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Over thirty years after the release of the original Top Gun, Tom Cruise is now gearing up to get back into the cockpit of a fighter jet in Top Gun: Maverick. The long-awaited sequel remains shrouded in mystery, with many fans wondering just how closely it will follow the original continuity. With that burning question in mind, director Joseph Kosinski recently opened up and explained that the film would refer to the first Top Gun, but it will also endeavor to forge its own path. Kosinski elaborated:
You have to make your own movie. If you just tried to copy the original, then what are you bringing to it? So certainly it's a continuation of the story, so there will be characters that will continue. Nostalgia, I think, is a tricky thing. It can be a crutch; it shouldn't be a crutch that you lean on. But the first movie was a right of passage for Maverick, and this movie will be as well.
Top Gun: Maverick is a sequel, which means individual plot threads will need to be addressed at specific points throughout the movie. That's likely one of the primary reasons why Goose's son will be featured in the film. However, Joseph Kosinski also recognizes that Top Gun: Maverick needs to tell a different story from the first movie, and it needs to be able to stand on its own. Nostalgia will factor into the development of the narrative, but it seemingly won't be integral to get an understanding of what's going on.
In that regard, I find myself thinking of Ryan Coogler's Creed as a potential model for Top Gun: Maverick's story. Though very much a sequel to the events of the main Rocky franchise, the Adonis Creed-focused spin-off managed to act as a proper standalone story for newcomers. Knowing Rocky Balboa helped enhance the experience, but it wasn't married to its continuity.
Despite the logic to Joseph Kosinski's remarks to Collider about Top Gun: Maverick, it's clear that there's going to be quite a bit of shared DNA between the films. The Tron: Legacy director has maintained that he wants to employ many of the same practical filmmaking techniques that the late Tony Scott used on the original film, and it will thematically take Maverick on a journey of self-discovery. Beyond that, CinemaBlend recently sat down with Kosinski for a brief interview, and when Top Gun: Maverick came up he quickly made sure to note that it's not going to be a film about drone warfare (which was widely rumored online once it was announced). With a practically shot story focusing on the inner lives of naval fighter pilots, it's pretty clear that this will still definitely feel like a Top Gun movie.