of labor. J is put to the task of “catching” the approaching newborn. Enduring a visibly rocky process, J successfully delivers a baby “squid,” which he mentions is actually quite cute, right before it pukes on him.
It is a moment that still carries the same danger that makes this a tough job, but concludes with the revelation that not all alien creatures are the vicious kind we fear. In fact, we agree with J: the squid is really cute.
6. Jack Jeebs
Part of the fun of watching the Men In Black movies is keeping a close eye on the random human bystanders in the background, trying to spot who might be here from another world. The idea of extraterrestrials walking in plain sight among us was never fully ingrained into our psyche until we met pawn shop owner Jack Jeebs.
Jeebs (played by Tony Shalhoub) seems (almost) perfectly human at first, until he tests K’s patience enough to promptly blow his head clean off with one shot. At first we, and pre-MIB recruitment J, think K has killed him, but apparently this is not the first head K has ruined for that because Jeebs’ head begins to grow back while he mutters, “You have any idea how much that stings?”
Jeebs returned in Men In Black II for a few more head-losing hijinks, but without much else to bring to the table. While Shalhoub would be more than welcome by us to reprise his role in Men In Black: International, this decidedly one hit wonder’s main joke is in danger of stretching too thin.
5. Twins (Idikiukup and Bob)
We know you have heard the names of each half of MIB’s resident tentacled computer technicians, but we bet you had no idea how to spell Idikiukup. Yeah, we actually had to look it up too.
“The Twins,” Idikiukup and Bob, were introduced in Men In Black during Agent J’s first tour of the headquarters after accepting recruitment as K shows them managing the observation bay. With the push of a few buttons, they reveal that J’s theory about having an extraterrestrial for a third grade teacher turned out to be right.
The Twins were not the biggest talkers and, sadly, did not return in Men In Black II or Men In Black III, but their importance to the fate of the world should not be understated. Using those tentacles to pull off what just our 10 human fingers could never do with a computer, they scan every corner of the galaxy with expert precision to make sure nothing is out of place. I see a standing ovation in order if they make their return in Men In Black: International.
This one is especially memorable as he can be credited with introducing us to the curious, bizarre world of Men In Black.
In the opening scene of the first MIB film, INS agents pull over a van holding illegal immigrants. Shortly after, Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K and his original partner Dee (Richard Hamilton) show up posing as the blatantly made up Division 6 of the INS to instigate and discover that one of these “aliens” is from much farther away than south of the border. K pulls away the disguise, simply a large fur coat and an anatomically correct head on a stick, to reveal a familiar face -- to him at least.
Mikey, as K immediately greets him as, is an amphibious creature with six arms and flippers posing as a human immigrant to escape from jail. When one of the INS agents catches a glimpse of K and Dee’s interrogation of Mikey, the alien uses his independent eye to look back at the agent and angrily charge toward him, until K fires at him, disposing him to blue liquid. In just four minutes, we learn everything we need to know about who these mysterious, well-dressed men are all about.
As being the first alien we see in Men In Black, Mikey earns a firm, lasting position in the franchise’s iconography.
Humans are not the only species worth being suspicious about in the Men in Black world. J was even surprised to discover the alien he and K were looking to gain information from was not the creepy, gray-skinned newspaper stand attendant, but the talking dog sitting next to him.
Frank (voiced by Tim Blaney in the films) is a member of the Remoolian species, but lives among earthlings as a cute little pug, a disguise that renders him sensitive to ridicule. Through all of his appearances in the Men In Black franchise, he has proven himself to be an irritating-yet-helpful ally, alerting K and J on the way to learning the location of the Arquilian Galaxy in the first film, becoming J’s temporary partner in Men In Black II, and assisting K and J against alien terrorists in the animated series as well.
Given his absence in Men In Black 3, unless you count the framed photo of him on the wall of Agent J’s apartment bedroom, it does not seem likely that Frank will return to assist in any further intergalactic intrigue in Men In Black: International. Nevertheless, we will never forget him as one of the most endearing extraterrestrial canines in film history.
2. Orthopterous Exomorphs (Bugs)
"Imagine a giant cockroach with unlimited strength, a massive inferiority complex, and a real short temper is tear-assing around Manhattan island in a brand new Edgar suit."
That is how K chooses to describe the Orthopterous Exomorph (or commonly referred to as a “Bug”) to J in Men In Black, when they discover the enemy they are forced to take on to defend the Arquilian Galaxy is going to be tough nut to crack.
The Bug is initially introduced to us in the form of its less-than-convincing disguise, inhabiting the skin of New York famer Edgar (Vincent D’Onofrio). Once the skin comes off in the final act, the creature reveals his true form as a frightening, slimy, multi-legged nightmare worthy of taking the crown in the insect kingdom.
Fortunately, J, being the clever, no-nonsense NYPD cop he is, is able to figure out that the Bug has a soft spot for his earthbound family members. Coming across a small village of cockroaches in a nearby dumpster, J unapologetically stomps on them one by one, successfully tugging at the Bug’s heartstrings and distracting him from carrying out his mission. That, essentially, is what makes Edgar the Bug such an impressive villain: he has a multi-layered persona with a rough, gross exterior, but a sensitive inside.
1. Worms (Annelids)
If there are any fan favorites we are praying to see return in Men In Black: International, it’s this group of pint-sized, nicotine-addicted laugh riots known for making a mean morning brew.
Neeble, Geeble, Sleeble, and Mannix are an alien species called Annelids (better known around MIB headquarters as the “Worms”) who have been a prominent part of the Men In Black franchise (even showing up in the animated series) since they appeared in the first film as the first undisguised aliens Will Smith’s J lays eyes on.
They also keep things interesting around headquarters with a sense of humor that is sure to keep you laughing with them, despite their often indecipherable language, and shamelessly taking part in the vices forbidden on their planet Takwella, most notably coffee. A Men In Black movie without the Worms just would not feel complete.
What do you think of our list? Was it the Men In Black nostalgia trip you were looking for, or even increase your excitement for Men In Black: International? If so, be sure check for more updates here on Cinemablend.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.