Top Gun 2, now officially titled Top Gun: Maverick, has gotten an official release date from Paramount Pictures. The director, Joseph Kosinksi - who previously worked with Tom Cruise on the sci-fi drama Oblivion - and Paramount confirmed that the new sequel will be released on July 12, 2019. The release date as of yet has no direct competition, and lands in between the planned release dates of Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 (July 5, 2019) and the live-action Lion King (July 19, 2019).
The Top Gun sequel has been in the works since 2010, with filming due to start in 2012. The project was shelved for a short time after then-director Tony Scott died, but Cruise's interest in making the sequel never flagged. The initial script was written in 2012 with Peter Craig (The Town), Ashley Miller, and Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class) all on board before Scott's untimely death. In 2014, Justin Marks (The Jungle Book) was brought onboard to help update the script, which is presumably what Kosinski will be shooting now.
According to reports, the film will focus on the prevalence of drones in today's military and how that will affect the nature of dogfighting. According to Tom Cruise, who will return to star, the story will focus on an older Maverick who is now a flight instructor. At the end of the first Top Gun, the younger Maverick said that he might like to end up teaching other pilots at the Top Gun school. Cruise said in an interview that this film will be about competition, much like the original, but show a progression for Maverick.
"Aviators are back, the need for speed. We're going to have big, fast machines."
Cruise is well known for his love of practical effects. Whether it was training for a year for The Last Samurai, or learning that stock cars don't turn right on Days of Thunder, Tom Cruise is all about getting hands on with his films. The actor has repeatedly stated his desire to get real jets involved in the sequel with no CGI. The original Top Gun used authentic aircraft as well as filmed aboard Navy vessels with the military's approval. The U.S. Navy also had advisors on set to ensure that the film was accurate in how it portrayed naval aviators.
Tom Cruise isn't the only Top Gun alum who's ready to return to the skies. Anthony Edwards, who played Goose in the original film, expressed interest in returning. How this would be managed after Goose's tragic ejector seat accident killed him in the first film remains to be seen. Val Kilmer has also expressed interest in returning to the sequel. In a post on Twitter, Kilmer said that he was ready and that he even still had his plaque.Whether or not any other stars from the original film will return for Top Gun: Maverick remains to be seen. These include Kelly McGillis, Tom Skerrit, Michael Ironside, or Tim Robbins. Other casting has not been revealed either, including the slate of young actors that will portray the students that Maverick takes under his wing. Tom Cruise got the hype train started earlier this year when he stopped by a morning talk show in Australia to say that filming should be starting this year. However, with the 2019 release date and the lack of casting, it is likely that shooting won't start until 2018.
[Featured Image by Paramount Pictures]