Everything That’s Been Said About a Potential Sequel

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Tom Cruise has made a name for himself, starring in action films that boast a slew of exciting stunts and even more thrilling plot lines. Known mostly for his work on the Mission: Impossible franchise, Cruise has become a powerhouse in the action movie genre and has gained recognition as well as admiration for often wanting to do spectacular stunts himself instead of using a stuntperson. While the Mission: Impossible franchise has undoubtedly added a lot of success to his career path, there also were other movies that made him famous, arguably, all around the world.

Two of his best films have always been in the Top Gun franchise, with the first entry being released in 1986 and directed by Tony Scott. The movie tells the story of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a fighter pilot for the Navy who is known for his obnoxious antics (i.e. the tower flyby) and devil-may-care attitude. When he is accepted into an elite Fighter School, he is surrounded by colleagues who sit in classrooms and learn how to go about their tasks. However, it is not just that, because Maverick realizes that he is surrounded by the best of the best. When he soaks up the knowledge regarding new tricks from a civilian, he has to learn how to fit in in order to succeed.

The sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, which was directed by Joseph Kosinski and released in 2022, an incredible 36 years after the release of the first movie, brought back Cruise’s character and a few others, including Val Kilmer’s Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, from the classic film. In this second installment, Maverick is still rocking his job as a naval aviator, but when he is asked to go on a mission with a group of graduates, he is forced to face the more daunting side of his past. Miles Teller joined the cast as Bradley Bradshaw, also known as “Rooster”, and the character’s presence definitely stirs up some drama as well. However, when their dangerous mission escalates, all of them have to work together and are, ultimately, confronted with a severe sacrifice.

After the release of this sequel and the immense hype around it, fans began wondering if a third incarnation of the movie would make an appearance in the future. We hope you “haven’t lost that lovin’ feeling” because here is everything we know about Top Gun 3!

Update January 16, 2024: This article has been updated following the announcement that Top Gun 3 is in development at Paramount Pictures.

Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick’s Success

The original Top Gun film was rather successful, becoming the most successful movie at the worldwide box office in 1986, grossing $176 million. The movie remained a pop culture touchstone for years, being seen as one of the most influential and iconic movies of the 1980s. The film’s soundtrack featured two iconic songs: Kenny Loggins’s “Danger Zone,” which would later be used in the hit FX series Archer, while Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” not only won the Academy Award for Best Original Song but would also be used to great comedic effect on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The character of Barney Stinson notably went as Maverick for Halloween on an episode of How I Met Your Mother. This was a single film, with no sequels, that managed to stay in the public consciousness, which made the announcement of a sequel exciting.

Top Gun: Maverick was delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was originally set to hit theaters on June 26, 2020, but was delayed to December 23, 2020. Then it was delayed to July 2, 2021, and then November 19, 2021, before finally being moved to May 27, 2022. Paramount reportedly wanted to release the film on their streaming service, Paramount+, but Tom Cruise blocked the decision and reportedly even got lawyers involved. It was a delay, though, that paid off.

Related: Will Tom Cruise Ever Win an Oscar?

Top Gun: Maverick broke the Memorial Day weekend record with $160 million and would remain in the domestic top 10 for nineteen weeks. It became a cultural phenomenon and the biggest movie of the summer, even beating out films like Jurassic World: Dominion and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It went on to become the highest-grossing movie of Tom Cruise’s career and grossed $718 million domestically and $1.4 billion worldwide. It is the fifth-highest-grossing movie of all time at the domestic box office (not adjusted for inflation) and the twelfth-highest-grossing movie at the worldwide box office. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won Best Sound.

Following the box office success of both movies, particularly the runaway hit that was Top Gun: Maverick, the question became if Top Gun 3 would ever happen. Conventional wisdom said yes, and Paramount Pictures likely wanted another sequel. Yet the fact that it took over 30 years to get the first Top Gun sequel made many people wonder if another one would come soon at all?

Top Gun 3 Officially Announced

On January 12, 2024, almost two years since Top Gun: Maverick hit theaters, it was confirmed that Paramount Pictures was developing Top Gun 3. The news came shortly after it was announced that Tom Cruise had signed a new, non-exclusive deal at Warner Bros. to develop original and IP films at that studio. Seeing as how Tom Cruise had been one of Paramount Pictures’ top stars with films like Top Gun: Maverick and also the Mission: Impossible series, this was a shocking movie, and the announcement coming so soon after the Cruises WB deal broke was likely a move by Paramount to show they are still in business with Cruise.

What We Know About Top Gun 3

Glen Powell as Hangman, Monica Barbaro as Phoenix and Miles Teller as Rooster in Top Gun Maverick
Paramount Pictures

It was confirmed that the main star of the previous films, Tom Cruise, will return as the energy-filled Maverick with his insane ideas, which already hints that the third movie will keep the same level of excitement and is sure to have numerous baffling stunts. Next to Cruise, another fan-favorite, actor Miles Teller, is expected to reprise his role as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw. While not officially attached, it is likely that Glenn Powell will again join the cast of Top Gun 3, stepping back into the role of Jake “Hangman” Seresin. Seeing that, especially, Cruise and Powell kept the conversation of returning for a third installment of Top Gun alive, it really comes as no surprise that Powell will also reprise his role.

Returning behind the scenes are Ehren Kruger and Joseph Kosinski, who are no strangers to the Top Gun franchise. Both of them already have a connection to the story since they played a valuable part in bringing Top Gun: Maverick to life. Kruger was a co-writer of the second Top Gun film, while Kosinski worked as the director. Kruger is officially returning as the writer for the third movie, and chances are high that Kosinski will return as director as well as producer.

Related: 15 Times Tom Cruise Got Hurt (or Almost Died) Doing His Own Stunts

No release date was set, but the film is expected to arrive after Mission: Impossible 8, which will hit theaters in May 2025. The film was just recently announced, so there is no word on what the story can be, as no script has likely been written. It will be interesting to see if the movie keeps Cruise’s Maverick character as the lead or if it begins the process of passing the torch to Teller and Powell as the new leads of the franchise, similar to Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed becoming the star of the Creed franchise and continuing the Rocky legacy.

While we wait to learn more, fans will have to re-watch the enthralling flying and epic stories of Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick, which are available on Paramount+ with a subscription.

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