‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Star Tom Cruise Explains Why the Sequel Took So Long to Get Made

by Blake Ells

Top Gun: Maverick is still dominating the box office. It will likely be the most successful film in American history. Fans have waited on the sequel for years. Tom Cruise reveals why it took a while for the blockbuster to hit the big screen in a conversation with BBC Radio 1.

Paramount knew they wanted a sequel before the first film was released. But at that point in his career, Tom Cruise didn’t want to commit to another Top Gun. It was 1986. The next five films that Cruise would release were The Color of Money, Cocktail, Young Guns, Rain Man and Born on the Fourth of July. He was doing pretty well for himself.

Cruise says that he heard a lot of bad pitches for another Top Gun over the years.

“Just for years, I would think, ‘How do I do this? What is it?’ Talking about story and structure for years. People come with ideas that are terrible – just didn’t work at all in any way, shape or form. And I was just saying, ‘This is never gonna work. I’m not interested,” he said.

He moved on with his career, and it obviously went well. He landed on another franchise, Mission: Impossible, along the way. Two new Mission: Impossible movies are already on the way. But he never stopped thinking about that Top Gun sequel.

If he was going to do the sequel, he wanted it to be fresh. He also wanted to ensure that Maverick had a proper story. He thought about it a lot.

Tom Cruise Knew What He Wanted Out of ‘Top Gun’

“When I did the first one, I flew,” he said. “I had no real warm up and I knew that I wanted the breadth of the film was more expansive. So how do I educated the studio, the filmmakers, the actors on what it is I wanted to accomplish? And you can see in American Made and [Mission: Impossible] Fallout that I’m developing the technology. I’m thinking about it,” he said.

Even when Tom Cruise knew he had what he wanted, everyone had to wait longer. The film was delayed multiple times over the course of the pandemic as theaters were closed to audiences. It finally debuted on Memorial Day weekend of 2022, just 36 short years after the original. Just over a month after its’ debut, the film has amassed $1.11 billion globally. It won’t be leaving box offices anytime soon, either. Approximately 16% of the audience seeing Top Gun: Maverick are repeat viewers.

The original enjoyed the same type of success. It remained on big screens for nearly a year. It’s not something seen often in the days of streaming, but Top Gun: Maverick will fly high for a long time.