Answers to all your questions about the Spy School Movie

Hi everyone –

I have been getting a LOT of mail lately from people wanting to know if there are any updates on the Spy School Movie.  And i realize that a lot of the posts about the movie are quite old — because this process has been going on for a very long time.  So some of the questions I’m including are the same ones I answered before, but maybe this post will become a one-stop point for learning about the movie.

Can you please give me an update on what is going on with the movie?

Sadly, there are none.  I turned my last draft into the studio on January 31, 2020.  As of this date, that was 10 1/2 months ago.  I have not heard a things from Disney since.  Part of this is due to COVID.  Few companies have been hurt as badly by the pandemic as Disney.  But still, this is an insanely long time to wait for an answer.  I know you are frustrated that things are stalled, but trust me, no one is as frustrated by this as I am.  In addition, my agents are frustrated and angry too.  I wish I had a better update for you, but I don’t.

So does this mean the movie isn’t getting made?

I really don’t know.  I suppose there is still a chance that Disney might make it.  And if they say no, then I can take it to another studio to see if they will make it.  But for right now, all I can do is wait to see what Disney has to say.

Is the movie going to stick closely to the book?

That is my plan.  I have written three drafts of the screenplay.  So far, it stays close to the book, although since it is a movie and not a book, I have made some changes.  They’re not huge, and some might be quite funny, but they were necessary.

Will there be sequels based on the other books?

Ideally, but that depends on how the first movie does.  There is a slight chance that, if Disney loves the script, they will decide to move ahead with a sequel before the first movie comes out, but I wouldn’t count on that.

Is the movie going to be live action or animated?

Live action.

Are you going to do just one book for each movie, or combined books into one movie?

The idea is to do one book per movie.

If the movie does get made, when is the absolute earliest that the movie come out?

If the movie was given the go-ahead tomorrow, it probably couldn’t start shooting for several months, and then that would take a few months, and then it would have to be edited and scored and such so… the very earliest would probably be 18 months from now — and that’s a best case scenario.  Don’t expect anything until 2022, if not later.

Is it going to be released in theaters — or could it show up on Disney Plus?

Personally, I would love for it to be released theatrically — so that’s what we are shooting for.  But the fact is, Disney needs a lot of content for Disney Plus, so that remains an option.  (Also, if it was made for Disney Plus, there is a chance that sequels could be started earlier.)

Are the characters going to look the same as I imagine them?

Probably not.  Because I have no control over how you imagine the characters.  You may have noticed that I don’t describe the characters in much detail in my books.  I leave a lot to your imagination.  Personally, I hope that the casting director selects the best possible actors for the roles and doesn’t get hung up on looks.  (You might have noticed that I never describe the ethnicity of many characters, including Ben, so personally, I’m open to most of them being any ethnicity.)  Anyhow, the chance of an actor or actress looking exactly like the way you imagine the character is virtually nonexistent.  So don’t get upset if the actors don’t look exactly as you’d hoped.

But you’re going to release a graphic novel in 2022.  After that, won’t we know what the characters look like?

No.  You will know that Anjan, the artist of the graphic novel, thinks the characters look like.  But that doesn’t mean that is what the characters have to look like.

If the movie does film, can I be in it?  I’m really good at acting.  Maybe you could tell the casting director about me?

Honestly, I won’t have any say in casting at all.  I know that might sound wrong to you, but here’s the best explanation I can give:

Actors are hired by casting directors.  That is the casting director’s job, and they train for years to do it.  So, if I were to call a casting director and say, “Hey, you should consider this kid for the movie,” that would be like the casting director coming up to me and saying, “Hey, would you mind if I wrote a chapter of your book for you?”  The casting director has their job.  I have mine.  It is not cool for me to try to tell them how to do their job.

Thus, I have no idea if there will be an open casting call or when that would even happen.  My bet is, it is unlikely.  If there is an open casting call, I will post about it on this blog.

Could you write to me personally and let me know if there is open casting?

Er…No.  I get asked this a lot and, not to sound like a jerk, but I have a lot to do.  Emailing every one of the thousands of kids (and a lot of parents) who has asked me to contact them directly would take me weeks.  I do not have time to do that.  I have books to write.

All right.  That’s the info I have right now.  Again, I really, really wish I had more of an update.  Hopefully, I will have more news soon.

In the mean time, stay safe, have a happy holiday, and keep on reading.

778 thoughts on “Answers to all your questions about the Spy School Movie

  1. Ashley-

    Zen would be interesting but personally I don’t think a good person like Ben would be interesting in a backstabber, no amount of looks could make up for that. Erica may be cold and distant but she’s also loyal and plays hard-to-get which I get the feeling Ben secretly likes. Idk I mean Ben’s not a violent person but he considered throttling Chip for interrupting the (almost) kiss scene, that says a lot about the way he feels. Surely he’d be more interested in Erica if he didn’t feel awkward with her almost kissing him rather than and didn’t feel like it was wrong like how he did when he though romantic things about Zoe and thought he was betraying Erica. Anything can happen though at this moment in the series.

