It was last March (as in, 2015) that we first learned about Fox’s plans to remake Alien Nation, when Iron Man scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway signed on to write the screenplay for the new film based on the bizarre 1988 sci-fi buddy cop comedy. With his latest film (and second of 2016) debuting at TIFF, director Jeff Nichols is coming aboard the Alien Nation remake, for which he’ll also deliver a new screenplay.

According to Deadline, Marcum and Holloway’s script is out as Nichols is in the process of cutting a deal with Fox to write and direct Alien Nation. The original 1988 film, though memorable, was hardly a classic (and not nearly as good as alien-human buddy cop thriller The Hidden, released in ’87): Directed by Graham Baker (The Final Conflict), Alien Nation takes place in a not-too-distant future in which aliens have immigrated to Earth and formed an uneasy relationship with humans, who keep the newcomers segregated and refuse to grant them the same rights afforded to natural-born citizens (yes, like District 9).

The film starred James Caan as a racist cop who is paired with an extraterrestrial partner (Mandy Patinkin, bless him), and the two are forced to overcome their superficial differences in order to solve a difficult case. Although mediocre at best, Alien Nation had good intentions (clearly) and went on to inspire a short-lived TV series.

With a deft approach, the remake could be a timely, socially conscious project for our current political climate — something Nichols knows a bit about, having recently helmed Loving, based on the true story of an interracial couple imprisoned for getting married in 1958 Virginia. That film stars Joel Edgerton and Preacher’s Ruth Negga, and hits theaters on November 4.