Agent J (usually called Jay), originally James Darrell Edwards III, is one of the two protagonists of the Men in Black film series. He was born in 1965 and is an agent of the MiB, after being recruited by Agent K. He is energetic, and tries to bring life and emotion back to the bland organization. He is portrayed by Will Smith in the films and Men in Black: Alien Attack, and is voiced by Keith Diamond in the animated series.
Film and Animated Series Continuity
Past Life and Father
J's father, Colonel James Edwards Jr., was killed at Cape Canaveral in 1969 by Boris The Animal when assisting Agent K preventing both his impending death and the large scale invasion that would follow forty years in the future. Its indicated that J's father was aware of his son's future as he said Griffin showed him how important J and K were though its unclear if his father was aware that one of the men he met that day was the future version of his son. Although James Darrell Edwards III was present at the scene of his father's death, he was neuralyzed by Agent K who, in the altered timeline, avenged his father's death by killing Boris the Animal. As a result, James was largely unaware of why his father was absent during the majority of his adolescent life. The only memento J had of his father was his fob watch. James then followed in his father's footsteps, and, years later, became a police officer.
Originally James Darrell Edwards III was an officer of the NYPD. During his time as an officer, he chased down an extremely fast alien, disguised as a human. When he finally caught up, the unknown alien gave James a serious warning concerning the Earth, before jumping off a building. Sometime later James was interrogated by a fellow officer. Once this officer left the room, a man in a black suit (Agent K or Kay) walked in and explained to Edwards that the human he had chased down was really an alien in disguise.
Then Kay takes James for a ride as James asks Kay if he works for the FBI, NSA or CIA and Kay tells him that he works for an organization to monitor aliens on Earth. They go to a nearby pawn shop owned by yet another alien, named Jack Jeebs. Edwards then points out the weapon that the alien he had chased down had owned. Once Edwards explains all of what he knows, he is then neuralyzed. K and Edwards go to a restaurant to eat. About the majority of the meal, Kay cracks himself and gives an MiB card to Edwards, which has an address on the back and tells him that he will see him in the morning.
Edwards arrives at the building the next morning and goes through a training program for recruits. He succeeds in initiative tests, though Zed believes he has a problem with authority. Kay remarks that he does too and that Edwards was surely fit enough for the job. After the rejected recruits are neuralyzed (under a test of intense eye pressure), Edwards is reluctant to join, at first not even believing anything, but after seeing the Worms, a strange race of aliens, he begins to understand their purpose. The next day he returns, all of Edwards' identifying marks are erased along with getting the last suit he'll ever wear and becomes Agent J, the newest MiB recruit.
Men in Black
As a rookie Jay gains many nicknames from K and Zed such as slick, kid, sport and tiger. After joining MiB he and Kay go straight to work and begin by questioning the alien Redgick as he suspiciously is about to leave the planet. While K questions him, Jay has to help Mr. Redgick's wife give birth. K begins to ponder why Redgick would risk a warp jump with his wife pregnant. They check the hot sheets and question a woman who believes an alien stole her husband's skin. J and K pose as FBI Agents to question the woman. The woman named Beatrice, explains that her husband Edgar walked in the house and acted differently and asked for sugar water. After receiving the information, they then neuralyzed her and tell her that Edgar ran off and there was no alien and J extends it by telling her that she kicked Edgar out and she didn't appreciate him after all.
As K tests the dirt from the crash, they find out they are dealing with a bug. They later visit the Morgue and J along with Laurel Weaver (later Agent L) discover an Arquilian Prince named Rosenberg, inside a human body 'suit'. The Arquilian slowly explains that in order to prevent war the galaxy is on Orion's Belt. The Arquilian dies and after neuralyzing Weaver, they both return to headquarters and Zed explains to Jay that Orion's belt is a group of stars. MiB then discovers that many alien's are fleeing the Earth, and also that an Arquilian Battle Cruiser is nearby the Earth.