  2. Ashley,

    I am well aware that Mr. Gibbs loves to shake up the plots. However, I cannot conceive a way Mr. Gibbs can bring back a strong, durable, and lasting romantic relationship with Ben and Zoe. Just as he creates plot twists, Mr. Gibbs foreshadows, too. In SSR, Ben clearly states that something is off between him and Zoe, and how their friendship will never be the same. If you cannot have a stable friendship, how can you have a romantic one? Plus, Zoe seems to betray Ben or use him to further her own agenda. This is probably a deal-breaker. Even Mike himself, an expert on females, said that Zoe should have been honest. Plus, with Erica having confirmed feelings for Ben, even hugging him when the world was not about to end, how can Ben not try to further his relationship with Erica? And if you think Trixie would be a problem, I would not count on it. As I have said before, Trixie was introduced as a new character, not a potential love interest.
    Simply, I do not feel Zen would happen. You can still hope, dream, or write Fan Fictions. But as long as the series continues, I highly doubt Zen will become a reality.

  3. Oh! And the reason I apply so much logic into this is because Mr. Gibbs’ novels are extremely realistic. Once you get passed the bases of the Academy of Espionage and move on, you will find undeniable similarities between the characters, yourself, and others. For example, in SS, Ben has to go to the bathroom during a mission. I would like to see that in a James Bond movie. Also, Ben plays a relatable character. He is not some paladin who is untouchable, rather an intelligent Jr. Agent who has level 16 math skills and lousy physical/coordinated attributes in combat.
    When you apply the relationship dynamics, you would find yourself dwelling over how common such feelings are. It is true the mind of a teenage girl is trickier than defusing a bomb (no offense), and Mr. Gibbs plays everything perfectly into the perspective of a teenage boy. To be honest, sometimes I forget the entire thing was written by Mr. Gibbs and believe Ben is a real person. So, I would not say Zen is 100% squashed (sure close, though), just seemingly impossible to relate to. Thus, the confirmation of Zen probably would make it the most startling twist in the entire series.

  4. Ashley Sparks –

    I am telling the SS stories that seem the most interesting to me. The truth is that, after the first book, where I dealt with a decent amount of school and class, the idea of showing Ben in class more just seemed like it would be boring and repetitive. The whole idea of Spy School to me — really — was to send ben on missions.

  5. Mr. Gibbs,

    Do you read the comments even if they are not a question or directed toward you? It is okay if you do not. I totally understand that you are busy and have other things to do that have higher priority then our comments. Also, I truly appreciate you taking time off of your day to answer our questions. Thank you!

  6. Yeah, Mr. Gibbs is awesome. He must be so busy, with answering our questions, sending emails, writing books, and being a parent! I love how he is so dedicated to his fans. He is the only author that I know of who shows this much dedication.

  7. Stu-

    I’ve been told many times that the reason Ben doesn’t age(E.X. He has like 2 missions per month) in the books is because of Spy Camp happens each summer and his birthday is in summer, is this true?

  8. Aiden-

    I was hesitating to ask this question, but my curiosity got the best of me. In what part of SSGS did you find the “mature” joke? You can just refer to where you saw it, rather than post the actual joke here. I just wanted to see if I had missed it.

  9. Aiden –

    If I age Ben too quickly, the series no longer counts as Middle Grade and starts to become Young Adult — which I am in no rush to have happen. Although it also makes sense for the missions to happen close together. (He does not have 2 missions per month. It’s more like one every month or two.)

    And for the record, he does age. You can track the passage of time easily in the books, as each chapter gives a date. Ben’s birthday is in June, and soon, it will be his birthday again.

  10. Capybara-
    It was a joke when Emma Mathes was flirting with Mike and made a comment when he said he’s 100% percent Farkles but she’s only there because of marriage, it’s at the bottom of page 158, hard cover (Idk if the page are different or something with certain types of them because i’ve run into the problem before, so somewhere around 158 if not) (It’s not really “mature” but younger kids might not get it although you know these days get it (i.e. 8 or 9)

    Stu- Okay, thanks! I appreciate you answering my question.

  11. Oh! Okay, I appreciate you answering my question. I never really thought that as mature, more like oddly humorous in context. What really stood out to me is that Mike’s Emma and Jemma dilemmas are pretty significant to the plot near the end of the novel.

  12. Well yeah I only think it’s funny because of jokes going around on social media about stuff like what she mentions actually happening

  13. if the act will be live action will there be kissing?
    and is the movie rated pg and pg-13??

    oh and I love the books you write!!!

  14. There is not any kissing in the first book; therefore there will be no kissing in the movie.

    I do not know what it will be rated yet. No one knows what a movie will be rated until the MPAA gives it a rating.

  15. Stu-

    When you say you block people, what actually happens to them? Like are they banned from the website or just can’t write comments?

  16. Poll Time Stu Crew!

    Which do YOU think is the main setting of SS9?

    1. Academy of Espionage/Spy School

    2. Nicaragua

    3. Antarctica

    4. Amazon Rainforest

    5. A Plane

  17. It would be so cool if another book or some part of the movie was in Erica’s point of view. Like even if a book was rewritten but in Erica’s point of view instead that would be great.

