Everything You May Have Forgotten About Emma Thompson’s Intimidating ‘MIB’ Character

by Lia Beck
Giles Keyte/Sony Pictures Entertainment

The new Men in Black movie replaces Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones with new stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, but there are still two actors from previous films returning this time around. First, Frank the Pug, voiced by Tim Blaney, is back — very exciting. And second, Emma Thompson is back for Men in Black: International after first appearing in Men in Black 3.

The first Men in Black movie came out 22 years ago, the second movie in 2002, and Men in Black 3 in 2009, so if you don't exactly remember who popped up where and for what reason, then that's understandable.

As for how Thompson (Emma, not Tessa) got here, in the first two movies, Rip Torn played Zed, the head of the Men in Black. But, for the third movie, his character was killed off and Agent O, played by Thompson, was named the new chief.

Thompson didn't have a lot of screen time in Men in Black 3, especially because the role was split between herself and Alice Eve, who played a younger version of Agent O. Her most memorable scene is probably when she has to speak in an alien language at Zed's funeral, as seen here:

In 2012, MIB3 director Barry Sonnenfeld said in an interview with Vulture, "I think the reason to do a sequel would be to have Emma in the movie more. She’s only in the first act, but she’s just fantastic. And she’s a writer, so maybe she could write the sequel too! There you go."

Well, that didn't end up happening. She didn't write Men in Black: International, and sadly, she's not in the movie much more, either. (Instead, it was written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, and this installment was directed by F. Gary Gray.)

Thompson first appears in Men in Black: International early on when she hires Tessa Thompson's character into the organization as Agent M. After that, she doesn't show up again until the end of the movie. Even though Agent O (and Thompson herself, of course) is British, Agent M is sent to work from the Men in Black London office, and Agent O has to stay behind in New York City at the Men in Black headquarters.

So, if you were hoping to see a lot of Thompson in the new movie, you'll unfortunately be disappointed. But, she does make the most of her time, including a welcome reference to the organization being called "Men in Black" even though there are women agents and a woman leads the whole operation. "I think it's an attachment issue," she says at one point. That's an understatement that can apply to a lot of other things too.

Thompson fans might be disappointed she's not in Men in Black much, but they can see her in a much bigger role in a movie coming out many places on the same day. Late Night, in which the actor stars as a long-time talk show host, moves to wide release on June 14, the release date of Men in Black: International. They might be two very different movies, but both do involve Thompson in a lot of tailored suits.