When MTV News heard that director Tony Scott, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and "Usual Suspects" screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie were speeding down the highway to the danger zone for a sequel to 1986's "Top Gun," we nearly wet our Naval aviator jumpsuits with joy. Of course, our enthusiasm for "Top Gun 2" wasn't quite unbridled because Tom Cruise was reportedly only going to appear in a small supporting role, presumably making way for a new crop of cocky pilots to take steam baths together, make slow sweet love to Kelly McGillis, and play volleyball whilst listening to Kenny Loggins' "Playin' With the Boys."
Well, you can go ahead and take that bridle right off your enthusiasm... because McQuarrie sent an email to Vulture (which broke the sequel news a couple weeks back) to deliver this brief but powerful message: "There is no 'Top Gun 2' in which Maverick is not the starring role."
In other words, Tom Cruise will be the star! Or will he? In his brevity, McQuarrie left a whole lot open to interpretation. Does he mean that Cruise and his speed-needing alter-ego Maverick will indeed headline the sequel? Or is he subtly implying that there won't "Top Gun 2" unless Cruise signs on for the lead role? Or -- and this is seriously doubtful -- is McQuarrie saying that the main role will be Maverick but leaving the door open for someone else to portray the character?
"Top Gun" fans are no doubt rooting for the first option, though Scott's lips were zipped on the subject at the red-carpet premiere for "Unstoppable." When MTV News asked whether we might see a reunion between Tom Cruise's Maverick and Val Kilmer's Iceman, he simply said: "I'm gonna withhold that information. I am [excited about it] too. I can't say anything. I'm talking with Jerry, and I'm going to withhold."
Scott wasn't quite as withholding while talking about the potential plot of "Top Gun 2," which he said will focus on a new generation of pilots who fly unmanned planes from afar. "I'm not waiting for a script," he told Hit Fix at the junket for "Unstoppable." 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. 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."
Sure, Cruise's Maverick could play some sort of role in that universe -- but we're having a hard time imaging how remote-controlled aerial combat is going to be quite as dramatic as flipping an enemy MIG the bird (a.k.a. "keeping up foreign relations) at a distance of two meters. In either event, Scott has kept mum on Cruise's involvement in the film, so perhaps he's known all along that McQuarrie intended to make Maverick the sequel's central character. Whether or not that's the case, now that McQuarrie's floated the idea, we're having a hard time imagining it any other way.
Should Tom Cruise's Maverick be the central character in "Top Gun 2"? Tell us in the comments!