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Tom Cruise Said ‘Top Gun 2’ Would Be ‘Irresponsible’ and Glorify War in 1990 Interview

So why, over 30 years later, did Cruise vow it was his "responsibility" to deliver the best sequel possible?

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Paramount Pictures

Thirty years sure can make a difference. In a newly resurfaced Playboy interview with Tom Cruise, the Oscar nominee shut down a possible sequel to “Top Gun.” Now, on May 27, the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” will open in theaters.

Cruise previously shared criticisms over the portrayal of war in “Top Gun,” telling Playboy that the film was received in a variety of different ways.

“Some people felt that ‘Top Gun’ was a right-wing film to promote the Navy. And a lot of kids loved it,” Cruise said at the time, via Gizmodo. “But I want the kids to know that that’s not the way war is — that ‘Top Gun’ was just an amusement park ride, a fun film with a PG-13 rating that was not supposed to be reality.”

He added, “That’s why I didn’t go on and make ‘Top Gun II’ and III and IV and V. That would have been irresponsible.”

While the Playboy interviewer attempted to draw comparisons between “Top Gun” and Cruise’s Academy Award-nominated performance as real-life Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic in “Born on the Fourth of July,” Cruise called out the respective films as “two different things.”

Cruise continued, “‘Top Gun’ is a joy ride and shouldn’t be looked at beyond that. ‘Born’ is about real people and real events. ‘Top Gun’ should be looked at as going on Space Mountain — it’s like a simple fairy tale…Let’s look at the reality of what I am saying — where my beliefs lie. I didn’t have anything riding on ‘Top Gun.’ The fact is, I really want people to see ‘Born on the Fourth of July ‘— it’s a movie that had to be made.”

Cruise reprises his role of naval aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell for “Maverick,” which also stars Miles Teller as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Maverick’s late best friend Nick “Goose” Bradshaw.

Similar to the original film, “Top Gun” producers met with Pentagon military leaders; for the 1986 film, the Pentagon had total veto power over the script in turn for the production receiving access to advanced warfare weapons. “Top Gun” gained access to the USS Enterprise and the USS Ranger aircraft carriers, plus F-14 jets. Paramount Pictures was only asked to pay for the fuel.

In a new promotional video for “Top Gun: Maverick,” Cruise explained his “responsibility” to deliver the best “Top Gun” sequel possible.

“I wasn’t ready to make a sequel until we had a special story worthy of a sequel and technology evolved so that we could delve deeper into the experience of a fighter pilot,” Cruise, who stars and produces the film, said. “We worked with the Navy and the Top Gun school to formulate how to shoot it practically. Because if we’re going to do it, we’re flying the F-18s.”

First reactions to the film have already praised the gravity-defying stunts and “pure action” of the blockbuster.

“Top Gun: Maverick” flies into theaters on May 27.

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