Zed decides that J and K should check out Rosenberg's Jewelry Store and Zed tells K to give J a weapon. Kay gives Jay a Noisy Cricket and J believes it's unfair that he gets such a small weapon and even says "I feel like I'm gonna break this damn thing". While at the jewelry store, J spots Edgar the bug driving and fleeing in a tow truck. Jay fires his Noisy Cricket and misses the bug after the massive aftershock of firing the cricket J begins to enjoy using the weapon. He fires again and hits the back of the tow truck, causing it to release the bugs old vehicle the 'Zap Em Truck'.
By firing his weapon in the presence of many people, K explains not to fire weapons in public. Jay responds by saying that they can't worry about covering up aliens and MiB as there is currently a Battle Cruiser close to Earth. K says that there is always an Arquilian Battle Cruiser, or something similar that is about to put Earth in danger and the only way these people get on with their lives, is if they do not know about it. They question Frank the Pug, at first J suspects the man next to him is an alien but is surprised when it turns out to be the dog.
Frank explains that the galaxy is very small like the size of a marble. J then spots a cat and realizes that the galaxy is on the Arquilian's cat name tag or collar which is also named Orion. They head to the Morgue once again but this time J goes in alone while K waits at the entrance. Jay meets Laurel Weaver once again (she does not remember him as she was neuralyzed by K at their last visit) and asks for the cat, explaining that he needs to take him.
Weaver tries to hint that she needs help as Edgar the bug is actually hiding underneath a medical bed. When the cat jumps and lands on the table the bug then grabs the galaxy off the cat's collar and holds Laurel Weaver as a hostage by using a human gun. K quickly arrives and both he and J draw their weapons, but the bug uses his jumping ability to jump out the roof with Weaver. Jay and Kay run out of the Morgue building in order to catch the bug before he escapes once again.J realizes that they're in a cab and searches all cab drivers in the area but there are way too many. K picks up J in the Ford and calmly explains that this bug isn't leaving the planet in a cab. They return to MiB headquarters and Zed describes the situation which is that the Arquilian's are still requesting MiB to deliver the galaxy until the battlecruiser fires a warning shot to the Earth. J is concerned and asks "Why are they shooting at us for"? Kay goes over the Arquilian battle rules and that they now have a galactic standard week to respond, which is an hour.
Realizing that the bug needs a ship in order to leave the Earth Jay calls Zed and K but they ignore him. J calls them once again but this time saying "Hey old guys" which immediately grabs their attention. J points to the flying saucer's located at Queens and asks if they still work. They both head to Queens to try and stop the bug before he leaves Earth and K decides to use the tunnel, which Jay says would be packed. K tells J to push the red button and the car transforms into a much faster and advanced car. K begins to drive at an incredible speed while on the roof which easily avoids the other cars and traffic. When they both arrive the bug has already taken off in one of the saucers. K and J both aim with their more bigger and powerful weapons and shoot together at the bug's ship.
The ship crashes almost directly in front of them and they stand their ground waiting for the bug to show himself. Edgar the bug walks out of the broken and wrecked ship and both K and J explain the MiB arrest procedure and J demands that the bug puts his hands on his head. The bug indeed does but he tears off his human 'Edgar suit' and reveals his true self as a huge cockroach. The bug quickly grabs and swallows their weapons and K tells J to keep the bug on this planet. Kay gets himself swallowed by the bug intentionally in order to grab his weapon.
Jay attempts to distract the bug, providing more time for Kay. His attempts to fight is strategic but the bug is way too strong until Jay spots many cockroaches around a garbage bin. He starts stomping on several of them which angers the bug, which makes it walk right up to J until they are face to face. The bug explodes in half as Kay shot the bug from inside its own stomach after he found his gun. Both K and J are covered in 'bug slime', J grabs the galaxy and K calls Zed to tell the Arquilians that they have the galaxy. The top half of the bug was still alive after the blast and was about to attack J until Laurel Weaver (who was nearby when this took place) shoots and kills the bug using one of the weapons in the trunk of their car.
