“I feel the need, the need for speed!” As an 80s child, I have seen Top Gun at least a few dozen times, possibly more. It was my first introduction to Tom Cruise and sparked my fasciation with military aircraft (I must also give partial credit to the lesser known film Iron Eagle for also feeding my addiction).
Nearly three decades later, my eyes have been opened up to the thick layers of “cheese” spread all over the film, but my childhood love for the film has not ceased. And it looks as though movie producers are hoping that nostalgia reigns supreme as the development of a Top Gun sequel continues to advance. During a press junket for the upcoming film Terminator: Genisys, Skydance CEO David Ellison revealed his choice to star in the film and some plot details for the upcoming film.
It wouldn’t be a Top Gun film without Maverick, so we’re happy to hear that Ellison agrees. “There is an amazing role for Maverick in the movie and there is no Top Gun without Maverick, and it is going to be Maverick playing Maverick,” said Ellison. But of course this won’t be the same Maverick that went ballistic while in his 20s with the admiral’s daughter or the one that was threatened with the prospects of flying rubber dog poop out of Hong Kong. Instead, this will be a more hardened Maverick, perhaps taking on a fatherly role as seen by Tom Skerritt’s portrayal of Viper in the original film.
“When you look at the world of dogfighting, what’s interesting about it is that it’s not a world that exists to the same degree when the original movie came out,” Ellison adds. “It is very much a world we live in today where it’s drone technology and fifth generation fighters are really what the United States Navy is calling the last man-made fighter that we’re actually going to produce so it’s really exploring the end of an era of dogfighting and fighter pilots and what that culture is today are all fun things that we’re gonna get to dive into in this movie.”
Given the rise of how important the use of drones has become in the past decade to the U.S. military, this is a rather interesting avenue to explore. Drones allow pilots to be many miles away from the battlefield without putting themselves in harm’s way. But we all know that Maverick wouldn’t be satisfied unless he was sitting in the cockpit “keeping up with foreign relations.”
The big question that remains, however, is which aircraft will Maverick pilot in the sequel. In the original Top Gun, Maverick’s ride was the variable-angle-winged Grumman F-14 Tomcat. This time around, it seems more likely that Maverick would be taking the controls of the Lockheed F-35C Lightning II — the U.S. Navy’s version of the still in development, over-budget, and problem-plagued Joint Strike Fighter.
The screenplay for the Top Gun sequel is being written by Justin Marks, whose previous writing credits include 2009’s Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and a few short films in the early 2000s. Let’s just hope that Marks’ writing chops have advanced well beyond what were on display in the awful Street Fighter film, although it shouldn’t be too hard to one-up the writing of the original Top Gun.