How Channing Tatum And Jonah Hill’s 21 Jump Street Was Going To Crossover With Men In Black, According To Phil Lord And Chris Miller

Side by side images of Will Smith in Men In Black and Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street
(Image credit: Sony)

We all know Hollywood loves a good (and sometimes not-so-good) crossover. But for every unexpected mash-up of movies or characters, there are probably a few that never made it to the big screen. One notorious example is the now-abandoned crossover between Men in Black and 21 Jump Street. While we’ll never get to see Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill suit up and wipe memories with the MIB, Phil Lord and Chris Miller have offered some insights into what the film might have been like. 

In 2012, 21 Jump Street became the rare TV-to-movie adaptation that was actually good. It was also a big enough hit to spawn a 2014 sequel and, soon after that, rumors of a potentially wild crossover with another major franchise: Men In Black. The plans for combining the two seemingly uncombinable stories eventually fizzled. But Jump Street co-director Phil Lord revealed on the Happy Sad Confused Podcast that it got a lot closer to becoming a reality than you might think:

It's true that there have been… a lot of these things have been developed. There was, believe it or not, a Men In Black/Jump Street crossover script that was very funny and very crazy that we really adored. … Basically, the idea was that Jonah and Channing, a thing happened while they were doing their medical school adventure that got them embroiled into the world of Men In Black and they ended up sort of teaming up to stop an alien takeover type of thing. It was very funny, it was crazy, trying to sort of like manage these two franchises and not drive them both into the ground seemed like a real challenge. It was very, very close [to happening].

Believe it or not, the efforts to make a 21 Jump Street/Men in Black flick got so far that there were even rumors of a director being hired for the project. And Chris Miller said they bandied about some pretty funny ways to expand the MIB universe to fit Channing Tatum and Jonah Hills’ hapless undercover cops: 

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 guys] were issued powered blue Men In Black suits.

Okay, that does sound pretty funny. But by 2019, the plans for the movie were permanently scrapped. Phil Lord and Chris Miller eventually revealed the 21 Jump Street/Men In Black crossover failed because the worlds were deemed too different to make sense together in a film. Sadly, they may have salvaged both film series from a mashup that just wouldn’t have worked, but neither has thrived in the years since. 

Sony attempted a reboot with Men In Black: International, but it failed to resonate with fans. And we’re still waiting to see what happens next with the Jump Street series – it’s been years since there was news about a female-fronted spin-off. While we can’t expect to see either of these series coming back any time soon, at least there are plenty of other 2022 new movie releases to look forward to. 

Katherine Webb