They later arrive at the front entrance of MiB Headquarters and J asks K if he doesn't have to neuralyze Weaver. K grabs his Neuralyzer and explains that Weaver isn't getting neuralyzed when it is in fact himself. Kay tells Jay that he hasn't been training a partner he has been training a replacement. After K explains how to use the Neuralyzer he hands it to J. Kay says he was just down the gullet of a cockroach and that's one of a hundred memories he doesn't want. K then says "See you around Jay". J then puts on his Ray-Ban glasses and replies "No, you won't", and neuralyzes Kay.
A few weeks later, J is later seen looking through the hot sheet newspapers and sees Kay with his wife, on one of the magazine covers. J smiles and drives off with his new partner Agent L (Laurel Weaver).
In the Animated Series, K has not yet been neuralyzed (although it is possible Kay returned after being retired for some time) and is still Jay's partner in MiB. During this series he and K along with L, Zed and at times the worms, constantly fight off aliens and protect Earth. A running gag in the series is J is never allowed to drive the LTD (or any vehicle for that matter) regardless of who is driving or other circumstances (A noticeable example is in the episode The Lights Out Syndrome, where despite K being blind, is forced to sit as a passenger as he drove a space ship and a moon rover)
Post K Retirement
During the next five years with the retirement of Kay, Jay becomes one of, if not, the best agents in MiB. He is partnered first with Agent L. It is unknown how long the partnership lasted but Jay later explains that L wanted to go back to the morgue so he helped her, by neuralyzing her. At one point Jay arrests the alien Jarra who was attempting to steal the Earth's Ozone and sell it on the Black Market. J also saves the world from a Quelon invasion. He also develops a reputation for neuralyzing MiB personnel, and he is later partnered with Agent T. Although he gains a reputation for neuralyzing MiB personnel, he becomes a highly respected MiB agent.
Men in Black II
Five years after Jay had neuralyzed Kay following the defeat of Edgar the Bug, J is seen with his recently new partner Agent T. They both must confront Jeff a giant worm-like alien. At first, only a small part of Jeff's head is sticking out of a floor.The two MiB agents believe that this is Jeff. However, Jeff reveals himself by coming up out of the floor and in doing so, knocks T away. J is surprised that Jeff has gotten this big and is knocked away into a small fruit shop by the alien. J then jumps through the ground (which Jeff made with his strength) and lands on Jeff. He attempts to use his Tranquilizer on Jeff however this doesn't seem to affect him. J is then due to the force of Jeff's strength launched into the train ahead through the window. He explains to the people that they have to leave as there is a bug in the electrical system. Jeff then starts eating the end of the Train and J orders the Train captain to stop the train. J then heads to the edge of the train, and he angrily aims his gun at Jeff and yells "don't make me do this Jeff", and Jeff stops eating and chasing the train. Jay then neuralyzes the people on the train (having to do so twice due to inadvertently revealing everything that transpired while expressing irritation at their not heeding his warning earlier) and explains the event to MiB. He later takes a seat at a park and T soon takes a seat next to him. J asks T if he ever feels alone in the Universe. T doesn't take the question seriously and thinks it's a test. Jay then takes Tee to eat some pie. At the diner T begins to cry as he thinks J is going to neuralyze him. J replies "No I'm not", and asks T why he joined MiB. He soon realizes that T joined MiB to be a hero, something as an MiB agent you cannot be as they 'do not exist'. He then neuralyzes T and tells him to get married and have a bunch of kids, and while leaving J tells the waitress that Tee likes her. He returns to MiB Headquarters and immediately is seen giving orders to other MiB personnel. He walks in Zed's office and Zed tells Jay that there was a killing earlier and that he should take Tee with him to make a report. Jay tries to explain that he neuralyzed Tee as he was crying in the middle of the diner. Zed tells him he needs a partner and makes Frank his new partner.
