EXCLUSIVE: The Men in Black are back. Sony Pictures has fast tracked a spinoff of its billion-dollar alien franchise. The studio today will stake out a May 17, 2019, release date for an untitled film that has a script by Matt Holloway & Art Marcum, the writers of Iron Man and Transformers: The Last Knight.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones aren’t expected to reprise, but the film acknowledges and builds on the world they inhabited. Holloway & Marcum have scripted a contemporary sci-fi pic about the black-clad secret force that protects earth from the alien scum of the universe, focusing on new characters chasing villains that put the picture on more of a global scale than the two previous films. The ambition is akin to the way that Jurassic World rebooted and expanded that franchise. The MiB spinoff film is being produced by Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. They are actively involved in meeting with top directors right now and expect to land one quickly.

Image Courtesy of Sony

The project is a surprise, because it was expected that the next Men in Black movie would be a mashup with another Sony Pictures hit franchise, 21 Jump Street, with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s characters donning the black suits. That idea remains in development, but the spinoff is moving quickly and will come first. Sony, which separately is rebooting its Charlie’s Angels reboot with Elizabeth Banks directing and Kristen Stewart and Lupita Nyong’o in talks.

The studio also is moving on multiple fronts with its Spider-Man universe, working simultaneously on a Phil Lord & Christopher Miller-scripted animated film for Christmas 2018, as well as the Ruben Fleischer-directed Tom Hardy-Michelle Williams starrer Venom to be released October 5, 2018, and Silver & Black, with Gina Prince-Bythewood directing the two female superheroes in the Spidey universe for February 8, 2019. There is also the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, with Jon Watts directing Tom Holland and the Zendaya-led ensemble. That will be released July 5, 2019.

Parkes confirmed the Men in Black spinoff. “It’s so rare to get to the end of the script and know you’re holding a movie in your hands, but Art and Matt have written a spinoff that somehow is true to the core of the MiB world and yet expands the franchise to a fresh new place,” he said.

David Beaubaire is overseeing for Sony.