Moviegoers had to wait 36 years between “Top Gun” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” but the third film in the franchise might be coming much sooner. Paramount announced plans to proceed with “Top Gun 3” in January 2024, with Tom Cruise expected to return alongside Glen Powell and Miles Teller.

Cruise’s busy schedule, which includes a sequel to “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning” and an untitled English language feature from Alejandro González Iñárritu, makes it unlikely that he’ll be able to start production on “Top Gun 3” in the immediate future. But according to franchise producer Jerry Bruckheimer, “Maverick” director Joseph Kosinski’s new script is coming along smoothly.

“It will be Tom Cruise,” Bruckheimer said of the hypothetical third movie in a recent interview with Screen Rant. “Tom is amazing. We spent time with him. We have a story. Joe Kosinski had a wonderful story idea for it, and he said, ‘I really like that,’ so we’re developing it. But you never know when it’s going to get made because Tom is so busy. He’s doing ‘Mission: Impossible’ right now, he’s got a picture after it. Hopefully, we’ll get a screenplay that he loves, and we’ll be back in the air again.”

Speculation about “Top Gun 3” began almost immediately after the success of “Maverick,” but the supporting cast always acknowledged that a third film would ultimately rest on Cruise’s willingness to return and the team’s ability to craft more death-defying aerial stunts.

“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 in a 2022 interview with IndieWire. “But that’s above my pay grade. Maybe you can pitch it to him when you talk to him!”

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