J drives with Frank to the Pizza shop where the killing took place and almost immediately Frank begins to annoy Jay. The duo walk inside the shop and J questions the witness Laura Vasquez. She explains to him that a woman killed her friend Ben along with a man who has two heads. Both Vasquez and Jay eat pie at the diner and Jay grabs his neuralyzer, and tells her that the little flash will make everything go back to the way it was. She responds by saying "After you flashy thing me if I see you again will I know it's you"? Jay says "I'll see you but you won't see me", she explains that he must be very lonely. Jay doesn't neuralyzed her and says he will 'flashy' her some other time. J and Frank then head to a local park where MiB personnel are already monitoring the area. J walks into a small tent and investigates a small alien ship. He contacts Zed and informs him that the ship type is Kylothian Class C. Zed says that it's Serleena and Jay explains Vasquez (the witness) told him that she was searching for the Light of Zartha.
Zed says he is positive that the Light is not on Earth, as he took care of this a long time ago by, ordering his best agent to get it off the planet. Zed then informs J that the agent was K, and tells J that the Earth could rest in what K knows and that it is too bad he had been neuralyzed. J is told by Zed to go bring Kevin Brown back to MiB now. So J, along with Frank, arrived at the post office located in Massachusetts, Jay walks in and almost immediately spots Kevin working in the front desk and starts to smile. He approaches him but Kevin does not remember J at all due to being neuralyzed, J tries to explain that they used to be partners and that he used to work for MiB and they urgently need his help. Kevin does not believe him and walks into a staff mail room where J follows him. In order to convince Kevin of MiB and aliens, he spots an alien in the room. He begins to communicate with the Rapping Alien via beatboxing.
By doing so many other aliens who are currently working in the Post Office reveal themselves. J even shows Kevin another alien working inside the mail sorting machine. J later convinces Kevin to come with him and when Kevin enters the car, he simply stares at Frank upon hearing him speak. When they both arrive at MiB Headquarters, Kevin is greeted and respected by everyone. Zed explains to Kevin that Earth may be in a bad way and that he may be the only one who can save it.
J introduces Kevin to the tech unit, and Kevin touches a small planet and J yells "Don't touch that!", and tells him to keep his hands in his pockets. J gives Kevin his "favorite weapon," a Noisy Cricket and begins to smile. He then tells Kevin to put on the last he will ever wear again. After Kevin is suited up, they both head to the De-Neuralyzer in order for Kevin to get his memory back. J explains what the De-Neuralyzer is, and Kevin was just about to get his memory back until MiB was breached. They get flushed out of the room and through pipes, they end up in the middle of the city. J's car arrives and he sees that MiB is Code 101 Lockdown and contacts Frank, who was able to hide. Frank explains that some woman was the reason for the lockdown. Kevin wonders why a photo of himself was inside his pocket, while J finds yet another De-Neuralyzer, this time owned by Jack Jeebs.
They enter Jeebs' pawn shop, and J asks for the De-Neuralyzer. At first, Jeebs denies having it and questioning even if he did why should he help them. After a gun being pointed to his head, he immediately shows them his De-Neuralyzer downstairs. Kevin gets strapped up and is De-Neuralyzed, however, it seems it did not work and Kevin walks out of the shop. Jeebs explains that it might take a minute or two for him to get his memory back. Suddenly a group of aliens who were previously imprisoned at MiB Headquarters, break the wall and begin shooting. They demand to know where Agent K is and Jeebs begins to answer them until J shoots his head. J explains that K is retired and he is his trigger-happy replacement. Until yet, another alien grabs J from behind and knocks him to the ground. Scrad (an alien assisting Serleena) tells J that they really need K. However, J does not tell them so one of the aliens bend him. As all this was taking place, Kevin spent a few minutes looking around and looking up at the stars before getting his memory back once again.Agent K returns and shoots the alien bending J, and begins to fight without the gun as J assists him, J even