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‘Men in Black 4’ Will Add Female Agent; Producers Discuss Will Smith Return

The producers of “Men in Black 4” hopes to reinvigorate the franchise by adding a female agent to the mix.

According to the BBC, producer Laurie MacDonald promises that “there will be a prominent Woman in Black in the fourth [film],” which she’s developing with husband Walter Parkes. While 1997’s “Men in Black” seemingly inducted Linda Fiorentino’s character into the agency at the end of the film, she was conspicuously absent from the two sequels. “Men in Black II” featured Lara Flynn Boyle as the villainous Serleena, but the franchise has yet to have a female agent take a lead role.

Original franchise star Will Smith is currently not attached to the project, but Parkes hedged that the actor could be lured back, telling the BBC, “Never count Will out.”

The original movies centered around Smith’s Agent J and his alien-hunting partner K (Tommy Lee Jones) as they tracked down aliens on Earth and tried to keep their existence hidden from civilians. “We tried to tell a story about those two characters and that relationship,” Parkes said. “It sounds silly because it’s a fun, science fiction comedy but when you work on these things you sort of try to find some thematic basis underneath it.”

The last installment in the franchise, “Men in Black 3,” was released in 2012 and earned $624 million worldwide, indicating that there’s still an appetite for the sci-fi series despite the decade-long break between “MIB 2” and the threequel. While the break between films “3” and “4” looks to be considerably shorter, critics haven’t been keen on the series since the 1997 original.

“We are quite early on in it,” Parkes said of the fourth film. “We sort of looked at the first three in retrospect as a bit of a trilogy,” which means that they’re approaching the fourth installment as a “reinvention” of the franchise.

There’s no word on how an intended sequel would affect the rumored development of a crossover movie between “Men in Black” and the “21 Jump Street” franchise, which “Jump Street” helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller are said to be developing at Sony.

“We wanted to take ‘Jump Street’ in an insane direction,” Lord told Variety of the potential crossover in August. “It was a bold approach we were trying at Sony before Tom [Rothman] came, and we weren’t sure what his appetite would be for making a movie like that, but he got it right away.”

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