Top Gun 2 Will Center On Drones And The End Of The Fighter Pilot Era


Jurassic World proved that studios can dust off box office fossils to the tune of record-breaking grosses, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Paramount and Skydance are more gung-ho than ever about Top Gun 2, which will find Tom Cruise again taking on the role of pilot Maverick.

At a group interview related to Terminator Genisys, Skydance CEO David Ellison and CCO Dana Goldberg fielded some questions about the current status of the sequel, which Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li) was tasked with scripting last September. Ellison spoke enthusiastically about his own love of flying in relation to the pic:

I started flying aerobatics when I was thirteen years old, actually me and my dad took my first lesson on my thirteenth birthday. By the time I was seventeen, I was flying air shows and have thousands of hours flying surface level aerobatics. I absolutely love it. I’ve got three hundred skydives, used to sky surf until that put me in the hospital really badly so I thought maybe let’s not do that anymore, but love aviation, and Top Gun definitely fits into the seminal movie of my childhood, and as a pilot, that is really the movie.

Justin Marks is writing the screenplay right now. He has a phenomenal take to really update that world for what fighter pilots in the Navy has turned into today. 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. It is I don’t think what people are going to expect, and we are very, very hopeful that we get to make the movie very soon. But like all things, it all comes down to the script, and Justin is writing as we speak.

The film will be shot with an eye to release in 3D and IMAX while also incorporating practical effects. Ellison elaborated on the tone and scale of the sequel:

Absolutely, I think this is a movie that should be in 3-D and in IMAX, and again something that you can shoot practically. As everyone knows with Tom, he is 100% going to want to be in those airplanes shooting it practically. 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.

This world has not been explored. 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.

It’s great to hear that Top Gun 2 will explore contemporary issues, though it’s still unclear how Cruise’s Maverick, at this point surely a veteran of the flying forces, will factor into the plot. Here’s hoping that the sequel addresses drone warfare and the end of dogfighting with intelligence, instead of just delivering a popcorn-pleasure update that avoids highlighting the severity of the U.S.’ current employment of killer drones. That’s where I see this heading, and I’d much rather see another smart movie like Good Kill than a touted big-screen encore for an ’80s movie character.