assists him in fighting a Ballchinian. As K has his memory back he and J together get in the car and ponder on what to do next. J suggests to get their headquarters back but K explains that it is a trap. Instead, they head to the scene of the crime, the pizzeria. Upon entering the pizzeria, J gets smashed in the face with a trash can lid by Laura Vasquez, as she expected someone else. She apologizes and is introduced to K, who explains to J the MiB code, which indicates that all witnesses must be neuralyzed. After spotting a photo of Ben with a fish, J grabs the photo of K inside his partner's pocket, which fits into the photo of Ben. It is a clue that K had left in case he needed to be de-neuralyzed. After K grabs the keys to which the clue was for, they decide not to neuralyze Laura and instead leave her with the Worms in their home. J begins to show his feeling towards Laura because of defending her and refusing to neuralyze her. When they drop Laura off at the Worms' house, she gives Jay a kiss and he tells her to watch out for Neeble the worm. Together, J and K head to Grand Central Terminal which is a locker is located for which the key opens, inside the locker is a small city of aliens who have a watch and video store card which K takes. In return for the watch they took, Jay gives them his watch and the aliens then chant "all hail J." Together, they both visit the video store of the card K earlier collected. It turns out that K had a certain video reserved and placed aside for himself. This was a video about the Light of Zartha, and K begins to remember what happened when he ordered the Light off the Earth. J realizes that K never actually ordered the light be taken off Earth and that it is still on the planet. After neuralyzing the people living at the video store, they both drive back to the Worms' apartment. While in the car, J calls Laura and K ask if her bracelet is glowing. She replies that it is, and once they arrive at the Worms' place, the home is trashed and the Worms have suffered some injuries. The worms explain that Laura was taken by some two-headed guy.
J and K, along with the Worms, then head to a nearby home. They walk into the home, K then uses a small switch on the wall which opens the secret room full of MiB weapons. The family living there then stares at them while they all grab their weapons. They close the room and J neuralyzes the family. Together with Kay and the Worms, they arrive at MiB Headquarters and grab their weapons. Kay says to J "are you ready kid?", J replies "Kid? You know while you were away licking stamps, I saved the world from a Quelon invasion."
K asks J if he knows what he is doing. J replies, "Yep, I'm about to attack one of the most feared aliens in the universe, with four worms and a mailman; let's make it hot," and then shoots the front door of headquarters. However, in the event of a Code 101 Lockdown, MiB headquarters is pressurized. So the entrance of MiB HQ quickly pulls J, K, and the worms inside. They all quickly get in the elevator and prepare to fight against Serleena. As the elevator finally reaches HQ, a small trash can like robot was waiting and begins firing at the elevator. Luckily J, K, and the worms are hanging on the roof which the robot's guns cannot reach. K quickly releases his grip so he is now hanging upside down. He shoots the robot which provides cover for J as he runs and uses another elevator inside HQ.
When the elevator reaches its level, J draws his gun and spots Laura inside a ship about to take off. However, before he can help her, he encounters Jarra, an alien he arrested many years ago. J tells Laura that he will be there in one minute, but Jarra reveals that his lower half is a small flying saucer with three other copies of himself. Immediately one of the Jarra copies grabs J's gun, and another hits him in the stomach.
J grabs a metal pole and he tells Jarra that he is under arrest for being that ugly and making that many copies. Then another Jarra copy charges at him until J smashes him with the metal pole and the copy crashes. Then yet another copy flies and grabs J, flies him up the roof, then drops him. After J gets back up, he charges at Jarra, and jumps and hangs onto his flying saucer. As they are both flying in the air, J manages to punch another copy who crashes. Now there's only one Jarra copy left, still hanging on to Jarra, J covers Jarra's eyes and pulls a switch on his saucer. As J quickly jumps off, Jarra collides with the last remaining copy.
