- Not to be confused with Edgar.
- “You ever pulled the wings off a fly? You care to see a fly get even?!”
- —Edgar to Kay and Jay
Edgar the Bug (or just The Bug) is a Bug alien and the main antagonist of the first Men in Black film. His appearance is that of a giant cockroach though while on earth, he adopts the disguise of a human farmer. He hates it when any bug is killed (especially cockroaches). Edgar in human form and his animated series appearance are both portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio.
Edgar's appearance is that of a 12 ft tall insect, complete with two antennae hanging over his head, six limbs, and fearsome set of razor-sharp fangs. While he primarily resembles a cockroach, his features also mimic those found on several other insects native to planet Earth: his body frame and eyes are comparable to those of a Praying Mantis while his mandibles resemble a mantis' forelegs; his hind legs resemble those of a cricket with functionality akin to those of a Grasshopper, and his Scorpion-like tail features a stinger similar to that of a Hornet.
While in the guise of Edgar, his appearance is ragged and poorly conceived as the skin around his face is noted to be considerably saggy and shapeless. Due to being concealed in dead flesh, his appearance becomes increasingly disheveled over time as the Edgar suit rapidly begins to rot, leaving sparse hair on the scalp and the tone of the skin and left eye severely discolored.
Powers and Abilities
- Heightened Intellect - despite being considered inferior in comparison to the more civilized individuals of the universe, Edgar possesses a sharper and more advanced level of intelligence than his earth relatives.
- Super Strength - Edgar is shown to possess limitless strength, but within his human suit, it seems somewhat inhibited it to an extent.
- Super Flexibility - being 12 feet tall, he is able to awkwardly fit himself into the skin and clothing of a 6' male human.
- Wall-Crawling - Edgar is capable of scaling any vertical surface with ease.
- Super Leaping - Edgar is agile and nimble, able to hop extremely high in the air.
- Vocal Camouflage - Edgar can considerably alter the sound of his voice though it still sounds inhuman.
- Slime Secretion - capable of secreting a viscous slime-like substance which is utilized as a restraining tool.
- Collective Sense - Edgar is able to feel the presence of nearby insects. This is clear when J crushes cockroaches and Edgar, without looking, gets annoyed.
Men in Black
He is first alluded to by a Cephalapoid criminal that then-NYPD officer James Edwards had pursued, where he mentioned that he would kill him for the failure, and ominously warned that once he arrived, Earth is going to be destroyed before committing suicide.
In the beginning, the Bug crashes on Earth by flying saucer. He crashes on the truck of Edgar, an abusive farmer while he is yelling at his wife, Beatrice for having his dinner poorly made instead of having a steak. When Edgar goes out to investigate with his shotgun as Beatrice asks Edgar what on Earth is it and Edgar rudely orders Beatrice to get back in the house, the unseen insect demands Edgar to put down his gun, but Edgar refuses, threatening the bug instead. However, the bug grants his "proposal," reveals himself, and kills him by flaying him, eating his body (off-screen), and uses his skin as a disguise. He goes back inside the house where Edgar's verbally abused wife Beatrice awaited him. She asked him what happened, but the awkward alien instead asked for sugar water. She notes his "skin is hanging off his bones." Looking in a mirror, he agrees and pulls his face back past his skull, causing her to faint. The next morning, a bug extermination truck, ordered by Edgar when he was alive before then, arrives at the farm to exterminate some cockroaches in Edgar's barn. However, the bug arrives and is angered by his intentions. He kills the exterminator and steals his truck in his aid to hunt. His arrival also spooked several of the alien residents into trying to evacuate the planet, some even risking violation of going into places their alien licenses forbade them from accessing just to get away. Meanwhile, he searches and spots Gentle Rosenberg leaving his jewelry shop to meet with a fellow Arquillian at a local diner, where the Arquillian warns him of the bug. However, the bug already traps them before they can escape, and kills them by stabbing them in the neck with his sharp tail. Arquilian Galaxy. Throughout, he is chased by Kay and Jay of the MiB (who learned of his arrival after talking with an evacuating alien family who was illegally accessing the Manhattan area), who are always one step behind. Edgar finally gets the Galaxy, and attempts to leave a hidden ship, also abducting Laurel (at the time a mortician) in order to deter pursuit, although he becomes more eager to kidnap her when she, in an attempt to convince him to let her go, implies that Earth will declare war in response due to her being its ruler, since it meant ensuring that he can feed his family's mouths. But, the ship is shot down by Jay and Kay.
