SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8/USA TODAY) - Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado confirmed that "Top Gun: Maverick" filming will take place on base Thursday.
Tom Cruise Rides Motorcycle on Set as 'Top Gun 2' Filming Begins https://t.co/NEQrg9yxRH— TMZ (@TMZ) May 31, 2018
Three decades after hitting the danger zone, Tom Cruise is back on the flight line for a sequel to 1986's "Top Gun."
The actor on Thursday tweeted a photo of himself as Navy pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in a flight suit, looking at a fighter jet. The photo includes the phrase "feel the need." In the original movie, Cruise's character talks about how he feels the need for speed.
Cruise captioned the photo, saying #Day 1 of production of "Top Gun: Maverick."
The movie is scheduled for release in July 2019. Last year, Cruise revealed the title, Top Gun: Maverick ("You don't need a number"), while promising aviator sunglasses, aircraft carriers and "big, fast machines."
Great start. But we have thoughts about what could — and maybe should — happen in Maverick.
Top Gun was overwhelmingly white and male, summarized by Iceman's (Val Kilmer) jab at Maverick: "The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies' room." But this time around, Maverick is the senior flight instructor dealing with a genius pilot who has a chip on her shoulder. The military has evolved, allowing women to train as fighter pilots since 1993. So, too, has Cruise, welcoming strong female co-stars such as the sensational Emily Blunt, who knocked him around as Rita Vrataski in Edge of Tomorrow. We need that spirit in the cockpit.
Carole Bradshaw (Meg Ryan) was heartbroken but understanding when her husband, radar intercept officer Goose (Anthony Edwards), died ejecting from the jet. Maverick was cleared of wrongdoing in the incident. But Bradshaw's young son, glimpsed in happy family moments, could understandably still blame the brilliant-but-once-reckless pilot for a life without his father. Maverick, still pained by Goose's death, must deal with the guilt resurfaced by the presence of his now-grown and resentful offspring.
The Russians weren't the main story line, but they were the foe that fueled the Cold War-era original. Sure enough, Russia has re-emerged with top villain status, worthy of a screen return. It's not just their meddling in the 2016 election, it's the global attitude. They have the ambition, the antagonism, the jets and swagger.
The sequel could be ripped from the 2016 headline about the Russian pilot who pulled a Top Gun-like barrel-roll stunt over a U.S. reconnaissance plane, a maneuver stolen from Top Gun's playbook. But in Maverick, this aggression spills over into a threat that requires mobilization. Think payback Hollywood style.
The Internet is obsessed with the prospect of a drone story line (though Cruise has dodged the question of whether unmanned flights will factor into the sequel). Are drones the next level of dogfighting? Maybe. But not without a last stand against human-flown jets instructed and flown by Maverick. The drones can fly, but they need to be robotic foes our pilots knock out of the sky. This time.
Goose's death provided the original movie's emotional punch, allowing for the full triumph at the end. The only way to recapture that resonance is if it's Maverick's final flight. He needs to go down heroically.
Maverick has matured and succeeded in his dreams of becoming a Top Gun instructor. But in our final conflict, the teacher is forced back into the cockpit, taking out foes with his young crew — but giving the greatest sacrifice of all to complete the mission. It's a fitting end to the character arc, leaving fans in tears and quashing another 30 years of Top Gun sequel speculation.
Sure, it's a moonshot. But Cruise did say that this would be a "competition" film. He didn't say what kind of competition (though he has suggested there might be a volleyball scene). It's time to reprise the iconic and oiled-up sandpit match.
Contributing: Associated Press
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