Despite the practically catastrophic damage done to Sony Pictures' reputation over the past few months, they still have their fair share of well-regarded franchises. A few hours ago, The Wrap reported that Sony's idea for a crossover between the 21 Jump Street and Men in Black series has officially been greenlit.
In addition to the crossover, what Variety describes as a "female-driven spinoff" of 21 Jump Street is also in development. The spin off is set to be written by Lucia Aniello and Paul Downs, the writers of famous webseries Broad City. All of this is being made with the intention of a 21 Jump Street shared universe (this is Sony we're talking about after all).
So far, there is no word if any of the cast members, or the writing/directing team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller will return.
At first glance, many would argue that this is a terrible idea. Sony has already proven with the underwhelming Amazing Spider-Man franchise that they cannot properly handle doing a shared universe. From plans for an Aunt May movie to a rushed Sinister Six project, it is clear that Sony's idea of a shared universe is one that not too many people agree with. They even wanted to do a "female-driven spinoff" for that franchise too. Add to this their preposterous plans for a Robin Hood and Ghostbusters shared universe, and it is easy for one to have little faith in a 21 Jump Street Cinematic Universe.
On the other hand, you could also argue that the satirical nature of the Jump Street movies could lampoon the very concept of a shared universe while partaking in one. The Jump Street movies are comedies, and a crossover with Men in Black could lead to quirky, absurd and hilarious results in the right hands. Imagine all of the ways that Jenko and Schmidt could interact with Agent J and Agent K.
Both 21 Jump Street and Men in Black are buddy cop films, and both have a mismatched pair of characters working together to solve the case. Agent K's smart, serious demeanor could be a great comedic foil to Jenko's frat boy nature. At the same time, Agent J's smooth-talking and outgoing personality could bounce off Schmidt's awkward behavior quite well. Hopefully, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones will reprise their roles as agent J and K respectively, as will Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.
The idea for a female-driven 21 Jump Street film, as cash-grabbing as it sounds, isn't too far fetched either. In the first Jump Street movie, a team of female undercover cops named Fugazy and Jr. Jr. (seen in the clip above) served as rivals to Jenko and Schmidt. They didn't do much in the film, but that doesn't mean their characters can't be expanded more. Considering that Fugazy is played by Dakota Johnson, an actress that's been getting a lot of buzz recently, it's safe to assume that Sony will have faith in the spinoff.
Still though, the whole thing seems like kind of a stretch, and Sony's bad habit of executive meddling can ruin the whole project. If done right though, we may just have another classic on our hands. Who knows if this shared universe will even see the light of day? All we can do is wait and see what Sony does next.