Despite last summer's 22 Jump Street ending with a hilarious post-credits sequence that seemingly rendered any potential follow-up obsolete, franchise-starved Sony is in fact moving forward with 23 Jump Street. Whether this project simply continues the misadventures of Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), or sees our favorite undercover cops team up with the Men in Black remains to be seen, but it is a film that will be coming down the pipeline nonetheless.
A big reason why the first two installments were so successful critically and commercially was the comic sensibilities of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Since they've demonstrated a knack for handling this kind of material two times over, fans are probably hoping they'll be back behind the camera for the third entry. However, it looks like the duo will only be on board as producers and nothing more.
Speaking with /Film, Miller provided an update on the project, which included how involved he and Lord will be this time around:
“We are hard at work on 23 Jump Street, which I think we will probably just produce from a time standpoint. We’ve been working really hard. We’ve got a really good first draft of a script in and we’re really excited about it.”
In all honesty, this should not come as a surprise. In the time since 22 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie (which Lord and Miller also directed) became acclaimed box office smashes, the two have been among the most in-demand talents in Hollywood. In a relatively short amount of time they've accumulated a full dance card, which includes writing Warner Bros.' The Flash solo movie, penning an animated Spider-Man movie for Sony, and the little task of directing Lucasfilm's young Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film (among several other commitments). They simply don't have the time for a more hands-on role in 23 Jump Street.
As disappointing as this may be for fans, it makes sense professionally for Lord and Miller to pursue other options. Having already played in this sandbox twice (mocking the very concept of a big sequel in 22 Jump Street), they probably want to broaden their horizons and try their hands at something new. At the same time, that should be equally as exciting for moviegoers, as seeing the duo put their unique spin on something like a space adventure or superhero tale presents numerous possibilities for fresh and entertaining stories - as opposed to running the risk of the Jump Street premise going stale on them.
Of course, there's always the possibility Lord and Miller reverse course and return to direct, but the smart money would be betting against that. Even if a new Jump Street film is in early development, Sony would prefer to get it out sooner rather than later, and with the Han Solo spinoff already having a May 2018 release date, the production schedules for the two films could clash. In all likelihood, Jump Street fans will be seeing a new filmmaker take the reins.
The $1 million question now becomes who will take Lord and Miller's place in the director's chair for the Jump Street franchise. That the duo is staying on as producers is comforting, but given their busy schedule they may not be available to oversee the entire process. If that's the case, then the new helmsman will become an even more important figure in the film's development, as they'll most likely have more of a say in what happens in 23 Jump Street. Everyone's aware that comedy sequels are a tricky beast to tame, so it's paramount for Sony to find somebody who is just as skilled as Lord and Miller in that department (no easy task).
We'll keep you updated on 23 Jump Street as more information becomes available.