Under the Radar

Tom Cruise Took 32 Years to Make Captain for 'Top Gun' Sequel

"Top Gun" aviators after they've satisfied their need for speed. (Paramount)

Where did the "Mav" go wrong? Why did it take Navy Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, played by Tom Cruise, 32 years to make captain? Was it those rear-echelon types coming down again on our rule-breaking hero? Was it the "Iceman?"

Those are just some of the questions awaiting answers in the sequel to the enormously popular, and profitable, '80s hit "Top Gun." The new movie scheduled to come out in July 2019 is titled -- wait for it -- "Top Gun: Maverick."

Pentagon officials Thursday briefly acknowledged assisting with the movie, and Cruise on Wednesday tweeted a photo of himself wearing captain's rank insignia and standing near an F/A-18F Super Hornet to show that filming had begun.

A caption over the photo reads "Feel The Need," short for "I feel the need for speed," a line from the first movie that would have spawned endless viral memes in the 1980s, if viral memes had existed.

At a Pentagon news briefing, Dana White, the department's chief spokesperson, confirmed that the military is assisting with the movie in an advisory capacity. "We're confident in our team's ability to assist," she said. "I, personally, have not read the script yet, but we will work very closely to ensure that it depicts our aviators in a realistic way."

The new film is in its early stages, but some media spies suggest that the plot has something to do with the higher-ups trying to decide whether to send drones or manned aircraft on a mission to right wrongs and give dastardly types what they deserve. And we can all guess where the Mav comes down on that one.

It's also unknown at this point whether Lt. Tom "Iceman" Kazansky, aka Val Kilmer, the Mav's one-time nemesis turned "Danger Zone" best bud in a mano-a-mano fight against the commies, will make a re-appearance.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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