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Top Gun 3’s 10 Biggest Challenges Facing Tom Cruise’s Movie

Summary Top Gun: Maverick’s flying scenes set a high bar for Top Gun 3, which will need to surpass the audience’s expectations for stunning aerial acrobatics and visual effects.
Top Gun 3 must prioritize finding the right story, taking the time to develop a solid narrative that respects Maverick’s character and paves the way for the next generation of Top Gun graduates.
The success of Top Gun: Maverick puts immense pressure on Top Gun 3, as it must strive to capture the spirit and nostalgia of the previous films while offering a fresh and meaningful story that stands on its own.
Top Gun: Maverick was one of the biggest box office hits of 2022, and now Tom Cruise’s Top Gun 3 faces some of the biggest challenges of the franchise. The sequel saw Cruise return to the cockpit as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell for a follow up to his 1986 hit, this time having the former hotshot pilot teaching a new group of Top Gun graduates, with bigger action sequences and more stunning aerial shots of fighter jets than ever before. On a budget of $170 million, it made an impressive $1.496 billion globally, all but guaranteeing that Top Gun 3 was going to be the natural progression for the action series.
Top Gun: Maverick seemed like a natural conclusion, tying up the stories of Maverick, Iceman (Val Kilmer), and other Top Gun characters, presenting the first in a series of obstacles for Top Gun 3 to succeed. Assuming Cruise finds the time amidst a busy filming schedule to start production on the film, logistics, casting, narrative, and other creative choices will have to be carefully considered in order for the capstone of the Top Gun trilogy to succeed. There’s no doubt that fans will go to see Cruise return as Maverick for perhaps one final time, but it will need to overcome considerable issues to be as good as its predecessors.
10 Top Gun: Maverick’s Flying Scenes Will Be Tough To Beat
Top Gun: Maverick’s flying scenes were some of the most impressive displays of aerial acrobatics recorded on film, and represented the true collaborative spirit between Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski’s vision. Given the approach they took to authentically capture the stunning displays from inside the cockpit, as opposed to around it, fans felt like they were really flying a fighter jet. Top Gun 3 will have to work even harder to impress an audience that has now come to expect a certain level of jaw-dropping professionalism from the franchise’s visual effects.
9 Top Gun 3 Must Be Patient Finding The Right Story
One of the reasons it took Top Gun: Maverick 13 years to be developed was because it needed to have the right story. Maverick had to be included in the new world of Navy aerial combat in a way that made sense, and didn’t seem out of place in the era of drone warfare. Rather than rush the production of the film to capitalize on the success of its predecessor, Top Gun 3 should have a solid story first that both give Maverick a respectful sendoff while at the same time passing the torch to the next generation of Top Gun graduates.
8 Top Gun: Maverick’s Success Puts More Pressure On Top Gun 3
Top Gun: Maverick was an unprecedented success for Cruise and Co., which while helpful for boosting the signal for the franchise, puts a lot of pressure on Top Gun 3. The sequel to Top Gun managed to capture the spirit and nostalgia of the first film, while also telling its own story and differentiating itself enough to be considered on its own merit. It also had the benefit of having a particularly touching scene between Maverick and Iceman (Val Kilmer) before the latter character’s death, which will be difficult to recreate going forward with any other cast member of the original crew.
7 Tom Cruise’s Schedule Makes Top Gun 3 More Difficult
Tom Cruise’s schedule may not align for Top Gun 3, particularly since the actor is currently hard at work filming Mission: Impossible -Dead Reckoning Part Two. Given that the actor commits 100% to whatever film he’s working on, fitting Top Gun 3 into the equation likely won’t happen until Cruise can bring his A-game. Besides that film, Cruise is also currently working on an untitled collaboration with Space X, as well as a sequel to Live Die Repeat, a sci-fi action film that, at least as far as a big star like Cruise is concerned, has become a cult classic within his filmography.
6 Top Gun 3 Must Find The Right Role For Maverick
In some ways, Cruise’s ideal role for Top Gun 3 was revealed years ago when Top Gun: Maverick was in the early stages of development. Cruise didn’t want Maverick to inhabit a stereotype and just be another grizzled flight instructor, and fortunately, the film found a way to better utilize the character, but that makes Top Gun 3 more challenging. Cruise shouldn’t repeat what he’s already done, but instead should find a new way to bring complexity to the character so that he doesn’t seem to have stagnated, perhaps even focusing on Maverick finding meaning beyond his “need for speed” after retirement or with his love interest.
5 Top Gun 3 Must Set Up A New Lead For The Franchise
If Maverick takes on a smaller role in the story then a new lead will need to take his place. Unfortunately, Cruise is synonymous with the franchise at this point, so anyone who accomplishes this task will need to be able to carry it. It seemed like new Top Gun: Maverick characters like Rooster or Hangman were going to fulfill the void left by Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, but they might not still be available or interested, particularly since it’s a tall order to take on a series of films that are so closely associated with their star, whose devotion to his action movies is legendary.
4 Top Gun 3 Can’t Be A Cash Grab
Considering that Top Gun: Maverick was one of the most successful films of 2022, it’s not surprising that a sequel would get greenlit. The challenge is making Top Gun 3 not seem like a soulless cash grab intended to put the brand name on something that doesn’t resemble the other two movies. Film series like Fast & Furious and Star Wars have been accused of cranking out films just because studios know that fans will come and see them if they have the franchise name, and not because their content is worthy to carry it.
3 The Covid-19 Pandemic Helped Top Gun: Maverick
It’s possible that part of the reason for Top Gun: Maverick’s success is that the Covid-19 pandemic thinned the competition for the movie. By itself, it might face the same challenges as Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One which debuted around the same time as Barbie and Oppenheimer. Though it was part of a longstanding franchise, audiences weren’t interested in seeing it as much as they were interested in seeing new original films that weren’t part of an already established series of films.
2 Top Gun 3 Will Face More Competition
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Top Gun 3 didn’t face nearly the same competition that it did before as movies were often released to streaming services rather than theatrically. When Top Gun 3 debuts, which will take at least 1-2 years, it will go up against movies at the theaters that may be more popular. Even as tastes pivot away from superhero films they still dominate the box office, and original movies like Barbie and Oppenheimer have proven that audiences will flock in droves to see creative and unique original stories provided they tell compelling stories and are made well.
1 Top Gun: Maverick Felt Like The Natural Franchise Conclusion
Top Gun: Maverick felt like a natural conclusion for the franchise, so it’s going to be difficult for Top Gun 3 to not feel superfluous. It tied up Maverick’s story by showing him fly one last mission with the new Top Gun graduates and then sail into the sunset with Penny. Iceman was given a respectful burial that highlighted his commitment to military service, Goose’s legacy was commemorated with Maverick’s treatment of his son and saving his life to compensate for letting Goose down, so Top Gun 3 will need to tell a story that feels like a new beginning rather than the end of a saga.

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