This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (April 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Men in Black character|
Will Smith as Agent J.
|First appearance||Men in Black|
|Created by||Lowell Cunningham|
|Portrayed by||Will Smith|
|Voiced by||Keith Diamond|
|Occupation||Former NYPD detective|
|Birth name||James Darrell Edwards III|
Agent J (born James Darrell "Jay" Edwards III) is a fictional MIB agent in the film Men in Black, its sequels Men in Black II and Men in Black 3, and Men in Black: The Series. Jay is portrayed by Will Smith in the three films and voiced by Keith Diamond in the animated series.
Not much is known of the life of James Darrell Edwards III prior to being recruited into Men in Black. His appearance as a small child in 1969 in Men in Black 3 would place his year of birth in 1965. His father, United States Army Colonel James Darrell Edwards Jr., was working security at Kennedy Space Center for the Apollo 11 launch when he was murdered by the alien Boris the Animal after assisting Men in Black Agent K in stopping a chain of events that would have led to K's death and a widescale invasion of Earth forty years later. Nothing else is known about the preceding twenty-eight years except that James became a member of the New York City Police Department. Though little is known of J's personal life outside of his role as an agent of Men in Black, he is known to be a big fan of video games and rap music. A line of dialogue from Men in Black II suggests he owned a Game Boy.
Agent J's Men in Black career starts out when, as Officer Edwards III, he runs down a swift, wall-climbing alien on foot. When Men in Black Agent K notices his potential, he recruits J into the organization (within the continuity of the series, the events of Men in Black 3 imply that K recognized J from their meeting in the 60s). At first, J is suspicious, but he decides to join. He is registered as Agent J and his energetic, enthusiastic attitude brings humor to a bland organization. J is not fond of K's diminutive references to him (son, sport, slick, kid, etc.), but gets used to it. In his various adventures, he encounters Frank the Pug, the dog who is really an alien; finds out that Jeebs, the pawn store owner is actually an alien, not just a buyer of stolen goods from chain snatchers like he originally thought when he was a detective; and delivers a baby squid like alien. Their first official mission is to stop an alien bug from leaving Earth with a tiny galaxy before the Arquillians (who demand the return of the galaxy) disintegrate the planet. During the final confrontation with the bug, K is swallowed by it in an attempt to get his gun back, leaving J to keep him on Earth. When he starts squishing cockroaches, the bug confronts him, but before it can attack him, K shoots it from the inside. The bug was finally killed by Dr. Laurel Weaver (Linda Fiorentino), a morgue worker whom the bug kidnapped and J's love interest. When K requests to be neuralyzed (a memory-wiping procedure) to retire, J fulfills the request and his new partner is Laurel, who becomes known as Agent L.
Agent J stays as the partner of Agent K as the events right after the destruction of the bug by Agent L. Not only he remains the partner of Agent K but also is still considered a rookie by most of the agents, including Agent K, L and Z. He is rarely allowed to drive an official Men in Black Car, many secrets are kept from him, they don't let him handle certain equipment, among other things.
At some point between the first and second film, L goes back to her morgue career, and J has gained a reputation for neuralyzing all of her successors for, in his opinion, unsuitability to work at Men in Black. At the beginning of the film, he neuralyzes his new partner Agent T because he forces T to admit that he joined the agency to be a hero, something that is fundamentally impossible in the Men in Black due to the secretive nature of the organization. This has earned the annoyance of his superior, Zed, who confronts J and tells him he needs to stop neuralyzing his partners. Other than that, he has developed into a superb and highly respected agent. When he is sent to get K back to face a new threat to which only he had details of locked away in his mind, Zed assigns Frank the Pug (who has joined Men in Black in between the first and second film) to be J's temporary partner. J investigates a murder at a local pizza joint committed by Serleena, the Kylothian queen who has arrived to find the Light of Zartha after destroying several planets. During the investigation, he meets and falls in love with an employee named Laura Vasquez. Despite the organizations's policy, J does not neuralyze her. J then heads to find Kevin Brown who holds the key to finding the Light of Zartha and stopping Serleena before she could get her hands on the Light. When K is de-neuralyzed, J is once again the rookie, but for revenge, J gives K the Noisy Cricket (the tiny gun that K saddled him with in the first movie, though it does have a strong blast). The duo discover the light is Laura, heir to the throne of Zartha- implied to be K's daughter due to his relationship with her mother- and J reluctantly allows her to fulfill her destiny as he and K finally destroy Serleena for good.
During the film, J has a particular enmity with the alien criminal known as Jara, whom J stopped from stealing the Earth's ozone layer.
In the third film J has become a well-respected, Rank A Men in Black agent in the year 2012. He continues to work with K, but is frustrated by the secrets K keeps from him for his own good, leading to frustration in their relationship. The escaped alien criminal Boris the Animal time-travels back to 1969 and murders a young K, which could result in the end of the world as K was no longer present to establish a force-field that could permanently protect Earth from invasion by the Boglodites (Boris' species).
J tracked the time jump device owner and showed him the invasion, as a reason to save K. Thanks to "being there" when the major moment in history changed (the installation of the ArcNet), J was able to retain all memory of K. J travels back to 1969 to save K, although hampered by his lack of knowledge of K's personal life or the specific details of the case that killed him. J then traveled back to 1969, where he meets the younger K. To keep the present unchanged by Boris's interference, J advises K to kill the Boglodite instead of arresting him as in the original timeline. J is also stunned to discover that K's past self is much more open and friendly than his present version. With the help of an alien named Griffin and a US Army Colonel that Griffin gets to help them, J and K reach the Apollo 11 launch site and separately fight Boris from 2012 and Boris in 1969 to launch the ArcNet. Using his time travel device, J defeats the elder Boris and ensures the restoration of the timeline.
Future Boris is killed by Apollo 11's exhaust and the ArcNet is successfully deployed, but before he can return to the future, J witnesses the past Boris murdering the colonel that had helped them. K kills the younger Boris and J discovers to his shock that the colonel was his own father when his past self appears. J witnesses K comfort his past self and then neuralyze him and tell the young James that his father is a hero. Finally understanding what K was trying to protect him from and seeing K had been watching over him, J returns to the present where he indicates his knowledge of what happened to K and thanks him for watching out for him. K tells him it has been his privilege to watch out for J all these years.
Agent J does not appear in Men in Black: International. But he is seen in a painting in High-T's office.