Back in the late nineties, the steampunk action flick Wild Wild West was everything to little 8-year-old me. Between the decapitated head projector, drag espionage, and a music video that seemed to be on every channel at all times, I was sure that this was the biggest phenomenon since Tamagotchis.
Though I was blissfully unaware of this at the time, apparently many people (audiences and critics alike) found a glaring amount of overlap between Wild Wild West and another Will Smith movie, Men in Black, which came out two years earlier.
This Reddit fan theory from TowelstheTricker proposes that these two movies actually have more in common than we originally thought, and these connections go deeper than similar plots.
At the end of Wild Wild West, Captain James T. West and U.S. Marshal Artemus Gordon meet with the President
President Ulysses S. Grant (also played by Kevin Kline, a fact that my 8-year-old self was thrilled to recognize) offers the two main characters a special governmental position.
He's forming the Secret Service
And he wants West and Gordon to be Agents #1 and # 2.
Of course, they squabble over who deserves the top distinction
But that's not the only thing that could be up in the air.
Eventually, the pair might have opted for a letter system to avoid further disputes
I suppose that makes them Agent G and Agent W, then, showing some real patriotic pride for George Washington.
The Secret Service functions with teams of partners until the Roswell incident
Discussed briefly in the later Men in Black films, Roswell becomes a major turning point in this theory. As the government must deal with alien life making contact with Earth, they realize that only the most highly trained officials should handle this sensitive dynamic. They call in the Secret Service, which forms the basis for a new but related government branch.
The Men in Black are formed, and follow the same model as the Secret Service
They take the odd couple/buddy cop approach with an emphasis on advanced technology that the general public has no idea exists. Eventually, we come to Agent K and Agent J, who has to be a descendant of James West. Those two just look way too much alike.
Okay, so it's not the most rock-solid theory in the world, but it's definitely fun to consider. There are unquestionable similarities to both of the movies (and not just the presence of Will Smith) that carries through the basis, but there's not an overwhelming stack of evidence.
Either way, I want to live in a world where both giant steampunk spiders and fast-talking, sarcastic aliens exist, so I'm on board.