The upcoming "Men in Black" spinoff is one step closer to happening, with director F. Gary Gray reportedly in talks to helm the flick.

That's the word from Deadline, which reports that the "Fate of the Furious" director is currently negotiating a deal to take on the project. According to the trade, Sony is eager to relaunch the hugely successful "MIB" series, and landing Gray is a big step toward securing the future of the franchise.

While the studio has been looking for a way to get the "Men in Black" back in theaters for some time, the recent idea to take Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill's "21 Jump Street" characters and place them in the "MIB" universe has taken a back seat (for now, anyway). Instead, this specific project will adhere closer to the original "MIB" source material (the comic book series written by Lowell Cunningham and Sandy Carruthers), and keep the focus squarely on "a covert force policing the alien population hiding in plain sight," per Deadline.

Deadline is comparing this spinoff to "Jurassic World," keeping the spirit of the original film alive while essentially rebooting the series with a new cast for a new generation. Neither Will Smith nor Tommy Lee Jones -- the original "Men" -- are expected to return.

We're curious to see what Gray's eclectic background can bring to this flick, and eager to see who Sony snags as its leads. The film -- previously set for a May 2019 release date -- is now scheduled to hit theaters on June 14, 2019.

[via: Deadline]