Men in Black: International arrives on the scene as something of a reboot AND spin-off from the previous movies in the sci-fi series, leaving behind the story of alien-hunters Agents J and K (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) to follow a new duo at the organisation’s UK headquarters.
However, despite this clean break the new MiB does still include a few Easter Eggs, callbacks and returning characters from the earlier films – and these were a few of our favourites.
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J and K
While there are no surprise cameo appearances for Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’ original agents, last seen in 2012’s Men in Black 3, the two characters do get a subtle shout-out during the film.
At MiB’s London headquarters, boss High T (Liam Neeson) has two oil paintings in his office, one of which commemorates his and Agent H’s (Chris Hemsworth) defeat of the Hive, while the other (right, below) appears to show Agent J and K saving the world during the events of the first MiB film.
For now, we probably won’t know exactly what happened to J and K, but there’s definitely room for them to return. After all, at the end of the film M (Tessa Thompson) is heading back to New York headquarters…
Frank the Pug
Cute little alien-in-disguise Frank (voiced again by Tim Blaney) returns for the first time since 2002’s Men in Black 2, where he was Agent J’s partner for much of the film.
In the new movie Frank (played by a new dog after Mushu, the original, passed away) can be seen guarding the entrance to MiB’s New York HQ, where he is less than impressed by M’s clandestine efforts to sneak in.
Emma Thompson’s MiB boss was previously introduced in 2012’s Men in Black 3, taking over the command position from the late Agent Zed (Rip Torn).
In MiB: International, she continues in her senior role, though as most of the action takes place overseas she’s absent for a large portion of the film.
The Noisy Cricket
During an early scene where Agent M is kitted out for her new MiB life, she’s offered a tiny gun that will be familiar to fans of the franchise – the Noisy Cricket.
First seen in the original Men in Black as a weapon given to Agent J (Will Smith), the Cricket’s small size belies its immense power and recoil, with the gadget frequently throwing J around the place whenever he uses it.
Like J, M is reluctant to accept the gun when given it as a rookie – unlike J, she’s not forced to take it, so sadly we don’t see the Noisy Cricket in action again during the film.
The Worm Guys
Also known as Annelids, the Worm Guys are trouble-making aliens who first cropped up in the original Men in Black, playing a larger role in the sequel and spin-off animated series before returning for a smaller cameo in Men in Black 3.
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Hailing from the planet Takwella, the Worm Guys are known for their adoption of Earth culture, hedonistic impulses and generally immature behaviour, though they usually act as allies to the MiB.
In Men in Black: International the Worm Guys can be seen walking past Agent M while she boards a special hyperspeed train travelling between New York and London, continuing a ribald conversation.
Over the years the Men in Black franchise has included a running joke about various celebrities who could be aliens, and the new reboot is no exception.
On the monitors we spotted both Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan (who Agent M noted she wasn’t surprised about) and rapper/actor Donald Glover, and we’re sure there are plenty more in the film that we didn’t notice.
OK, this isn’t a Men in Black reference, but we couldn’t help including it as one of the film’s best mini-jokes.
During a battle with an alien, a defeated Agent H strains to reach a comically undersized hammer, before confidently threatening his foe with it and flinging it at them.
Unfortunately, the small tool isn’t a patch on Mjolnir, and is easily caught and thrown away. Oh well…
Men in Black: International is in UK cinemas now