The future of Sony’s 21 Jump Street franchise may be going in a very different direction from the first two movies, according to emails leaked as part of last week’s hacking of Sony Enterprises. Did anyone imagine that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum could be facing off against aliens in the third installment?
Emails from Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal released as part of the leak discuss the possibility of merging the successful comedy franchise with the studio’s Men in Black franchise, last seen in 2012’s Men in Black 3. The Wall Street Journal quotes an email from Hill to Pascal calling the idea “clean and rad and powerful,” although Columbia Pictures production president Hannah Minghella points out that “we don’t have a script yet so we’ll be greenlighting the movie off the concept and the talent involved.”
That talent would include Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who directed both 2012’s 21 Jump Street and this year’s follow-up, 22 Jump Street and would act as producers on this project should it move forward. According to the emails, neither Will Smith nor Tommy Lee Jones, co-leads of the Men in Black movies to date, would be involved.
The crossover is an idea that has been considered, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, but the project has not been greenlighted.
Should the crossover go ahead, it would not only represent an unexpected turn toward genre for the Jump Street series (although, really, how much fun could be had by turning that franchise into a modern-day Abbott and Costello Meet …?), but also the laying of the groundwork for a shared movie universe for the studio, a la the successful Marvel Studios model.
While Sony is working to expand its Spider-Man license into a multi-series franchise, this secondary crossover might be considered insurance should the studio ever lose the web-slinger back to Marvel. (It’s worth noting that, technically, Men in Black is also a Marvel property, having been created and published by Malibu Studios, which was purchased by Marvel in the mid-’90s.)
Borys Kit contributed to this report.