Men in Black: International Producers Tease Nods to Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones

When Men in Black: International opens in theaters this Friday, fans will find themselves reintroduced to the mysterious organization that will feel familiar to fans of the first three films, but will have a different look, largely due to the film taking place at the London branch and the cast. While Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones starred in the franchise's first three films, the actors won't appear in Men in Black: International -- but that doesn't mean they won't have a presence in the Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson starrer.

Speaking with Variety at the Men in Black: International premiere, producers Laurie MacDonald and Walter Parkes explained a bit why Smith and Lee weren't in the new film but revealed that the film contains homages to the actors in a very specific element of the film.

"We definitely all talked," MacDonald said of discussions with Smith and Lee about a fourth Men in Black film. "When we finished the third, we did all talk about the fact that we didn't feel there was another film, well, mainly, it was actually in different terms. We all talked about it feeling very complete, that somehow because the third film dealt with the mystery of Will's father and that it felt emotionally complete and all of us collectively didn't think that we'd go on with that and we didn't even begin developing this one for a couple years because we weren't sure we would."

When things began coming together for what is now Men in Black: International, MacDonald went on to explain that while it was suggested that Smith and Lee have cameos in the movie, it wasn't something that felt right.

"It was brought up by a couple of people on the outside, but it felt they are so, both loom so large it just didn't feel right," she said. "It felt it might be that taste that made you think why aren't they here. We never talked that seriously about it."

But even without cameos from the actors, they aren't entirely removed from the film. Parkes explained that you can find an homage to Lee's Agent K and Smith's Agent J.

"If you look closely in the background of several shots of Liam Neeson's office you might see a little homage to them," Parke said. "There's an homage."

Men in Black: International will see Hemsworth and Thompson's two MIB agents dragged into a globe-trotting conspiracy with Thompson's character being a bit unique in that she approaches the organization and not the other way around.

“The genesis of the whole thing is a young girl whose life had been altered by an encounter with Men in Black,” Thompson revealed in a previous interview. “And the idea is that unlike Will [Smith] in the original films, she’s a protagonist who hasn’t been recruited but has found them.”

Men In Black: International is directed by F. Gary Gray and is written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway and stars Chris Hemsworth (Agent H), Tessa Thompson (Agent M), Rebecca Ferguson (Riza), Kumail Nanjiani (Pawny), Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, Emma Thompson (Agent O), and Liam Neeson (High T). You can check out the official description below.


"The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization."

Men in Black: International opens in theaters on June 14.