Jay is able to distract the Bug by throwing things at him, jumping on him, and stepping on cockroaches

From the wiki page: Edgar the Bug.

Near the end of the 1997 movie Men in Black, the villain known as Edgar nearly made his escape ignoring Agent Jay's attempts to distract him. The only thing that got Edgar's attention was Jay stomping on a cockroach and almost supernaturally (or comically) Edgar took notice, jumped down to confront Jay and bought time for Agent Kay to find his gun inside the creature after being swallowed.

This is not also the only time in the film Edgar has shown offense to this. He also seems to care about other of Earth's insects. There was that part with a bug exterminator and that clerk who was swatting flies.

Why does Edgar care? He is not exactly of the same species or even from the same planet.

  • 5
    Isn't there a line where he calls them "my baby"? It may be something added in the french traduction.. Will investigate it at my lunch break. Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 9:32
  • 1
    If you went to another planet and saw a giant mosquito about to eat a Vulcan, how would you react? You're not the same species, or from the same planet. Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 7:26
  • 3
    Kai's comment below gave a good point about this. It could be totally subjective. We cherish certain animals while kill others out of necessity. Like Jay said "Big bad bug got a bit of a soft spot", it could be a personal thing for edgar or it maybe it's part of his culture to care about creatures that look like themselves. Though I think it's a fair point to make that we can't really project human emotions on an alien.
    – mr.eaver
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 10:33
  • Maybe he was the antagonist and not the villain?
    – jmoreno
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 21:41
  • Well pretty darn sure he wasn't the hero
    – mr.eaver
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 7:13

5 Answers 5


I'm not sure there is much to this other than he felt some kinship to the insects as they looked similar and so was annoyed when they were being killed like they were nothing. This is probably best answered with an analogy: how do we, humans, feel when gorillas and other apes are killed like nothing? How would we feel if we went to another planet and they were being killed in a manner such as Jay stepping on the cockroach?

The script seems to indicate that the sound of Jay crushing the cockroaches is one that enrages him so much, I would assume he would make the same noise if something big enough were to step on him.

ON THE BUG as he flinches on the ladder -- he hates that sound.

It's also worth noting that in Men in Black II Kay almost steps on a bug and then stops and the bug remarks:

Damn decent of you.

This implies that maybe some of the bugs on Earth are more than we know and could explain further why Edgar was so annoyed.

  • 6
    Pretty wholesome answer, makes sense too. Humans take killing bugs very lightly, but when comes to killing other mammals, it's different
    – mr.eaver
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 11:21
  • 4
    Though i think i should've emphasized, how Edgar seemed much more affected by the roaches' deaths. It almost was like it was hurting him physically or telepathically. But that's another topic.
    – mr.eaver
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 11:23
  • 33
    Which animals we're okay with killing or not seems to be cultural, though often due to judgement on their traits such as how charismatic the animal is, or how intelligent it is. For instance, killing a horse is often seen as taboo while cattle in the same culture are commonly killed for food. In other cultures, cattle are sacred, and killing them is so anathema, people have been committed mob justice over it. Charisma seems to trump intelligence, however, as few cultures have problems with killing the octopus, even though they can be extremely intelligent.
    – Kai
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 12:07
  • 5
    I thought the implication was that ALL bugs (or at least all cockroaches) were actually alien babies of the same species as Edgar, and have been all along. Kind of the main theme of the MiB series is that aliens have been among us for a long time, and just keeping on the down-low forever. Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 14:03
  • 11
    +1. If I was on some strange planet with aliens that seemed totally unknown to me, and they were killing humanoid species that resembled me a bit, or even just mammals that I felt an affinity with, that would upset me.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 23:10

Although this question has been answered and accepted, let's not forget that Kay said:

Imagine a giant cockroach, with unlimited strength, a massive inferiority complex, and a real short temper, is tear-assing around Manhattan Island in a brand-new Edgar suit. That sound like fun?"

He's one of them. Not literally but effectively. And anyone who picks on his "kind" is picking on him and with a massive inferiority complex, he's going to want revenge.


According to the film's official novelisation, Edgar the Bug (AKA Kerb) recognises the roaches as his distant relations.

Edgar finally found what he thought might be a hiding place for his ship, a mostly empty structure that was home to myriad small creatures, six- and eight-legged ones. From their forms, he could recognize a certain ancestral kinship. Little brothers, as it were. Or maybe little great-great-grandfathers.

His species is far more advanced than humanity and it would appear that this includes a higher morality toward other bugs and insects, to the point that he's willing to delay his departure to take care of a monkey who's crushing his brethren with gay abandon.


Men in Black had a running theme where Jay, in the first movie, and the viewer are very unaware of the scope of the universe. Probably because imagining the scope of ourselves in the universe is difficult to do in general. So, the movies end with scenes like the marbles games, or the lockers where some of the characters in the movies are very much aware of a larger overall scale of the universe which becomes revealed.

I think you could continue this parallel to a character like Edgar. He was much more aware of the size/scale of the universe than Jay. So it’s possible in Edgar's species' evolution they were the "cockroaches" to another larger species, like a significantly scaled up humanoid.

I don't think this would be exclusively a "kinship" to bugs, though that would definitely be a part of it -- he did look a lot like a cockroach. I think the rest of it is tied into this repeated notion of the scale between things in the universe.


It's essentially the same if you landed on a foreign planet, and some alien just picked up a puppy and snapped its neck and threw it in the trash because it was being annoying.

Or, for a more direct comparison, a little tiny humanoid with pale-grey skin, and blue or grey eyes.


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