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Despite the passing of Tony Scott in 2012, Top Gun 2 somehow remains a priority for producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The follow-up to the 1986 air-fighting drama was a touchstone of the era, which is to say that it’s dated and no one is really expecting or looking for a follow-up. But the film did launch Tom Cruise (Legend) into the stratosphere, and Bruckheimer is looking to get the plane back in the air, perhaps as an honor to Scott, who directed the original. And now, the new Top Gun has a hook.
Speaking with The Huffington Post as he promoted his new book When Lightning Strikes: Four Decades Of Filmmaking (that absolutely sounds like a Bruckheimer memoir), he claimed that they’ve cracked this elusive code. "The concept is, basically, are the pilots obsolete because of drones? Cruise is going to show them that they’re not obsolete. They’re here to stay."
And you know that he’s serious because he doesn’t even refer to the character by name. Why bother? He’s Cruise. He Cruises. If Top Gun 2 came out and everyone just called him Cruise, would anyone bat an eyelash? There’s Tom Cruise (Cocktail), the biggest movie star in the world, and also a fighter pilot.
Bruckheimer claims that the issues are in obtaining a budget and finding a time where Tom Cruise (The Firm) is not busy. Cruise just recently finished Edge Of Tomorrow and will soon launch into a fifth Mission: Impossible, with another Jack Reacher on the docket as well. He was once committed to a second Top Gun, but that flame seems to have dimmed in relation to Paramount’s lack of enthusiasm. Do you want to be the one to get Val Kilmer back in a flight jumpsuit?
This plot seems very much dragged out of another era, however. How is this movie going to end: with the military realizing that drones aren’t efficient? Haven’t the ethical and strategic battles over drones already been fought, with the government very much in support of the plan? Didn’t we all see Stealth?
Maybe if the sequel got more fantastical and had Cruise piloting against a rogue A.I., but that seems a little beneath him, maybe more suited to a direct-to-DVD sequel than a big screen event. This idea suggests that this sequel would be based around technology, but in the modern world, technology moves so fast as to render new ideas obsolete. And the concept of a movie trying to disprove the efficiency and practicality of drone warfare is old hat already: Bruckheimer credits Scott with cracking the story before his death in 2012, but in the technological world, that was basically a lifetime ago.