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23 Jump Street - Will It Ever Happen?

Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the comedy-centric minds behind "The Lego Movie" and "Clone High," took on a fondly remembered TV show and turned it into a ridiculously silly and thoroughly self-aware big-screen comedy with "21 Jump Street." This send-up of movie remakes is based on the late 1980s Fox show, which has the absurd premise of young adult police detectives posing as teens to bust high school crime. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill play the super-cops in the film, who are maybe just a little too old to re-enroll in a high school under fake names to break up a drug ring (and subsequently deal with identity crises). 

The film was a huge commercial and critical hit, and inspired a sequel — humorously titled "22 Jump Street," of course — with much of the same cast and crew on board. This time, Tatum and Hill's characters, Jenko and Schmidt, get way too comfortable as undercover college students. But a decade has passed since the "Jump Street" movies hit theaters, and a trilogy-completing third entry in the series has yet to materialize. Here's why we've never gotten to see the film that would presumably be titled "23 Jump Street."

Why isn't 23 Jump Street happening yet?

After two successful "Jump Street" cinematic outings, star Jonah Hill pitched Sony a high-concept idea for a third movie: A crossover with the "Men in Black" franchise. Details of the project became public when Sony's email system was hacked and leaked in 2014. "The Muppets" director James Bobin was set to helm the project from a screenplay by "22 Jump Street" writer Rodney Rothman. While Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum probably would've reprised their roles as detectives Schmidt and Jenko and helped government agents defeat an extraterrestrial menace, the project's plot elements were kept secret. They seem likely to stay that way, too, as the film never made it past the planning stage. 

"I had the idea, but I doubt that movie will get made," Hill told the Postmedia Network (via the Toronto Sun) in 2016. "It's too complicated. They're trying to make all the deals, but it's kind of impossible with all the 'Men in Black' stuff." Such a big-budget blockbuster could've also damaged the comic integrity of the first two "Jump Street" movies. "The whole joke of them was they were making fun of remakes and sequels and reboots," Hill explained, "and then now it's become a giant sequel, reboot. It's almost become what we were making fun of."

What Christopher Miller and Phil Lord have said about 23 Jump Street

While promoting "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," the second labor-intensive entry in their first big post-"Jump Street" franchise, filmmakers Christopher Miller and Phil Lord discussed the details of the "Men in Black" crossover and why it went wrong. "It was a cool idea. I think most likely that opportunity has passed, but it was very fun," Miller told Rolling Stone. "It was a crazy thing to try. One of those things where, if it works, it's incredible. And if it doesn't, you can take down two franchises. And so you know, the pressure was very high."

In 2022, Lord told the podcast "Happy Sad Confused" about how they'd planned to execute the sequel tentatively titled "MiB23." "The idea was Jonah [Hill] and Channing [Tatum], a thing happened while they were doing their medical school adventure that got them embroiled into the world of 'Men in Black' and that got them teaming up to stop an alien takeover type of thing." Miller added, "One of my favorite ideas was the 'Men in Black,' the Black Suits were like martial arts belts that you had to work your way up to black and [the 'Jump Street' detectives] were issued powdered blue 'Men in Black' suits."

What the cast has said about 23 Jump Street

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are good friends. It follows, then, that they probably had a good time making two "Jump Street" movies together, and would be up for a sequel. But in fact, while both actors are open to the possibility of a "23 Jump Street," they have doubts about whether it's a good idea, and wonder if the moment has passed. "They think they want another 'Jump Street,' but they don't," Hill told VMAN. "It would just be me and Channing talking about his hip, my shoulder, and the medications that we're on.

Tatum, however, seems ready to roll on "23 Jump Street" if it's rebooted in an untraditional way. "I guess you never say never," he told Vanity Fair about the sequel's prospects. "Me and Jonah did say that we would only make the movie if we could do 'The Fugitive,' shot for shot. Like, line for line."

Whatever happens, third "Jump Street" lead Ice Cube is ready to return to the franchise. "I had a good time with Jonah Hill, Channing, we had fun. I think people liked the films, people like Captain Dickson," he told PopCulture. "If they call me, I'll jump in there and do it again."

What could be explored in 23 Jump Street?

"22 Jump Street" is a very self-aware sequel. This satirical streak comes to a head when a long montage featuring jokey continuations to the series plays over the closing credits. Faux plans to take the franchise all the way to "43 Jump Street" (and then to the futuristic "2121 Jump Street") are showcased, complete with plot-teasing subtitles including "Medical School," "Foreign Exchange," "Arts School," "Ninja Academy," "Scuba Class," "Dance Academy," and "Mariachi School." 

Allegedly, a script Rodney Rothman worked on for the never-produced "23 Jump Street" actually would have incorporated every one of those facetious sequels. However, in 2022, according to a now-deleted tweet, director Qmars Mootab claimed to have been hired to direct "23 Jump Street" from a script by Michael Bacall, which found Jenko and Schmidt working undercover in a business park home to an illegal whiskey smuggling operation.

These concepts never progressed. Soon, it looked like a spin-off movie featuring female leads would be the next entry in the film series. This film entered the early stages of development at Sony under the name "24 Jump Street." That film later evolved into the numberless "Jump Street: Now for Her Pleasure," which, like every other potential sequel and spin-off idea, never rolled before actual cameras.

Who would star in 23 Jump Street?

If filmmakers opt for a direct sequel to "21 Jump Street" and "22 Jump Street," there's little chance they'll do it without Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Other actors who popped up in both original films are also likely to show up in the trilogy-maker, including Nick Offerman as Deputy Chief Hardy, Ice Cube as Captain Dickson, and at least one performer from the "21 Jump Street" TV series turning in a cameo, as Dustin Nguyen, Holly Robinson Peete, and Johnny Depp did for the previous movies. As Tatum revealed to VMAN, he even has a casting suggestion for a future "Jump Street" sequel: his "The Lost City" co-star Brad Pitt. "Brad in this movie is hilarious. If we ever do 'Jump Street 3,' we have to — I'm telling you, he's comic gold."

If producers decide to follow through on plans for a spin-off following female detectives, tentatively titled "Jump Street: Now for Her Pleasure," they'd have to bring in new actors to replace Tatum and Hill. In 2018, Collider reported that Tiffany Haddish had entered negotiations with Sony to top-line this "Jump Street" movie. At this point, Awkwafina sat atop Sony's shortlist of actors to portray Haddish's partner. By spring 2019, however, Zendaya had emerged as the frontrunner for the co-lead spot. Of course, there's been no real movement on the film since then, so we're not sure if we'll ever see Zendaya and Haddish partner up for a new "Jump Street" adventure.