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Top Gun 2

Director Confirms Sequel is in the Works

Top Gun

October 28, 2010 — Maverick, the lead character in the iconic aviator film Top Gun, has been cleared for another flyby at a theater near you. Tony Scott, who directed the original film, confirmed during a press junket for his most recent film that he will direct Top Gun 2. The news is great timing for the Navy, which claimed a 500 percent increase in recruiting after the film’s release in 1986. The Navy may benefit again as the news comes just in time for the centennial of Naval aviation in 2011. But more than 20 years later, how will the story remain fresh and what role, if any, will Tom Cruise play in the sequel?

Top Gun was inspired by a 1983 magazine article about an F-14 Tomcat crew going through the TOPGUN training program. The fighter school was created to train Navy pilots in aerial dogfighting techniques, which had deteriorated in previous decades. In the decades since the film’s release, the need for air-to-air combat among airplanes has decreased, as one large foe (the Soviet Union) has changed to smaller conflicts where the majority of combat missions are ground support roles. It is in this context that Tony Scott is likely set Top Gun 2 - in an era of warfare that is being slowly taken over by drones.

“I’m not waiting for a script. I’m going to do my homework. I’m going down to I think it’s Fallon, Nevada, down near New Mexico and it’s a whole different world now,” Scott told Hitfix. “These computer geeks - these kids play war games in a trailer in Fallon, Nevada, and if we ever went to war or were in the Middle East or the Far East or wherever it is, these guys can actually fly drones. They are unmanned aircraft. They operate them and then they party all night.”

There are hints that Tom Cruise has agreed to a role in the film, according to NYMag.com. Oscar-winning screenwriter (The Usual Suspects) and Cruise acquaintance Christopher McQuarrie has been tapped to write the script and has gotten Cruise to agree to a smaller role in the film as long as it’s not too obvious.

EAA Director of Membership Marketing Barry Elk, who entered the Navy the same year Top Gun was released, is very familiar with TOPGUN, the Navy school that inspired the film. Elk already had plans to fly for the Navy when the film was released and endured the indignity of being named a “Top Gun Baby” for coming through the ranks during that era.

“I was awarded my Navy ROTC scholarship BEFORE the release of Top Gun – but paid the price for the movie for years. All of the new Midshipmen were harshly accused of being ‘Top Gun babies’ and ‘Tom Cruise wannabes,’” Elk said. “Imagine my surprise seven years later, when I was selected to fly the F-14 – truly become one of the first ‘Top Gun babies.’”

Barry eventually became a TOPGUN Adversary Graduate and spent many hours over the Virginia Capes, playing the role of “bad guy” for yet another class of Tomcat (and F/A-18 Hornet) student pilots. “I will always have a very special place in my heart for the ‘Turkey’ (a nickname given to the F-14 because of its turkey-like, somewhat ungraceful arrival during aircraft landings) – and am proud that my Tomcat was actually the star of the movie!”

It has also been reported that film producer and EAAer David Ellison, EAA 1005869, is a driving force behind the project. Ellison, who is an aerobatic pilot and performed at AirVenture 2003 in the Stars of Tomorrow, also starred in the WWI film Flyboys. In 2008, Ellison’s Skydance Productions used a helicopter to film crowd scenes at AirVenture for the upcoming movie Northern Lights, a film about a group of young aerobatic pilots.

The original Top Gun also featured the work of legendary aerobatic pilot and EAAer Art Scholl, who died while filming the scene where Maverick’s F-14 enters a flat spin. The producers dedicated the film to the memory of Art Scholl. No release date has been announced for Top Gun 2.

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