After the ship crashes, Edgar emerges and, complying with J's demand to put his hands on his head, pulls his skin off, revealing his true self. He eats the agents' guns and Kay purposely gets eaten as well after warning Jay to make sure the Bug doesn't go on the second ship while he goes inside the Bug to find his gun. Jay is able to distract the Bug by throwing things at him, jumping on him, and stepping on cockroaches, and Kay is able to get his gun and blows the Bug in half from the inside. They finally have the Galaxy, but half the Bug starts coming back behind them with the clear intent of trying to kill them in revenge, when Laurel, a morgue worker who was kidnapped by the bug, shoots the bug with J's gun just as it was about to chomp on J's head, finally killing him.
Men in Black: The Series
In "The Big Bad Bug Syndrome", a select few of Edgar's brothers appear, including his identical twin, Edwin. They attempt to capture Elle for their queen who desires revenge upon her for killing Edgar. Edgar is only seen in a flashback.
Behind the Scenes
The "Edgar Bug" character was inspired by the insect-like aliens which are the central focus of the second issue of The Men in Black. Initially, the character was to be portrayed by practical effects via a full-scale animatronic puppet, designed by Rick Baker Studios. The appearance of the puppet differed greatly from the finalized look of the creature seen in the film. As such, the final battle in the film was originally intended to be much more low-key, which would have involved an exchange of witty banter between the villain and the protagonists with The Bug ultimately meeting his end upon being blasted away by the two agents. After initial shooting commenced on the scene, it was decided that the sequence felt way too anti-climactic and a more action-oriented finale was quickly re-written. With the new fast-paced final fight, the original puppet was discarded in favor of a CGI creature. To accommodate the new scene, The Bug was redesigned; initially, the look of The Bug was conceived as something of a cross between a bipedal praying mantis and a cobra with a bird-like face. While being fundamentally the same concept as Baker's original design, the new look featured several aspects which were re-tooled. These changes included increasing the creature's size to be large enough to swallow a 6' human, restructuring the face to look more vicious and monstrous, including a pair of hanging antennae, and adding a second pair of legs. Due to the abrupt change, several promotional materials and tie-ins, such as action figures and the comic adaptation, all feature The Bug portrayed in his original design. Interestingly, the only piece of merchandise that managed to capture The Bug's new look was the Micro Machines mini figure, albeit while still retaining the cobra-like hood. As an Easter Egg, the opening credits of Men in Black: The Series feature a mugshot of the character's action figure in the MIB criminal line-up.
Keeping in line with the designs of the principal cast of MIB: The Series, the creative team deliberately chose not to have Edgar resemble the look of his on-screen counterpart. As such, The Bug's design in the cartoon took select aspects of the movie Edgar's design and amalgamated them with several unused elements from concept art for the film.
Men in Black
Tie-Ins and Other Media
- Designing the look for the Edgar Bug was a painstakingly lengthy process for the film's art department. Several artists were commissioned during pre-production to submit hundreds of sketches which greatly varied from one to another. Among these pieces of artwork were designs which resembled a great variety of different things ranging from grasshoppers and centipedes to deep-sea fishes and snakes. Ultimately, the approved design was simply a case of mixing & matching key features from Barry Sonnenfeld and Steven Spielberg's favorite design concepts. When turned over to ILM, the approved design went through yet another revamp in order to give a much more cockroach-like aesthetic.
- The character is never actually given a formal name in the film and is simply referred to as The Bug. Almost all external media, including production material, refers to him as "Edgar", the slaughtered farmer whom he poses as. In the film's novelization, the Bug's actual name is identified as Kerb.
- According to Edwin the Bug, Edgar is the younger brother of the two (though all Bugs are related).
- In The Big Bad Bug Syndrome, Frank insinuates that The Queen's grievance over his murder at the hands of Elle is indicative of Edgar being one of her more favored children. This idea is later hinted at in The "J" is for James Syndrome where a horde of The Queen's royal guards are shown to possess an identical appearance to that of Edgar. This would imply that Edgar also pertained to this subgroup which would have undoubtedly meant that his relationship to The Queen was a close one, granting him elevated status above his countless other siblings. This could also be indicative as to why Edgar, in particular, was chosen to oversee the assassination of Gentle Rosenberg and acquire the Arquillian galaxy.
- In Star Fox Adventures, the boss Galdon looks similar in appearance to Edgar. Also, Fox is eaten by Galdon in a similar manner to Kay (after eating an important item) and attacks him from the inside.
- Bruce Campbell and John Turturo originally auditioned for the role of Edgar the Bug but turned down the role.