A sequel to 21 Jump Street entered development before the first movie opened in theaters, back when many a person (well, save for Screen Rant's Kofi Outlaw) was skeptical about a quirky buddy action-comedy based on a outdated 1980s TV series and pairing Channing Tatum with Jonah Hill. How things have changed, now that 21 Jump Street is regarded by many to be The Surprise Hit of 2012.
We found out last week that Sony will released the 21 Jump Street sequel (official title TBD) in theaters by 2014; today, we have an update that includes a more specific time frame for the theatrical release, in addition to details about who is directing, the story and returning cast members (as well as the potential for many a new face).
21 Jump Street producer Neal H. Moritz, who is currently doing interviews for next month's Fast & Furious 6, spoke to Collider and confirmed that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are coming back to call the shots on the sequel:
"They are attached to direct the movie, we’re actively developing the script with them. Right now, we got a first draft that we’re pleased and the second draft is coming along. We’re supposed to start shooting in late September, early October."
Suffice it to say, Lord and Miller returning on the sequel is welcome news, given how essential the duo was in shaping 21 Jump Street as an ingenious hodgepodge of raunchy action-comedy, self-satire, tender buddy tale and witty examination of modern high school life. The timing works out nicely too, as the animation process for Lord and Miller's The Lego Movie will be ongoing when the two set to work on the next 21 Jump Street movie; hence, they should be available.
Moritz also confirmed that the sequel will followup on the final scene in 21 Jump Street, which set the stage for Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) to get entangled in new deranged hijinks at a local college. No doubt, Hill and his co-screenwriter on the first movie, Michael Bacall (who also wrote Project X), have ideas for the wild mayhem that ensues, but Moritz promises they will also continue to develop the series' "heart" (i.e. Schmidt and Jenko's relationship):
"[The '21 Jump Street' sequel] leads off where we ended the last film and our guys are going to college... Now they’re actual partners, so they’re married – what happens once marriage starts? In certain ways, it’s kind of like the Seven Year Itch of police buddy comedies. What worked so well about the first one was – it was funny, yes, there was good action, yes – but really what worked more than anything was that there was great heart. That’s the thing we’ve been working really hard on, just try and make sure that the heart of the first one is there for the second one. "
Moritz went on to confirm that Ice Cube will reprise as Schmidt and Jenko's scene-stealing boss, Captain Dickson, and that he wouldn't be the only familiar face in the supporting cast; though, the producer also mentioned "we're going to add quite a few people." It sounds as though the plan is to significantly increase the number of cameos in comparison to the first movie, which did feature brief appearances by such people as Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and original 21 Jump Street-er Johnny Depp, among others.
That leaves the door open for Brie Larson to return as Molly, who could feasibly be in college by the time the 21 Jump Street sequel picks up; the same holds true for some of the other high school students from the first movie - save, perhaps, for the incarcerated Eric (Dave Franco). Mind you, that's not to say the sequel should go in that direction - much less bring back any of the aforementioned characters for a significant role - but it's certainly a possibility.
Moving on - the next 21 Jump Street is being prepped to release during the prime summer blockbuster season, and will have a larger budget to boot; though, Moritz doesn't expect that to affect the final product too much:
"Yes, but I don’t think that’s the make or break of the movie, honestly. We will have more money but I don’t think people will come into 21 Jump Street to see the action. I think the action needs to be good and will be good but it’s not like Fast and the Furious – when they come to see Fast and the Furious they’re expecting big action. What they’re expecting here is good, funny movie with a great combination of Channing and Jonah, with a lot of heart. And that’s what we hope to deliver – but there will be action as well."
So long as there's something on par with an exploding chicken truck (warning: that link is NSFW!), it's all good by me.
Look for the 21 Jump Street sequel in theaters by Summer 2014.