Sony has officially announced a Men in Black spinoff film that’s set to be released in the summer of 2019. While there hasn’t been a film in the main Men in Black series since Men in Black 3 back in 2012, the series itself remains relevant thanks to long-held plans by Sony to make a Men in Black/21 Jump Street crossover film, titled MIB 23. However, 21 Jump Street star Jonah Hill cast doubt on the likelihood of such a film ever being made late last year, leaving some fans wondering if such a bold endeavor was simply not meant to be.

The announcement of a currently-untitled Men in Black spinoff seems to confirm that Sony has at least put MIB 23 on the backburner for the moment. Instead the studio has opted to focus on expanding the Men in Black world and seemingly embracing the shared universe approach that so many studios are opting for in today’s cinematic landscape.

Related: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About the Men in Black

Per Deadline, Sony officially announced that the untitled Men in Black spinoff will arrive in theaters on May 17, 2019. The film has enlisted Matt Holloway and Art Marcum (Transformers: The Last Knight) to write the script, while Steven Spielberg will serve as an executive producer. A director has yet to be found, but Sony is meeting with potential candidates and expects to hire someone soon.

Will Smith in Men in Black Men in Black Spinoff Officially Set for Summer 2019 Release

The story of the untitled Men in Black spinoff will focus on new characters who work for the eponymous group that protects the planet from alien threats, and the film is expected to inhabit a more global scale when compared to previous entries. Naturally, this means that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’ characters are not expected to appear, though the film will reportedly not ignore the events of the main franchise.

With the release date less than two years away, it’s obvious that Sony is intent on fast tracking production on the spinoff, which leads to questions over the future of the main franchise itself. At one point, producers hinted that any potential Men in Black 4 film would feature a female agent taking up the lead role. Is that possibility still on the table or could the spinoff possibly absorb that plotline for its own uses? With the amount of information currently available, there’s no way to be certain either way.

Regardless, the untitled Men in Black spinoff film could prove to be an unpopular idea amongst fans of the franchise, given how many reboots and spinoffs are currently circulating. This is especially true since it’s been so long since a proper Men in Black film has released, which could very well hinder the spinoff film’s run at the box office. Stranger things have happened, however, and Sony has plenty of time before 2019 to try and win over fans’ hearts and minds to the idea of a Smith and Jones-less Men in Black film.

NEXT: Men in Black Director Lied to Get Will Smith Cast

The untitled Men in Black film arrives May 17th, 2019.

Source: Deadline

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