Jonesing for more films about military aviation and/or masculinity? Then break out the celebratory maverick flight stunts, because Tom Cruise has confirmed a Top Gun sequel. Of course, the obvious second question on your lips (once you've swooped past the initial "What the hell?") is probably how will Top Gun 2 work? But we'll get there in a second.
The former couch-jumper confirmed the news in the best possible way, simply stating "Yes, it's true" on Australian morning television when asked about rumors before revealing he'll "probably" be filming it over the next year. The presenter responded much as you would, telling the star she used to watch "the volleyball scene pretty much every day" while at boarding school. (Props to the actor for not looking at all nonplussed at this all too relatable revelation.)
But now to the good stuff. Given the Vanilla Sky star's complete lack of other details on the project, we're going to have to speculate. How would a sequel to the 1986 film even be possible? Since Cruise himself confirmed the news and talked about filming, this suggests that the role of Lieutenant Pete "Maverick" Mitchell will not be being recast with a younger actor.
So, presumably this means that the second film would focus on the same character after a three decade break. This is hard to imagine: after all, the politics of the film were about the USSR. Given that the Soviet Union no longer exists, who would Maverick even be battling against?
It's also worth questioning how technological advances will play into things. According to Variety, in 2015 David Ellison, the CEO of Skydance Media sketched an idea for one potential plot line, stating:
“It is very much a world we live in today where it’s drone technology and fifth generation fighters… It’s really exploring the end of an era of dogfighting and fighter pilots and what that culture is today.”
While there's no confirmation that this would be the same plot, Twitter has already observed most aviation warfare now takes place via drones — so would this be a major part of the plot?
Realistically, I'm more convinced by Ellison's suggestion that a potential plot would focus on the "end of an era of... fighter pilots" than the idea of a Top Gun 2 with a totally modern focus on politics. A detailed focus on drones wouldn't allow for a lot of pacey Cruise-led flight sequences, which is half the appeal of the original movie, surely.
One arc that I could imagine would be a focus on Mitchell's discomfort with a new role: that of instructor. After all, surely he would have progressed through the ranks over the years. Given how central Val Kilmer's character Tom "Iceman" Kazanski was to the movie and the significance of their rivalry, I wouldn't be surprised if they were colleagues in the sequel, with Mitchell pushing for more spontaneity and instinct and Kazanski being a stickler for the rules when it comes to his students.
Beyond this, I'll eat my hat if we don't get a twist on the infamous beach volleyball scene given how iconic it is.
Here's hoping we get more info soon — until then, ready, set, rewatch.