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‘Top Gun’ 3? Only If They ‘Figure Out More Crazy Things to Do with Airplanes’

Star Glen Powell tells IndieWire it's all up to Tom Cruise, who only wants to "beat the earlier movies" when it comes to sequel chatter.

Box Office: 'Top Gun: Maverick' Is a Hit, with Older Audiences Too

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Paramount Pictures

It only took 36 years (and a handful of COVID delays) for a “Top Gun” sequel to land in movie theaters. The rush of glowing reviews for “Top Gun: Maverick” ahead of its May 27 release (including IndieWire’s own Critic’s Pick, which deemed the film “the most satisfying summer action movie since ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout'”) suggests it was worth the wait — so how long until the next one?

In a recent conversation with breakout star Glen Powell — who plays Lieutenant Jake Seresin (call sign: “Hangman”), AKA the contemporary version on Val Kilmer’s iconic “Iceman” from the original Tony Scott film — that’s all up to star and producer Tom Cruise, but Powell shared a few parameters.

“I think Tom, basically, his sort of motto at the beginning of this thing is, if you can’t beat the earlier movies, there’s no reason in doing it at all,” Powell said. “There’s no reason in just adding another movie to the filmography of the world, if it doesn’t contribute or beat the original.”

Cruise, who returns in his role as Naval aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, produced the film alongside Jerry Bruckheimer, Christopher McQuarrie, and David Ellison. (The actor may have revealed little at his recent MasterClass interview at the Cannes Film Festival, but it did show that this is an actor-producer who very much enjoys his control.)

The adrenaline junkie and lover of practical stunts even taught co-stars Powell, Miles Teller, Jay Ellis, Lewis Pullman, Danny Ramirez, and Monica Barbaro how to pilot an aircraft, starting with a single-engine Cessna, before putting them through months-long training that involved plenty of in-flight pieces.

“I put them in an airplane where they could do some aerobatics. Then a jet where they could pull serious Gs and feel what it’s like with an ejector seat. The first day they’re in the F-18, they’re filming,” Cruise told People, citing that the film is a true “love letter to aviation.”

Powell agrees, and says any followup film would have to adhere to that feeling. “So, is there going to be a ‘Top Gun 3’? If we can figure out more crazy things to do with airplanes or a story that it is compelling and emotional and adventurous and romantic and all those things like, I am sure Tom would be down,” Powell said. “But that’s above my pay grade. Maybe you can pitch it to him when you talk to him!”

A Paramount Pictures release, “Top Gun: Maverick” is in theaters now.

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