While a sequel to Tom Cruise's 80s action blockbuster Top Gun has been talked about for decades, it now looks like the movie might actually happen. While filming has not yet begun, work is being done behind the scenes to get ready for that moment. Apparently, the script is currently undergoing a rewrite. However, what's most interesting about that is that the person doing the rewrite is a screenwriter that previously wasn't part of the project. American Hustle writer Eric Warren Singer is now the one handling the script.
The primary name attached to the script of Top Gun: Maverick, up to this point has been Justin Marks, the man responsible for Disney's live-action Jungle Book movie. Before that, The Town writer Peter Craig had been attached. However, according to German film site Filmstarts, Eric Warren Singer is now the man doing the writing. It's not clear whether Singer is starting from scratch or just doing a rewrite of whatever Marks and/or Craig had done previously. The latter option is certainly the most likely, though with the film still nearly two years away, there's certainly time for an extensive rewrite if it's believed to be needed.
Eric Warren Singer's list of screenwriting credits is fairly small at this point, but it's still fairly impressive. In addition to his Oscar nominated work on American Hustle, Singer also wrote The International with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. He has a pair of films on the verge of release, firefighter drama Only the Brave is coming out this October and the Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller Red Sparrow is set for early next year.
Exactly what Top Gun: Maverick is actually going to be about has not been confirmed but the rumors that have been floating around see Tom Cruise's Maverick dealing with a team of drone pilots, rather than actual fighter pilots, though traditional dog fighting will certainly be important to the story. As far as we know that's still the basic premise of the new film, though those rumors are so old that it's possible that a lot has changed over the years.
On the one hand, seeing the third major screenwriter involved in the film could be seen as a bad sign, but for a project that's been in development hell for as long as this one has, it's probably not the end of the world. In fact, it's very likely a good sign as the studio wants to be sure their script is ready to go when production on Top Gun: Maverick is ready to get underway. With a release date set for July of 2019 production is likely looking at the spring or summer of 2018 to start filming. As far as we know Tom Cruise's injury won't send shockwaves through the actor's schedule, delaying everything he has upcoming.