In an interview with Vulture, “MIB” director Barry Sonnenfeld revealed that after filming finally wrapped — just when he, screenwriter Ed Solomon et al. thought they were done — they learned the entire plot would require yet another rewrite. “…[W]hen we were done shooting, we were two weeks away from finishing the movie and about to go record the score when [Sony’s] John Calley at the studio felt the story was too complicated and changed the entire plot, via subtitles when the aliens were speaking and additional stuff that was on the big board,” Sonnenfeld said.
According to IGN, the original plot involved planet Earth being caught up in a war between two races fighting against each other for the galaxy and the bugs; the bugs apparently thrive off the chaos. In the rewrites, mentions of the warring races were removed for the most part and the remaining plot holes were filled in by the alien subtitles and Frank the Pug. The late John Calley knows a little something about plot, having supervised many groundbreaking movies, including “A Clockwork Orange,” the original “Exorcist,” and “All the President’s Men.”
I’m not sure how the two warring races plotline would have been received by fans and critics alike, but going with the simpler plot served the movie well, especially considering that it was going to be Will Smith’s summer follow up to the smash hit “Independence Day.” Overly complicated plots usually don’t make for good summer blockbusters. The most iconic summer movies — like “Jaws” — have easy to follow plots.