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More Top Gun Sequels?

Audiences Want Them. But How Can The Story Continue?

In Top Gun: Maverick, a lot of loose ends get tied up. Is there more that the franchise can explore? Warning: Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick spoilers are below.

Tom Cruise’s Significance

Top Gun: Maverick was a box office hit, and it could not have been without Tom Cruise’s return to play the lead. The actor’s great portrayal of Maverick allows the character to be iconic. This keeps audiences, both returners and new viewers, attracted to the franchise. Without him, there surely would not be a Top Gun 3, and if so, not a successful one.

Consequently, it is shocking how Maverick’s whole character arc appears to come to a close by the end of Top Gun: Maverick. Maverick ends up with Penny, he finishes and flies in his P-51, and learns to forgive himself for the death of Goose. All of this potentially hints at the fact that maybe even Maverick’s days as a pilot are over. Nonetheless, this is not confirmed, which allows Maverick to come back for at least one more mission with Tom Cruise in the lead.

The Current Popularity of IP Will Bring Top Gun Back, Regardless

Fans have been asking for a Top Gun 3 since Maverick got released. Nonetheless, with Top Gun being a valuable piece of IP or Intellectual Property, Paramount Pictures will want to bring it back no matter what. 

Intellectual Property is existing material, whether it’s in the form of an idea, book, another movie, etc. Production companies, studios, and networks can use it to create new films like the Top Gun franchise continues to. Well-known IP is great because the idea usually already comes with a fanbase, allowing companies to have more security when spending millions to create a new film. 

IP’s popularity today is largely due to the pandemic affecting the film industry through production restrictions and theater closures, and streaming becoming most desirable. Therefore, in hopes to make up for losses and not produce negatives anymore, production companies want to create something they know will work. While original ideas are suffering from this, at least audiences can get renditions and reboots of their favorite classics.

In consequence, whether or not Tom Cruise ever comes back to play Maverick, Paramount Pictures will want to make another Top Gun. It is a very lucrative franchise having already produced two hit films. Why stop now?

How Can The Story Continue With Cruise?

Despite the character’s arc coming to a close, there are still options for Tom Cruise to play the lead. What will likely occur in the third film is that Maverick will go on his final mission and the theme will be his inability to let go of being a pilot. Since the ending of Maverick’s career is subtly explored at the end of the second film, this will likely be a catalyst for the next feature. Many things can happen, however, it is likely that Maverick will never be able to let go of his identity as a pilot, so he may have to die as one at the end of the third film.

Another potential approach could be Maverick being a part of the Navy but not as a pilot. He can become an off-the-books instructor or maybe even get promoted. This would make his character less of a part in the action, which may pan out, considering Cruise’s busy schedule. However, it would disappoint audiences if they do not see him flying. Nonetheless, it’s better than no Maverick.

One final example is a prequel to the whole storyline with a new actor playing a young Maverick, and Tom Cruise spliced in as Maverick in the present day, now retired and remembering the good old days. This will likely only happen if Cruise wants to take a step back from grueling hours on set. However, seeing his impressive work while filming the next Mission Impossible, that won’t be the case anytime soon.


What If Cruise Doesn’t Come Back?

Considering Cruise’s love for aviation, his character, and Top Gun in general, he will surely want to be back. If he cannot come back though, audiences all over the world will be devastated. Nonetheless, Paramount Pictures will surely be persistent to bring the franchise back for another hit. Tom Cruise has yet to provide an answer on whether or not he can do another sequel. What is stopping him is his busy schedule. On the off chance Cruise passes on the role, Paramount Pictures and the creators of the new film can do a couple of things.

Since fans just got Maverick back in 2022, they are not willing to let go of their beloved character so fast. Therefore, it would be safest for Paramount Pictures to do a prequel to the Top Gun movies with a younger Maverick. He can be portrayed by someone other than Cruise and give us insight into the character’s past, which is barely touched upon in the existing films. 

It might also be worth considering making Rooster the new protagonist. However, seeing that Maverick would still be tied to him, audiences would not easily let go of the fact that Cruise is not in the film. Therefore, this is something they should be wary of. 

Another option can be putting a female aviator at the wheel of the story. This is the least probable option considering that there are other characters, like Rooster, who have more of a possibility to take the spotlight next. Nevertheless, a female perspective can offer something new to the role of captain.


Top Gun 3 Final Thoughts

Audiences want it and there are many ways they can have it. While the third film will likely happen, it hopefully won’t take another 35 years. Considering Maverick took approximately ten years to conceptualize and make, it won’t be coming out anytime soon, either. For now, viewers, Paramount Pictures, directors, and more await Cruise’s answer. Meantime, fans can watch Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick on various platforms, including Paramount+, Apple TV, Prime Video, Youtube, and more.

Top Gun: Maverick 2023 Paramount Pictures Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Sarah Anna Jonas
Sarah Anna Jonas is a current Writing for Screen & Television BFA at the University of Southern California. She hopes to pursue a career in screenwriting and development for television and film. Her goal is to bring more authentic, diverse stories to the screen in order to inspire social change.