Mission: Impossible - Fallout's Christopher McQuarrie is once again collaborating with Tom Cruise, as the writer-director is confirmed to be working on the script for Top Gun: Maverick. The long-awaited sequel to Cruise's 1986 blockbuster Top Gun was originally set for a 2019 release, but was recently pushed back to summer 2020. Joseph Kosinski, who worked with Cruise on the sci-fi film Oblivion, is directing the sequel.
Over 30 years after Top Gun roared its way to iconic status, Maverick sees Cruise's Pete Mitchell continuing to feed his need for speed by acting as an instructor to the next generation of hot-shot Navy pilots. Whiplash star Miles Teller has been cast as Bradley Bradshaw, a would-be ace who happens to be the son of Goose Bradshaw, Mitchell's deceased original co-pilot. Val Kilmer is expected to return as original Top Gun character Iceman. The movie's impressive cast also includes Jennifer Connelly, together with Jon Hamm and Ed Harris.
It appears that cast will have to wait awhile to assemble and get to work filming Top Gun: Maverick, as the film is currently undergoing more script work. As revealed by Cruise in an interview with Empire, the star's frequent collaborator Christopher McQuarrie has taken on the task of doing that additional writing work on the sequel. Writers Peter Craig, Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Justin Marks and Eric Warren Singer are all credited with having worked on the movie's script prior to McQuarrie's involvement.
Of course, McQuarrie has a long history of serving as Cruise's personal screenwriter. The two first collaborated on the 2008 drama Valkyrie, then later worked together on Jack Reacher, with McQuarrie also serving as director. McQuarrie joined the Mission: Impossible franchise when he did some uncredited work on Ghost Protocol, finally stepping into a full writer-director role on Rogue Nation and then Fallout. McQuarrie also had a hand in Cruise's sci-fi film Edge of Tomorrow and his flop 2017 action-horror film The Mummy. Reportedly, McQuarrie was brought onto The Mummy by Cruise when the actor became dissatisfied with his character's arc, but McQuarrie's efforts to flesh out Cruise's character clearly did nothing to help the movie's muddled and aimless plot. The film's poor box office performance all but killed Universal's plans for a Dark Universe movie franchise.
It's impossible to know exactly what McQuarrie's contribution will ultimately be to Maverick, but if his prior collaborations with Cruise are any indication, it's likely that he was brought in mainly to help beef up the older incarnation of Pete Mitchell. It's obvious that Cruise trusts McQuarrie, as this marks the tenth time he has hooked up with the writer-director in some capacity. And for the most part, it's hard to argue against the results McQuarrie has achieved, as his work with Cruise has resulted in the actor once again climbing to the top of the action movie mountain. This year's Mission: Impossible - Fallout was the final affirmation of the value of the Cruise/McQuarrie team as it soared to $791 million at the global box office.
In fact, that Cruise/McQuarrie collaboration proved so strong on Fallout that it's fair to wonder if McQuarrie might not ultimately end up taking directorial reins on Top Gun: Maverick as well as working on the script. Paramount would no doubt love to see McQuarrie go all the way with Cruise again after the big numbers put up by the sixth Mission: Impossible.
- Top Gun: Maverick/Top Gun 2 (2019) release date: Jun 26, 2020