There is no sell-by date for sequels. Pixar will try to revive The Incredibles after a 14-year gap. Over on YouTube Red, the original Karate Kid actors are back in character after a 34-year hiatus for Cobra Kai. So long as the story works, audiences gladly will embrace nostalgia and revisit classic narratives, just to spend a few more hours alongside a beloved creation. So, when Tom Cruise shares this photo to announce the start of production on Top Gun 2, tell me your pulse doesn't pick up just a tad as you start to hum Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone?"

If you didn't notice, the call sign on the back of the flight helmet that Tom Cruise is holding says "Maverick," which means that the ace fighter pilot with a hotshot attitude and courage to spare will be back in the air for this hotly-anticipated sequel that truly has been years in the making. Literally, Top Gun 2 has been on Tom Cruise's mind for as far back as 2012, with different screenwriters and directors circling the gig. Now that Cruise has taken to Twitter to confirm the start of production, we know that nothing's going to ground this sequel as it prepares to take flight.

The official title of this Top Gun sequel actually will be Top Gun: Maverick, placing added emphasis on the role that Tom Cruise will play on the follow up story. There was a time when rumors swirled that the sequel would shift to a new generation of pilots (maybe even Goose's son), with Cruise doing a reduced walk-on role. While plot details on the latest shooting scripts are being kept under wraps, we are all hoping that Cruise's part in the story is enhanced, and that the script goes the distance to make the A-list action icon a major part of Maverick. After all, this is the character we want to catch up with, and relegating him to instructor status for a gaggle of fresh recruits we don't know would be a tad disappointing.

It's strange how little we know about Top Gun: Maverick. We have a release date -- July 12, 2019. And we know that Tom Cruise will reunite with his Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski, as original Top Gun director Tony Scott died in 2012. But as for co-stars and official plot details, they are scarce. We know Top Gun: Maverick will be set in a modern age, and will have our pilots taking on drone tech. Beyond that, it's a mystery... for now.

We will continue to track every step of Top Gun: Maverick's progress, now that production is underway. Need your Tom Cruise fix while you wait? You are in luck. The actor has Mission: Impossible -- Fallout reaching theaters in July. And to keep track of all movies opening in theaters in 2018, bookmark our handy Release Date schedule.

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