The whole concept of the Men in Black comics, and the first MiB movie, was pretty sweet indeed. Back in 1997, it was fresh, innovative, and a lot of fun, although my primary pet peeve was that they showed too many of the best scenes in the trailers and commercials.
A sequel was inevitable, but it wasn’t that great, yet the third movie was a very troubled production that still did fine, in fact, it’s reportedly the highest grossing installment of the three.
Despite the success of the third MiB, you had the feeling that at this point it was all about draining one more buck out of a franchise that probably should have stopped after the second one. Still, the urge to reboot is strong in Hollywood, especially when you can potentially make a lot of money, hence Sony starting over from scratch with The Amazing Spider-Man, and now The Hollywood Reporter tells us there’s a fourth Men In Black in the works as well.
There is already a screenwriter onboard, Oren Uziel, who is also working on a sequel for 21 Jump Street. (Uziel got Sony’s attention by writing a sci-fi / horror comedy, Kitchen Sink, that the studio should eventually make.) After finishing his duties on the second Jump Street, Uziel will jump into Black 4. (In addition, Entertainment Weekly informs us that Uziel is writing the screenplay for an upcoming Mortal Kombat movie).
At the same time, The Reporter notes, “it is unclear to what extent franchise star Will Smith involved at this point,” and clearly without him there is no movie. You may recall some time back there was talk of an I Am Legend prequel, but it was similarly unclear if Smith would be interested, same with the upcoming Independence Day sequels, which may go forward without him.
Smith has also been linked to a reboot of one of the under-rated classics of sci-fi, Colossus, another remake we frankly don’t need, especially considering the original holds up just fine and we’d love to see it rediscovered. So at this stage, who knows if a fourth Men in Black will make it all the way to the finish line? Without Smith committing it shouldn’t go forward, and at this point, unless they can come up with some great new ideas that can reinvent it, do we really need a fourth installment?