Action-adventure franchises from the last century have seen a sudden resurgence this year. First, Mad Max: Fury Road debuted to universal acclaim and solid box office (especially for an R-rated movie). Then Jurassic World broke domestic and international records when it hit theaters, ultimately becoming the fastest film to reach $1 billion. Later this year, we’ll see two more sequels of this sort, including Terminator: Genisys and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Given the amount of money that’s at stake, we can probably expect more franchises to get resurgences in the coming years. And indeed, Jerry Bruckheimer is apparently hard at work developing the sequel to Top Gun, tentatively titled Top Gun 2. Producing alongside Bruckheimer and Paramount will be Skydance Productions, who also worked on the recent Terminator: Genisys.
Collider recently had the chance to speak to Skydance CEO David Ellison, who gave an update on Top Gun 2. First, on the script currently being written by The Jungle Book scribe Justin Marks, Ellison indicated that they’re approaching the sequel with a new and more modern take on the franchise:
Justin Marks is writing the screenplay right now. He has a phenomenal take to really update that world for what fighter pilots in the Navy has turned into today. There is an amazing role for Maverick in the movie and there is no ‘Top Gun’ without Maverick, and it is going to be Maverick playing Maverick. It is I don’t think what people are going to expect, and we are very, very hopeful that we get to make the movie very soon. But like all things, it all comes down to the script, and Justin is writing as we speak.
In addition to confirming Tom Cruise will be back in the lead role of Maverick, Ellison also said that Top Gun 2 is going to be the kind of movie that needs to be experienced in the biggest format possible:
Absolutely, I think this is a movie that should be in 3-D and in IMAX, and again something that you can shoot practically. As everyone knows with Tom, he is 100% going to want to be in those airplanes shooting it practically. When you look at the world of dogfighting, what’s interesting about it is that it’s not a world that exists to the same degree when the original movie came out. This world has not been explored. It is very much a world we live in today where it’s drone technology and fifth generation fighters are really what the United States Navy is calling the last man-made fighter that we’re actually going to produce so it’s really exploring the end of an era of dogfighting and fighter pilots and what that culture is today are all fun things that we’re gonna get to dive into in this movie.
The use of drones, especially as a military weapon, is one of the most controversial issues this day in age, yet they have rarely been covered by a blockbuster action film (though the drama Good Kill, starring Ethan Hawke, released last year to mixed reviews). Would a fun blockbuster film – the type of movie Top Gun 2 would likely end up being – be suited for such heavy material? We’ll have to wait and see.
As Jurassic World recently proved with its monstrous start at the box office, audiences are not only willing to revisit their favorite franchises, they’re enthusiastic to do so as well. Whether Top Gun has the same sort of nostalgia built up around it remains to be seen, but its sequel undoubtedly has the potential to do big business at the box office, if it’s done right.
Stay tuned for more news on Top Gun 2 as it becomes available.