- “We're not hosting an intergalactic kegger down here.”
Chief Zed was one of the founding members of the Men in Black, and the former Chief/Head of the MiB in all media forms. He ran the entire operation, and everyone answered to him. He was usually shown in his office, which is high above the main floor of the MiB Headquarters. Zed is played by late Rip Torn in Men in Black and Men in Black II and was played by Kirk Larsen in Men in Black III, and is voiced by Charles Napier in the Animated Series.
In the films, Zed is tall and mighty. He has black hair and a black goatee. However, in the animated series, he is older, little overweight and he has white hair, dark circles under his eyes, and has no goatee. Plus he has a different voice actor, so his voice is changed. In both he has a serious voice, however he jokes around a little in the films.
Comic Book Series Continuity
in the original comic book series, Zed is just a voice that indicates Jay and Kay their missions without having a physical appearance. Not even received a face in an episode where Jay tried to escape from MiB headquarters. It is not clear if Zed is a human or just a voice made by computer, but the only sure is the voice is male.
Films and Animated Series Continuity
Zed chooses not to say much about his life before MiB. In fact, he once discouraged Jay from looking into Kay's past, then, with even more emphasis, told him never to ask him about his past. Its known he was born in the 1930s though.
There is evidence that before he took the role of overseeing MiB, Zed enjoyed fishing.
Men In Black
In the first film, Zed is the Chief/Head of MiB. After Agent K brought NYPD officer, James Edwards (later Agent J) into a training course for recruiting MiB personnel, Zed is seen talking to the many highly ranked officers, until Edwards arrives late and Zed tells him to sit. All officers, including Edwards, have to answer a sheet while Zed and Kay watch from a 'mirror room,' where they cannot be seen. Zed explains that Edwards has a problem with authority but K responds that he does too, and also that Edwards earlier chased down an extremely fast alien on foot and that's got to be tough enough.
Zed then takes all the officers to a room for an "eye exam", except Edwards who goes with K. Zed neuralyzes the other officers in the room. The next day James Edwards arrives at MiB Headquarters and becomes the MiB's newest recruit, Agent J. Later, Zed talks with K and J in his office while giving them the task to question the alien Redgick as to why he is about to leave Earth. Zed even gives J the nickname "tiger".
Men In Black II
In Men in Black II, when Serleena (who apparently wishes she was Zed's girlfriend) arrives on Earth, Zed sends J to restore K's memory (which he erased after the fight with Edgar the Bug) so the Light of Zartha could be sent off the earth before it could be destroyed. When Serleena invaded MiB headquarters, Zed fought against her, and lost. He was later seen after MIB Agents K and J defeated Serleena, Zed along with Agent K was trying to console Agent J for the departure of Laura (the Light of Zartha), although his rather graphic description of his sex life ended up just disgusting J, to the extent that when demanding they not help him, he specifically could only tell Zed "Hell, no!" in response.
At one point in the film, Michael Jackson asked him if he could join the Men in Black as Agent M, to which Zed replied that he was "still working on the alien-affirmative action program". He later used Michael Jackson's phone number in an attempt to distract Serleena in a failed attempt at fighting back.
Men In Black III
- In the Animated series, it is known that Alpha was the head of the MIB before Zed, for a certain amount of time while in the film series it was unknown if Zed was the head of the MIB from the start, or if he was a replacement, It became known that he took the Job of MIB director at some point prior to the incident with Serleena and the Light of Zartha which happened in 1978.
- It was revealed that Zed died in 2012 due to unexplained causes; he was replaced as MIB director by Agent O. In MIB 3 it is revealed Zed's predecessor was someone known as Chief X whose personal secretary in 1969 was Agent O. It has been suggested Zed joined MIB in 1969, as Agent K claimed to J that he had worked with Zed for forty years by 2012 (Zed's last year of life).
- Zed did not appear in MIB 3 due to Rip Torn's arrest. He was never put in jail in exchange for pleading guilty and put on probation for 3 years.
- Although Zed wasn't in MIB 3, he did appear in Air New Zealand's Safety Video, albeit non-canonical.
- Director Barry Sonnenfeld considers that Chief Zed would appear in MIB 3 as a supporting character in the movie, so he hires Christopher Lloyd to replace Rip Torn after his arrest for the role of the present-day Zed with Agent O as his assistant, and Max Casella would play Zed in 1969 when he was K's agent partner. But after filming, Sonnenfeld ultimately decides that Zed would die before the beginning of the film and replace Lloyd's first scene with his funeral, so Zed's scenes were scrapped.