One of the more unexpected news stories to come from the Sony Hack of 2014 was the revelation that the studio is considering crossing over the buddy-cop shenanigans of the 21 Jump Street franchise with the intergalactic buddy-cop shenanigans of the Men in Black series. 21 & 22 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have now weighed in on the possibility, saying it’s not a given… but it’s an option that’s still very much in play right now.
A 23 Jump Street script is currently being put together by 22 Jump Street co-writer Rodney Rothman, with Lord and Miller overseeing the screenplay development process as producers only for the time being. 22 Jump Street‘s now-famous credits riff on the concept of future sequel-ization of the Jump Street movie franchise, but funny enough, a crossover between the Jump Street universe and another cinematic property was not one of the gags featured in that sequence.
That’s not to imply that Lord and Miller didn’t include that joke because they think it’s a good one; when MTV recently asked the duo about a Jump Street/Men in Black team-up, they flat-out called it a “crazy” suggestion. However, just because the cat’s out of the bag now – before we even know for certain if the cat and/or the bag will actually get a green-light – doesn’t mean it’s not still being considered, according to Lord.
“Nothing’s changed. It’s still a crazy idea, and we only do things that seem like they’re going to be terrible. We’re really focussing on what’s a great story for Schmidt and Jenko and how to tell the next chapter in their lives. And perhaps use creatures from another world at the same time.”
Lord and Miller have also been actively involved as producers and creative supervisors on the upcoming LEGO Movie spinoffs, while also serving as screenwriters on The LEGO Movie 2, so continuing the Jump Street franchise probably isn’t their primary concern right now. As such, there’s no guarantee yet that another Jump Street feature (one involving Men in Black or not) under their watch will, in fact, happen; as Miller told MTV:
“We’re developing a lot of things, you know. And they may or may not all happen, but that’s how the business works.”
22 Jump Street was better received than Men in Black III, but most seem to agree that both franchises should either be left alone or rebooted, after their most recent installments. However, a mashup between the two properties – potentially teaming up Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Will Smith, and Tommy Lee Jones – would indeed be an unconventional way to keeping these brands going… one that could just as easily be a hollow “cash grab” as Lord and Miller’s 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie could’ve been.
Lord and Miller’s previous films earned much critical acclaim for featuring a heartfelt story at their core, surrounded by layers of meta-humor and farcical riffs (often aimed at the movie studios and the larger filmmaking industry). So, it’s like the pair said: if there’s another “great story” to be told about Schmidt and Jenko – and it works in the context of a self-mocking Jump Street/Men in Black mashup… then maybe this “crazy idea” could give rise to a terrific film.
We’ll keep you posted on any future developments concerning the Men in Black and/or 21 Jump Street franchise.