Tom Cruise dropped one hell of a viral image today on his Instagram account to promote the long-awaited sequel to Top Gun. It showed Cruise, Maverick hamlet in hand, gazing toward an F/A-18F Super Hornet with "FEEL THE NEED." written across the image. The post was hashtagged #Day1, indicating that Cruise's second fighter jet-themed Hollywood adventure has just begun.
The sepia-toned photo came from Paramount's marketing department, with the brand's logo branded at the bottom. The teaser sent social media into a frenzy, with 'defense Twitter' having an especially good time with the post—although some takes landed far better than others.
Apparently, the Navy made Naval Air Station North Island available for production this week and that's where the photo was shot:
.@USNavy spokesman: "This week, specifically 30-31 May, the Navy provided Paramount Pictures access to Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, CA, to support the Production of 'Top Gun: Maverick,'" https://t.co/04PpUkd8Tz— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) May 31, 2018
The USAF took advantage of the announcement to poke a bit of fun at the Super Hornet's less than outstanding high-speed performance:
The Navy was quick to opine to the USAF's social media taunt, but the guys and gals in blue came back with a withering counterpunch:
Raytheon, on the other hand, failed miserably by actually posting a picture of an F-15E instead of a Super Hornet:
Dave Brown, an editor at the Washington Examiner, rightfully pointed out that Mav hadn't really crushed the Navy's promotional structural over the last three decades, even after shooting down a bunch of MiG-28s:
So it took him 32 years to go from O-3 to O-6 https://t.co/42Yiu2DSft— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) May 31, 2018
David Larter had an even better plot idea regarding Maverick's rank:
I will say it's a little surprising he screened for O-6 major command. I actually think it would be funny if Top Gun II was Maverick the CO of a deep draft Amphib.— David B Larter (@DavidLarter) May 31, 2018
But The Washington Examiner's take on how the F-35 fits into the whole Top Gun 2 equation was less than stellar, as I pointed out in my own Twitter post:
'Top Gun' sequel puts Tom Cruise in Boeing cockpit, snubbing Lockheed's F-35 https://t.co/JyYzYulUea— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) May 31, 2018
Is there a missionized two-seat F-35 to take the F/A-18F's place? Considering the original was all about the Pilot/RIO dynamic—and basically, a buddy story based on that—putting Mav in single-seat F-35 would have almost certainly busted the script. https://t.co/sDlEsY0Ize— Tyler Rogoway (@Aviation_Intel) May 31, 2018
And quite frankly, we really don't know what jets will be featured and how in the screenplay, and apparently neither does the Navy!:
Update on #TopGun2: David Evans, with the DOD's entertainment media office told IBD that it's "too soon to tell" which aircraft will be used based on just the draft script DoD has seen.A final script is expected "sometime in the future." https://t.co/MauV6BKu0f— Gillian Rich (@IBD_GRich) May 31, 2018
In fact, according to Task & Purpose, the Navy has only approved two days of shooting thus far for the project and is waiting to review a final script.
Regardless, the F-35 program doesn't seem upset with the production at this point in time:
We’re excited for this one – we feel the need for speed! https://t.co/uIEG0Jf8V5— F-35 Lightning II (@thef35) May 31, 2018
Still, Stephen Trimble sarcastically predicts an all too common manufacturer dispute is on the horizon over the film's starring jet:
Can’t wait for the GAO protest over this one. https://t.co/HViAioJt9r— Stephen Trimble (@FG_STrim) May 31, 2018
Some think the film should reflect the less glamorous realities faced by the Navy these days:
Top Gun 2: I feel the need to ask AIRPAC for additional 7B funding, additional journeyman avionics technicians, and 8 additional aircraft from FRC depot pipeline to meet OFRP readiness goals for the intermediate phase of pre-deployment work ups.— Herbal (@HerbCarmen) May 31, 2018
Hot take on TOP Gun 2 script— Señor Distraído (@Enviro_Mental33) May 31, 2018
1: 2h & 10mins Cmd & staff meeting.
2: Maverick makes unrealistic demands
3: CMDCM Grumples
4: XO caveats
5: Staff pray for death
8: Relived for cause
9: Forced retirement
10: chg name to Ollie North
11: become a Fox news pundant
@Toroonthemove had an ominous warning of what may be in store:
So, around 8? years ago, a friend in "the industry" in LA asked me to read a #script about #NavalAviation. It had a different title, but I suspect it was an early #TopGun2 draft. https://t.co/XP9B7Lhd0k— Toro (@toroonthemove) May 31, 2018
And of course huge penises drawn in the sky were bound to come up:
The original Top Gun was already about Sky Dicks, guys. https://t.co/yLAD0XN9nx— Valerie Insinna (@ValerieInsinna) May 31, 2018
As to what scenes Cruise was filming at NAS North Island, it looks like we might get a recreation of the iconic motorcycle/Tomcat scene from the original film which was also shot on an airfield near the runway. In that case, the location was NAS Miramar, then the Navy's coveted 'Fightertown USA,' which now belongs to the Marine Corps:
There was speculation that seemed to have some factual support behind it that Top Gun 2, now titled Top Gun: Maverick (seems obvious), would be about humans in the cockpit versus drones. That movie has already been made and it's called Stealth, but thankfully it seems as if the Top Gun 2 production team has since stepped away from that plotline. And it's not as if there aren't plenty of other ideas to work with, including this idea I posited four years ago.
Another outstanding question is whether or not the film will feature the amazing aerial footage that the original so brilliantly showcased—you can read all about how that footage was shot by a Topgun instructor who was part of the production by clicking here. Or—GASP!—will it be a CGI filled affair like we have become so accustomed to? Without real aerial photography—which is far easier to obtain nowadays through companies like Wolfe Air and GoPro like action cams—the film won't have the same winning texture. And then there is the question of the soundtrack? Who will step in to fill Kenny Loggins shoes?
All these questions and more will be answered—for better or worse—on July 12th, 2019 when Top Gun: Maverick hits theaters.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com