Top Gun: Maverick shouldn’t be an excuse to make Top Gun 3

Top Gun: Maverick is bonafide proof that the world still needs speed. However, its success shouldn’t just be an excuse to greenlight Top Gun 3 lest it lose its legend.

The original Top Gun, directed by Tony Scott, catapulted Tom Cruise to unprecedented movie stardom in 1986. It was the perfect ‘Murica rocks’ cocktail: a cheeky jockey trying to be the best and get the girl ; never-before-seen aerial photographs taking the public into the danger zone; annoying and obvious Russians; and a bunch of guys who are dudes.

The 80s were a remarkable decade for sequels, whether it was the four follow-ups to Nightmare in Elm Street or Beverly Hills Cop 2, Back to the Future II, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade. , The Empire Strikes Back, and Aliens.

So it’s no surprise that Paramount Pictures was interested in a Top Gun sequel before it even opened. Yet despite flying in commercial Valhalla and being in constant demand, it took Top Gun: Maverick 36 years to hit the big screen – and that’s where the franchise should be rooted.

Miles Teller in talks with Tom Cruise about Top Gun 3

Top Gun: Maverick’s box office is approaching $1.2 billion worldwide. Once he hits that mark, he’ll move closer to the top 20 in the all-time rankings.

Any movie that makes a decent amount of money is always going to generate talk of a sequel. It’s not like any other film: it tops every screening, dominates multiplexes even among new releases, and keeps viewership numbers at Avatar’s level. It’s also Cruise’s first billion-dollar movie, surprisingly.

Confirming everyone’s suspicions, Teller confirmed that he spoke to Cruise about the form of another Top Gun movie. “That would be great, but it’s all up to TC,” he said.

“It all depends on Tom. I had a few conversations with him about it. We will see.”

Top Gun 3 needs one thing above all else: heart

Top Gun: Maverick has five major assets, powerful individually but necessary in tandem: the radiant power of Tom Cruise; its revolutionary aerial cinematography; an immensely likeable and charismatic young cast; Jennifer Connelly lighting up every scene; and the old school, a heart without cynicism.

That last essence is crucial, because it’s what carries the sequel through its most powerful moments, like Maverick’s final conversation with Val Kilmer’s Iceman. Their interaction is rooted in years of mutual appreciation and its nuances are unspoken. The tears flow, but the laughs they share don’t work because of our anticipation of seeing them together – it’s because they’re genuine.

Tom Cruise, Miles Teller and the cast of Top Gun: Maverick.

Paramount Pictures

Is the young cast of Top Gun: Maverick enough for another film?

The heart is still what drives the conflict at the center of the film: Maverick clings so tightly to Goose’s memory that he can’t allow Rooster (Teller) to fly into the nest, no matter if he falls, follows a regular trajectory or flies too close. under the sun. Again, Rooster’s resentment is woven into the film’s emotional fabric, as is Maverick’s fear.

These dynamics are inextricably tied to the original Top Gun, and the sequel not only expands on them, but complements them. Maverick learns to let go, Rooster escapes his father’s specter and goes full throttle, and the pair find themselves in each other’s arms.

So what would Top Gun 3 be about?

Top Gun revolved around mysterious tensions in the Indian Ocean with unnamed enemies. They were clearly supposed to be Russians or North Koreans.

Top Gun: Maverick, in director Joseph Kosinski’s own words, was never about “geopolitics” and features a third-act mission “with nameless and faceless power.” The bad guys are still clearly modeled after the Russians or the North Koreans.

While Maverick maintains a fatherly bond with Rooster, flies through the sunset with Connelly’s Penny, and supposedly pursues a decorated tenure as a Top Gun instructor, where does a sequel go? Do we formally recognize a global threat rather than a not-so-anonymous rogue state?

Tom Cruise's Maverick looking at a photo of Val Kilmer's Iceman in Top Gun: Maverick.

Paramount Pictures

Top Gun: Maverick brought back Val Kilmer’s Iceman.

Top Gun left Maverick with the world ahead of him; grief to deal with, a woman in his life, a cushy spot at Top Gun. It was a solid foundation for a sequel, even decades later, while Top Gun: Maverick has a serious, happy ending. Continuing his story after sticking the landing could be risky.

Glen Powell, who plays Hangman, even referenced a conversation with Cruise in an interview with IndieWire about a possible sequel. “There’s no reason to just add another movie to the world’s filmography, if it doesn’t help or beat the original,” he said.

Other than an enthusiastic young cast and new bars for action photography, is there any reason to go back other than financial gain? Could Top Gun really win over moviegoers without Cruise as the headliner? Is there a good enough story for a third chapter, or should we try to establish another iconic IP?

If I’m complaining about Top Gun 3, I’ll tell Cruise this: If you decide to do it, I’ll ride through this life with you and I won’t let go until the end.

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