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Even the tragic early death of director Tony Scott can't slow down the progress of Top Gun 2 - a sequel to the massively successful 1980 drama - and today comes news that the movie is taking another big step towards actually getting into production.
Screenwriter Justin Marks, who has been most recently working at Disney on Jon Favreau's upcoming The Jungle Book, is now in deep negotiations with Paramount and Skydance, and should he sign a deal he will be the latest writer brought in on Top Gun 2. It was all the way back in February 2012 that The Town scribe Peter Craig was first hired to work on the feature, but that was a few months before Tony Scott took his own life.
While there aren't any small details available about the story or info regarding who from the larger Top Gun cast will be returning, what has been confirmed is that the plot will once again center on Tom Cruise's Maverick, and will have to do with the subject manned versus drone aircraft. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who helped make the original film, is one of the driving forces behind the project, having recently moved over to Paramount following the end of his contract with Disney.
Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book could prove to be a bit of a comeback for Justin Marks, and Top Gun 2 could be a stepping stone to some bigger things. His career hit some rocky waters in 2009 when he was the sole-credited writer on the critically-demolished Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun- Li, and he hasn't had a feature made since. The Hollywood Reporter, which first revealed the news about the development, notes that Marks and Bruckheimer actually have a previous relationship together. A few years ago the writer was apparently hired to pen a film titled War Dogs, "a project centered around military canines." Obviously that movie never got made, but now the scribe and the producer are getting back in business. The Jungle Book is in production now, and Favreau has brought together a stellar voice cast that includes Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o, and Giancarlo Esposito.
Paramount and Skydance getting serious about having a script written is certainly an important step for Top Gun 2, but the project's future is a bit unclear. The studios may now find themselves with a clear path towards production, but they could also wind up hating and dumping whatever Marks does, which would force them to start over. Or they could like Marks script and then force him to do 20 re-writes until it's exactly what they want. We'll be keeping track of the whole thing as it gets further into development, so stay tuned for more updates.