J then disables the launch pad that was about to take off with Laura inside. Moments later, Serleena has K in her grasp until J from behind aims at her with his gun and says "your flight's been canceled," and shoots her. Suddenly all the power including the lights turn off, due to the worms shutting it down. Their car arrives inside HQ with the help of the cruise control. Jay, Kay, and Laura all get in the car and head for the top of a building which Laura (the light of Zartha) is meant to leave Earth. However, K presses the red button which has been changed since he retired. The car then transforms into a flying car which can only be controlled by using a PlayStation controller. The agents arrive at the location the bracelet was directing them to, K reveals the Light of Zartha is Laura and that a ship is at this area waiting for her to get on board to leave. She does after Serleena arrives, and attacks J while K finally convinces Laura to get on board the ship. Serleena gives chase as Laura is leaving, but the agents get some firearms from the car and shoot Serleena, finishing her off. After J discusses Laura and Lauranna with K, K surprised J (who implied that they most likely will have a long night of trying to neuralyze everyone in New York City due to the likelihood of witnessing their battle against Serleena) after he activates a giant neuralyzer hidden in the Statue of Liberty (something K never told J about) before returning to MiB headquarters. Later on, after the HQ is up and running again under Zed, with K, Frank, and Zed trying to comfort him despite his insistence that he has gotten over Laura's departure (also getting extremely disgusted when Zed reveals some graphic details about his sex life). As a way to provide a measure of comfort, K puts the aliens found in a Grand Central Terminal locker in J's locker. After J suggests showing them that their world is bigger than a locker, Kay shows him and Frank the Pug through a door, that they are in fact an alien species themselves, kept in a locker in an alien station, suggesting from J's point of view.
Men in Black III
In 2012, J has now been K's partner for 10 years since K came out of retirement and J has been a senior MiB agent by now for 14 years. However, an alien criminal called Boris the Animalhas rewritten history after time jumping from 2012 to 1969 and killing a young Agent K.
J is unaffected by the alteration and finds no trace of K but after arriving at MiB HQ and learning from new MiB Chief O that K has been dead for over forty years. J is also horrified to see that without K that the Arc Net Shield was never deployed and the Boglodite fleet could invade. With this, J finds the person who gave Boris a time jumping device and shows him the invasion to enforce why saving K is important. J is given the other time device but before he travels back in time to 1969, he learns that he only recalls K because he was there.
Going back a day before Boris, J meets the younger K who nearly neuralyzes him but is persuaded after he tells him of the case. J is surprised by younger K's openness about himself and asks him what happened to change him into a closed off person. J and K save a future seeing alien named Griffin from being killed by Boris. They set off to the moon launch to put the shield around Earth. Before the trip, J is able to use K's words about never asking questions you don't want the answer to.
Afterwards, J and his group are nearly detained but Griffin shows the the colonel a glimpse of the future that makes him side with them. Before the launch, J and K battle the future and past version of Boris respectively and are able to defeat them and put the shield up. In the process, future Boris is killed by the rocket thrusters. Before J time jump to the future, he witnesses the Colonel killed by past Boris and young K killing him, like the future K wished to do. In the end, J witnesses K's neuralyze the colonel's son who is revealed to the past version of himself. With this, he learns some of K's secrets and what happened to his father.
J returns to the present where he finds K still alive and indicates his knowledge of the past before thanking his partner for watching over him and K states its been a privilege.
Agent Jay can be seen as a foil to Agent K, being the more comedic member of the duo.
- In Men in Black 3, When Colonel James Edwards Jr. is talking to his son J and his son's partner K, The Colonel mentions that J is his firstborn. This also means J could have a younger sibling.
- Chris O'Donnell and David Schwimmer originally auditioned for the role of J, but turned down the role as O'Donnell believes that the character would be too similar to his role from Batman Forever before the role was given to Will Smith after he met Steven Spielberg after Spielberg remembered that Sonnifield's wife was a fan of TV's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
- J is originally a blonde haired, blue eyed, Caucasian in the MIB comics. J later became canon as an African-American in the live-action MIB films and in Men in Black: The Series, because of Will Smith's ethnicity.
- In the original ending to Men in Black II: J accepts K's offer to see Laura again via a space pod, only to end up inside K's station locker and hailed by the C18 Locker Aliens from the New York City's Grand Central Station that J met earlier.