Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Tom Cruise Reveals How The Right Story Came Along For Top Gun: Maverick

Some 36 years after the release of Tom Cruise's classic flight school action movie "Top Gun," the long-awaited sequel, "Top Gun: Maverick," is finally arriving at last. Development of the film first began in 2010 (via Vulture), when producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott (who directed the original) were approached by Paramount Pictures about continuing the story of the trainees at the U.S. Navy's Fighter Weapons School in San Diego.

Although Cruise's involvement was not assured from the beginning and his character, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, was initially envisioned as having a smaller role, development of the film continued even after Scott's untimely death in 2012. As the script went through continuous drafts, Cruise's title character began to assume a larger role in the story, with Val Kilmer also returning as Tom "Iceman" Kazansky.

The closely-held plot finds Maverick — still only a captain after all the years, seemingly by choice — returning to the school to train a new group of pilots, one of which is Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of his late best friend Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (played by Anthony Edwards in the first film).

Speaking on the red carpet at the San Diego premiere of the film, Cruise told Looper's sister site, SlashFilm, that he had an active role in the script's many incarnations, but it took quite a while for everyone involved to land on the right story.

"We developed the script," he explained. "I didn't just read the script. It was the concepts and ideas, and it wasn't just the script. It was a moment where, quite frankly, they didn't work — none of the stories worked."

Tom Cruise describes the most important element of a good movie

With Tom Cruise, the writers, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and new director Joseph Kosinski (who previously worked with Cruise on "Oblivion") eventually bringing the story for "Top Gun: Maverick" into focus, Cruise says that there's much more to a project like this than just the words on the page.

"It's not like you just have the script," he said. "You have an idea and you start to know that we're onto something emotional [and] what effects we want to create for the audience. Then, we started delving into it and became very interested in these concepts."

"Top Gun: Maverick" finally went in front of the cameras in 2018 and early 2019, although the movie's originally planned July 2019 release date was bumped to June 2020 and then delayed again by the COVID-19 pandemic to several dates in 2021 before finally settling into a May 2022 berth.

Now that the film is finally ready to take flight, Cruise adds that of all the elements that are important to a movie like "Top Gun: Maverick," one stands out above the rest. "When you see it, you see the emotional journey of the characters. You see the world as incredibly fascinating. That was always there, but what's the drama? What's the story? The story is king, always. Those things you have to develop as you're going on."

"Top Gun: Maverick" soars exclusively into theaters on May 27.