  18. Capybara-
    Most likely 2 or 3 based off SSR’s ending, but of course I think Mr. Gibbs will surprise us with a new location. it just seems too obvious to be the actual setting of the next book. I think I’d rather have the location just be something new or unexpected versus being any of those options, but yeah 2 and 3 are the most likely in my opinion (out of those).

  19. Capybara is a Happybara-
    I think around 80% of the book will be in various parts of South America, most likely in Nicaragua. Or the whole Murray pebble thing could be a total red herring and we could end up in Greenland. I really ahve no idea, but my best guess is S. America, and probably at least a little in the school

  20. No I wasn’t saying there should be a crossover, I was just wondering if they were walking in generally the same place, albeit 400 years apart. 🙂

  21. Aiden –

    When I block people, they simply can’t post on here any more unless I let them do it.

  22. stephen tian –

    It is hard to know how long a movie will be until you film and edit it, but i am guessing it would be around 90-120 minutes long.

  23. I know that SS9 definitely won’t be in Antarctica, because on January 4, 2021 at 8:06 am, Biggest Spy School Fan ever said

    “You should really name the next Spy School Book, Spy School : Antarctic Attack”

    and then on January 4, 2021 at 8:49 am
    Stu said

    “Biggest Spy School Fan Ever –
    I can’t take suggestions from readers — especially about titles. In fact, the title is always the last thing I write, not the first. For example, ‘Antarctic Attack’ really only works if the story takes place in Antarctica. And it doesn’t.”

    They said that at

    I’m pretty sure that Stu accidentally revealed that, because he knew and just forgot that we didn’t know. Or maybe he told Biggest Spy School Fan Ever on purpose. I’m not sure. Whatever the case, now we know that it won’t take place in Antarctica! So that means that it will most likely take place in Nicaragua.

    Stu- did you reveal it on purpose or no?

  24. Alexander Hale –

    As I have already tried to make clear, I revealed that on purpose. I actually thought about it for a long time, because I was afraid I would have to spend the next few days confirming whether or not I did it on purpose. But I decided to do it anyhow. Now I kind of regret it.

  25. As you all know, Mr. Gibbs does not like to be repetitive in plots. Antarctica was a large part of the plot in SSGS, so it is likely SS9 will take place elsewhere.
    Alexander, I believe Mr. Gibbs has already answered whether or not he has revealed this on purpose. I actually take part of the blame for instigating the possibility that Antarctica was a possible location. For that, I am sorry.
    And for those of you who think it will take place in Nicaragua, there is a large chance it will not. Mr. Gibbs is known for his plot twists. Since the classified document at the end of SSR stated investigations have begun in Nicaragua, it is believable that Ben and the others will travel there, but have their flight (or other mode of transport) averted.
    All in all, we will have to wait for SS9 to be published. There are far too many questions and plot points to answer.

  26. Sorry the ? was supposed to be a laughing emoji.
    I really think though that’s it will take place in a different option, like maybe Australia?
    But here are some bonus options to add to Capybara
    6. Australia
    7. Germany
    8. Undisclosed Location
    9. North/South Pole

  27. Also Stu-
    I know from FJ and MBA that you have mentioned your kids names. But do they ever give suggestions for plots or help with the books?

  28. I mean there was that squirrel monkey detail at the end, squirrel monkeys live in tropical rainforests of South America

  29. Aiden-

    You see, the classified letter was sent to Director of Central and South America Affairs | CIA. Even if Ben and the others do not go to Nicaragua, the Director of CSAA can still give _____ a squirrel monkey “through diplomatic channels”. And who knows? Maybe Erica receives the monkey and uses it on the mission. So, there are several counterarguments to all of our predictions.

  30. you know what would be cool, if all of Stu’s books took place in the same universe like ben might find the moon base alpha construction plans of find a file about Teddy cracking one of his cases.

  31. Mike B –

    Yes, my kids occasionally give suggestions for plots — and they help edit the books too.

  32. Hi, Mr. Gibs I love your book’s but, I was wondering, I really want the next FunJungle book out instead of the lost city.(if you agree pls. right down below)

  33. best books ever –

    It is impossible to switch the release dates of the books, in part because I am still doing final edits on Bear Bottom. It is a race to get those done and have the book printed in time for its release in May.

    Rest assured, though, that I worked really, really hard on Charlie Thorne and the Lost City and I think people will really like it.

  34. When do you plan on releasing the title, cover, and synapsis of ss9? If I remember correctly u released this info on ss8 around this time last year.

  35. Reads 2 many bookd –

    I do not know when I am going to release info on SS9. Stay calm. It will happen.

  36. Mr. Gibbs,

    In SSSS, Ashley says “boron,” but we, the audience, receive no breakdown of the word. If you can please clarify, what does it mean?

    P.S. I think it might be a mature joke, but that may be my mind going into young adult mode 😉

    For all I know, it could be “bully + moron”.

  37. Capybara –

    Given that you have read SSSS much more recently than me, it would help if you gave me the page that word occurs on.

    Obviously, there are several possibilities, but ‘bully + moron’ is certainly a good guess.

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