Tom Cruise is still, at age 53, one of the top action stars working in Hollywood today. Always one to up the ante and deliver some jaw-dropping movie moments, he's an actor who believes it's best to do whatever you can practically. As you can see in his dedication to stunts in the popular Mission: Impossible franchise, that means he'll even scale a skyscraper or hold on to the side of a plane for real if it's better for the project.
These chops first came into fruition when he portrayed the hot shot fighter pilot Maverick in the 1986 box office hit Top Gun. Thanks to its thrilling aerial dog fights, rocking soundtrack, and memorable characters, it became one of the defining films of its era and significantly increased the number of U.S. Navy recruits who had their own dreams of being Maverick or Iceman (Val Kilmer). As such, talk of a sequel as been thrown around the last handful of years, most recently with a supposed plot description about fighter drones coming out last month.
As interested as fans might be in seeing a Top Gun 2, it doesn't sound like it's close to becoming a reality anytime soon. When asked about the project's development at a Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation event by Extra TV, Cruise stated "I have not thought about it. We have not turned our eye to it. I don't know."
The "we" in that quote refers to Cruise and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who worked with the actor on the first film. Cruise admitted that the two have had conversations about it, but they've had difficulty cracking the story for the hypothetical sequel. For those still holding out hope, Cruise says that the film "would be fun to do" if they iron everything out, but he's clearly not making any promises right now. Better they wait than shoot a screenplay that belongs in the Danger Zone.
One aspect of Top Gun 2 that Cruise was adamant about was that all the plane sequences would have to be done with actual jets, as they were the first time around. In the same interview, Cruise expressed his desire to continue doing his stunts practically, referring to a stipulation in his contract for the first Top Gun:
"I'd like to fly those jets again. But we've got to do all the jets practical. No CGI on the jets. I remember when I did the first one, I said 'Look, in my contract I had to have three flights in the F-14.' And it had to be in the film, a shot from that. So we had to film it. And luckily they wanted me bad enough to do it, so I was able to do that. I’m saying right now - no CGI on the jets. If we can figure all that out, and the Department of Defense will allow us to do it, that would be fun."
While CGI effects have a major presence in Hollywood blockbusters, there seems to be a renaissance for the "pre-digital age," with filmmakers like J.J. Abrams and Christopher Nolan attempting to do all they possibly can in-camera. Moviegoers are pleased with this development, as it makes the action they are watching on-screen feel real with consequences. The human eye can easily detect when something looks 'fake', so doing visual effects and stunts in a practical manner goes a long way in establishing a connection between movie and audience. That Cruise won't even consider Top Gun 2 unless he can do the jet stuff for real shows how serious he is.
In the meantime, though, we'll have to see if this film ever gets off the ground at all. Once upon a time, it was believed Cruise would star in a Top Gun follow-up before a fifth Mission: Impossible, and that obviously did not happen. And with the leading man working on new films like Mena and a Jack Reacher sequel (and Mission: Impossible 6), it might be some time before Maverick flies again.
We'll keep you updated on Top Gun 2 as more information becomes available.