The Top Gun sequel that’s been 32 years in the making is, well, still pretty early in the making, Pentagon officials told Task & Purpose.
On Wednesday, actor Tom Cruise tweeted a picture of himself wearing a Navy flight suit with a captain’s rank while standing next to an F/A-18F Super Hornet with the caption #Day1. A source at Paramount Pictures confirmed to Task & Purpose that filming had officially started on the sequel, entitled ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’
— Tom Cruise (@TomCruise) May 31, 2018
But so far, the Navy has only agreed to support two days of shooting at Naval Air Station North Island in California, which concluded on Thursday, defense officials told Task & Purpose. The movie’s final script has not been approved yet, so the Pentagon is waiting for the filmmakers to specify what assistance they would like and when they would need it.
Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters on Thursday that she has faith that the Defense Department to assist the Top Gun filmmakers. “I, personally, have not read the script yet,” she said, “
but we will work very closely to ensure that it depicts our aviators in a realistic way.”
The Pentagon faces an uphill battle in encouraging the filmmakers to embrace realism. Since it’s been more than 30 years since the original movie, Cruise’s Maverick would likely have been forced to retire from the Navy by now. It is possible that he made it to flag officer and was busted down to O-6 as a result of the Fat Leonard scandal, or the Navy secretary personally intervened to waive high-year tenure for the good of the service.
Also, media reports have suggested that the story of the new Top Gun movie involves the U.S. military abandoning its faith in manned aircraft in favor of drones. But in the universe that we inhabit, the leaders of military aviation are all manned aircraft pilots, who have little, if any, faith in drones, and would gladly take an $100 million F-35 for an airstrike against Russian or Chinese air defenses rather than use a swarm of less expensive drones for the same task (A side note: the fact that Maverick apparently flies a Super Hornet instead of an F-35C may show that even if audiences suspend their disbelief, there is no way they would buy the F-35 is ready for prime time,)
And let’s not forget that the climax in the original Top Gun involves Navy F-14s getting into a dogfight with enemy MiG fighters. Any aerial battle set in the present time would likely be fought beyond visual range. The planes would not see each other.
And the movie would have to explain how Maverick has not been court-martialed for fraternization in the three decades since the original premiered.
Good luck, DoD!