Are you ready to take a highway to the danger zone? Are you feeling a sudden hankering for going fast?
If you answered yes to either (or both) of those questions, then Tom Cruise might have just made your year. During his press tour for The Mummy, the actor revealed on multiple occasions that filming for the Top Gun sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, would begin in the very near future.
Let that sink in. Another Top Gun. It’s been 31 years, and Val Kilmer hasn’t been strutting around the beach volleyball courts anytime recently, but apparently Tom Cruise is feeling the need. (Also, Kilmer has said he’s interested in the sequel, but no reports if he’s actually involved.)
Now Top Gun, despite the occasional denial of its cinematic magnificence, is a true classic, the epitome of 80’s film. The soundtrack, hair, aviators, motor cycles, and shirtless volleyball in jeans blend together seamlessly with a heavy overlay of Cold War propaganda. It has it all. And, if you’ve read any article on here, you’ll know how much I adore the movie.
However, times have changed, and the movie will have to evolve. One obvious plot route is that Maverick married Charlie and has spent 31 years as an instructor. While all the hotshot pilots now work 12-hour shifts flying drones, Maverick is starting to feel old and washed up. A crisis of conscience among the pilots forces Mav to step in and save the day, and everyone celebrates while the viewers are left to wonder if another war has just been started.
That’s pretty straightforward. But I don’t want this sequel to ruin the original, and there are definitely other approaches they could take. In case anyone on the dev team is looking for ideas, I took the liberty to draw up some others:
Top Gun 2 Fast 2 Furious
This idea died when Cruise revealed the title of the film, but I had been holding out hope for a collision of two film worlds that might be too much for America to handle. Let’s set the scene:
It’s the year 2019. Cipher escaped La Familia’s grasp in Fate of the Furious, and she’s on the loose again. Unable to secretly rebuild her empire, Cipher hacks into the United States’ collection of drones, making them inoperable. The government needs to do some old-school flying, and need some old-school pilots to help them.
So, naturally, Mr. Nobody brings in Dom & Co to deal with their old nemesis. But, since they lack flying knowledge, he also has to bring in a secret weapon: Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. At first, Dom protests.
Who’s this chump? He’s not family! He doesn’t know anything about cars!
Cars? Ha! Where we’re going, we won’t need cars.
After 4 hours and 32 minutes of harrowing dog fights, explosions, cars landing on planes landing on other cars, and a well-timed beach volleyball showdown, La Familia saves the day. All of this, of course, takes place over international waters. At the end, amidst a Corona-filled celebration on an aircraft carrier runway, Mav and Dom walk away in flight suits.
DOM (pointing at Mav)
Maverick looks up and smiles.
You’re still dangerous. But you’re welcome in my family any time.
Maverick and Dom embrace, as Daddy Yankee’s remix of Danger Zone blares in the background.
Top Gun: Maverick — Revenge of the Nerds
It’s 2017 and the Navy is using drones, but instead of being super cool guys that play shirtless volleyball, the Top Gun pilots are shut-ins who sit in dark trailers flying drones all day. Mav is baffled, wondering how the American military can defeat anyone without swagger and oiled-up abs. In this buddy-comedy, Mav eventually takes one pilot under his wing, and while he teaches the young gunner about the good ole days, he learns something along the way.
INT. DRONE FACILITY, TOP GUN ACADEMY, DAY
Pete “Maverick” Mitchell pushes open the door to the dark, drone operating center. Drone pilots flinch.
Anyone up for a game of beach volleyball?
We’re in here for another 9 hours.
How about some karaoke later?
Whatever, have fun in here, nerds.
Top Gun: Maverick — Independence Day
It’s the year 2020. After the events of Top Gun, Mav, Ice, and everyone else got in trouble for basically starting WWIII, and were all discharged. Now, 35 years later, America is under siege by the one threat it wasn’t prepared for– aliens! Due to some under-explained plot development, all of the drones used by the world’s militaries are disabled, and the US faces a severe pilot shortage. The government digs up Mav & Co. for one final ride to save humanity.
EXT. GOLF COURSE, DAY
The camera pans by a banner, reading GOLFING FOR GOOSE: REMEMBERING NICK BRADSHAW. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell steps shirtless into the tee box, wearing jeans, aviators, and a faded TOP GUN ACADEMY hat. As he settles in, the sound of a droning helicopter picks up, along with the wind. Mav steps back and looks up to see a US Navy helicopter landing in the fairway. A high-ranking official approaches.
Yeah, that’s me.
I don’t have much time to explain, but your government needs you.
My government abandoned me a long time ago.
This is a greater threat than we’ve ever seen. It’s (whispers) aliens.
OK, I’m in. But I’m gonna need my wingmen.
Cue “Danger Zone” for a montage of Maverick finding his old buddies from Top Gun.
Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun gets the Creed/Star Wars treatment, where the “sequel” is really just a mirror-image remake of the first film. If you remember correctly, there was a little Baby Goose running around in the original Top Gun. That’s perfect. Just what we need.
The year is 2017. Baby Goose is now a grown-up Naval aviator, trying to follow in his father’s footsteps. But there are issues. He’s a great pilot, but he’s brash. He’s unpredictable. He’s — dare I say it — dangerous.
Just like the young Pete Mitchell in the original film, Baby Goose’s issues can be traced to a father he never knew, and a ghost he’s constantly chasing. The higher-ups at the Navy realize that only one man can harness Baby Goose’s wild side: Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
Mav becomes a mentor to Baby Goose, teaching him to fly, chase girls, and dominate beach volleyball. There’s emotional trauma that Mav has to help Baby Goose through. Baby Goose wants out, but Mav coaxes him back with stories of the greatest wing man of all time. The spirit of Goose is alive and well in a thrilling, climactic sequence as Mav agrees to hop back in the saddle and fly with Baby Goose.
EXT. Flight Deck, Twilight
Alarm bells sound as the flight deck crew scatters. Mav looks out at a crew of pilots, ready to get in the air. He issues out assignments, before stopping at Baby Goose.
Baby Goose, we were one pilot short. Luckily, I’ve got a need…
Baby Goose and Mav just stare at each other, waiting for the other to say something.
A need, for speed! Whatever, we’ll work on it. I’m flying with you. Let’s get this bitch.
Who knows what the future holds. Cruise’s ego has written checks that his body can’t cash before. If The Mummy is any indication, the future is looking glum. But I have faith. I’m ready to go back to the Danger Zone. Are you?
Gifs: Giphy, Paramount Pictures