It’s been just over 30 years since Tom Cruise last flew across our screens as Maverick, his super awesome pilot from Top Gun. Of course, in those past three decades, plenty has changed: Cruise, for one, is no longer the spry, fresh-faced, 23-year-old flyboy he once was. For two, we are definitely not fighting the, um, Soviets any longer. For three, on today's big screens, airplane pilots < spaceship pilots, as George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, and Oscar Isaac all know. In fact, Cruise himself should know, having flown future spacecraft in 2013's Oblivion.
Not that any of that seems to have stemmed Cruise’s enthusiasm for the film’s newly announced sequel, which he gleefully confirmed was on its way on Tuesday during an interview on the Australian TV show Sunrise. “It’s true,” he said no less than four times. “It’s definitely happening.”
Now 54 and heavily torsoed, Cruise might not be able to squeeze into his leather aviator jacket of yore, though he has proven himself quite adept at midlife crisis roles as of late, most notably as Stacee Jaxx, a fading rock god from the eighties in long hair extensions and black nail polish in 2012's Rock of Ages. As for the rest of the cast, there’s no doubt Hollywood will pair Cruise up with a new, younger love interest than the now 59-year-old Kelly McGillis, who played the flight instructor/astrophysicist Charlie Blackwood in the original.
Val Kilmer, for his part, whose Iceman was objectively a better pilot than Maverick, seems to be busy with art-making rather than acting these days, though he did respond with a "hell yes" when a Reddit user asked him during an AMA whether he'd take part in a sequel. (And in fact, he's listed with Cruise as the only two actors on the movie's very short IMDb page, which could of course be wrong.)
Meg Ryan, on the other hand, who played another love interest, hasn’t appeared onscreen since 2015. In fact, all that’s been definitively confirmed about the cast and crew besides Cruise going forward is that the director Tony Scott won’t be returning: He killed himself in 2012.
Still, Cruise said he’s going to start filming the sequel “probably in the next year.” After all, having recently taken the 17-year-old actress Danika Yarosh under his wing and taught her how to fly on the set of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, it looks like he's kept up on his flying lessons.
All cynicism aside, there is a chance the movie could be a success: Top Gun did, after all, receive several Oscar nominations, and was the highest grossing film of 1986. Still, we’re now more than a few decades past the Cold War, ‘80s synth soundtracks, and, outside of Clint Eastwood movies, hopefully moving away from blind patriotism and unconditional glorification of the U.S. military. Maybe this Top Gun will consider the implications of drone warfare? Still, all signs point to this: if Tom Cruise isn't atop a motorcycle in a movie, he's in the cockpit of a plane.
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