Like many other young men I was completely enamored with aviation, and fighter jets in particular, from the very first time I saw Top Gun. I was in elementary school and I still remember pretending to be Maverick on the swings. That love of aviation has led me to my current career.
It was confirmed back in December by Tom Cruise that the sequel was in the works, but not a whole lot was known. But, just like most Hollywood secrets some of the details are now starting to leak, though from some unexpected sources.
Tom Burbage, the Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager, recently let some of these details slip at a luncheon for the National Aeronautics Association. According to the DEW Line blog at FlightGlobal.com, Burbage confirmed that Tom Cruise will not only make a cameo appearance, but will be the star.
While that may be a little bit of a surprise, the much bigger news is the aircraft that they have chosen to star alongside Cruise: the F-35. There is a little bit of irony in selecting a plane that is yet to really take-off to star alongside an actor that is in the twilight of his career, but I for one am intrigued.
Honestly, I don’t think the film will be that great just like most sequels made 35 years after the original. I really don’t know where they are going to go in terms of a story with an old test pilot in a plane that has never seen combat, but it can be fun to take guesses.
The above blog post has an amusing take on a potential storyline. Personally, I see Tom Cruise being the first to take the F-35 into combat because the other aircraft just aren’t cutting it. Sending in an old man to do the job of younger men because they don’t have the experience.
It would be something like Kevin Costner in The Guardian, but since Goose is already gone Maverick can just take the fall. Or maybe something along the lines of Iron Eagle (the other movie that made me fall in love with aviation) where Tom Cruise takes the F-35 into combat for the first time and gets shot down only to have to be rescued by a young heart throb who can go and play horseshoes or cards with Val Kilmer.
Regardless of the storyline, it may be the first exciting video we get of the F-35 in action.
More importantly, I hope that the sequel gets the young generation as excited about flying as the original did for my generation.