Top Gun editor Chris Lebenzon is returning to the franchise after 34 years to work on upcoming sequel Top Gun: Maverick. The film will once again star Tom Cruise as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, who is still a captain and pulling off bold stunts in fighter planes despite his several decades of service. Maverick reunites Cruise with Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski, and also sees the return of Val Kilmer as Iceman.
Directed by Tony Scott and released in 1986, Top Gun follows Maverick as a cocky young fighter pilot who is sent to train at the Topgun Naval Weapons Fighter School, an elite program for the very best pilots in the US Navy. There, he locks horns with Tom "Iceman" Kozansky and becomes singularly focused on becoming the best pilot in the Topgun training program - until their fierce competition leads to the death of Maverick's partner, Goose. At the end of the movie, after helping to save a ship from hostile aircraft, Maverick chooses to stay behind at Topgun as an instructor.
Along with Billy Weber, Lebenzon was nominated for an Academy Award for his editing work on Top Gun, and later earned a second Oscar nomination for his work on another of Scott's films, Crimson Tide. Now, THR reports that Lebenzon is returning to work as an editor on Top Gun: Maverick, which is currently in post-production after wrapping filming earlier this year.
Lebenzon worked on many films directed by Scott, including Enemy of the State, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, and Unstoppable, the final film that Scott directed before he passed away in 2012. Lebenzon also frequently collaborates with director Tim Burton, and most recently was the editor for Burton's live-action remake of Dumbo. Harold Faltermeyer, who was the composer for the original Top Gun, has also returned to work on the score for Top Gun: Maverick, joining forces with Hans Zimmer.
Cruise made a surprise appearance at Comic-Con this year to present the first trailer for Top Gun: Maverick, in which Ed Harris' character recounts Maverick's list of achievements and observes that despite them, "you can't get a promotion, won't retire, and despite your best efforts you refuse to die." When asked why he's still only a captain after all these years, Maverick replies, "It's one of life's mysteries, sir."
Perhaps that mystery will be solved when Top Gun: Maverick arrives in theaters next summer. For now, it's gratifying to see another creative who worked on the original movie returning for this long-awaited sequel.
- Top Gun: Maverick/Top Gun 2 (2020) release date: Jun 26, 2020