4 Reasons ‘Top Gun 3’ Will Never Happen

Top Gun: Maverick became Tom Cruise’s most successful movie in a matter of days. It gave the longtime international star his biggest opening weekend and became his first billion-dollar movie. Maverick is also a massive hit among fans and critics. So, it’s time to start planning Top Gun 3, right? Miles Teller, who plays Rooster in Maverick, has talked to Cruise about the possibility, but he said it all depends on Cruise. Keeping the momentum going and creating another billion-dollar tentpole is an enticing idea, but Top Gun 3 will never happen. Here are four reasons it will never take flight.

Tom Cruise as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (foreground) and Miles Teller as Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw in 'Top Gun: Maverick.' Cruise needs to be on board to make 'Top Gun 3,' but it's never going to get off the ground.
Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (foreground) and Miles Teller as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ | Paramount Pictures/Skydance/Jerry Bruckheimer Films

1. Will there be a ‘Top Gun 3?’ It needs to happen quickly, but Tom Cruise’s schedule is loaded

Most successful sequels happen in quick succession. For every Maverick or Blade Runner 2049 — sequels that performed well — there’s a Live Free or Die Hard or Hobbit franchise that shows otherwise. If Paramount wants a Top Gun 3, then it needs to act now, but that’s easier said than done.

Cruise has a loaded schedule at the moment, per his IMDb page. He finished Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, and he’s currently filming Part Two. Cruise also has a SpaceX project in the works, as well as a follow-up to Edge of Tomorrow. Cruise loves promoting his work, so each movie will come with press tours, talk show appearances, and film festival debuts.

And think about what Top Gun 3 would look like if it didn’t happen quickly. Cruise, in his late 60s, playing an elite fighter pilot? That would be tough to pull off. The alternative is Cruise sitting at a desk with Maverick as some low-ranking officer, but who wants to see that? Plus, we already know his character eschewed promotions so he could remain a pilot. 

Time is of the essence, and given Cruise’s schedule, it might be the biggest reason Top Gun 3 will never happen.

RELATED: 5 Reasons ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Became Tom Cruise’s Most Successful Movie 

2. Cruise is a perfectionist when it comes to ‘Top Gun’ and his character, Maverick

Paramount pressed Cruise for a Top Gun sequel before the first movie hit theaters. It took more than 30 years to make it happen. If Cruise’s mindset about making Maverick is any indication, a third movie must be carefully thought out.

Maverick director Joseph Kosinski convinced Cruise to sign on by promising to move the star’s character forward. Cruise didn’t want a nostalgia fest, and he wanted everything to be perfect. 

We already know Paramount needs to fast-track a follow-up, but Cruise’s detailed approach to Maverick indicates Top Gun 3 will never take flight.

RELATED: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Director Joseph Kosinski Reveals the Flaw He Chose to Leave in the Movie 

3. Are they making another ‘Top Gun’ movie? A lawsuit could keep another sequel grounded

The family of the author who wrote the magazine article that informed Top Gun sued Paramount after Maverick opened. The family claims Paramount violated copyright law with the sequel.

A legal expert outlined how Paramount could defend itself in the suit, and the studio could have a strong case. The legal wrangling is a very real hurdle to clear on the way to making Top Gun 3. As we mentioned earlier, timing is critical, and the lawsuit is a speed bump slowing down the process. Yet another reason Top Gun 3 will never happen.

4. ‘Maverick’ would be impossible to top

Blockbuster movies with strong emotional throughlines, complex relationships, and three-dimensional characters don’t come along often. Maverick is one of them, which is one reason it resonates with fans and critics, but it’s not easy to do.

Recreating the magic of Top Gun: Maverick would be a nearly impossible task. Not only is the film Cruise’s biggest financial success, but it’s also one of his highest-rated movies on Rotten Tomatoes. There’s nowhere to go but down, especially if a follow-up doesn’t happen quickly. 

The old saying “quit while you’re ahead” comes to mind. Maybe Paramount creates something of an extended universe focusing on Teller’s Rooster character or Glen Powell’s Hangman, but a Cruise-led Top Gun 3 would be one of the biggest challenges a filmmaker could tackle.

Between the timing, Cruise’s perfectionism, the lawsuit, and the challenge of besting Maverick, it’s likely that Top Gun 3 will never happen.

How much money has ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ made?

Remember how we mentioned Maverick quickly became Cruise’s most successful movie? Well, it’s still going.

The film opened with $126.7 million, per Box Office Mojo, closed in on $600 million domestic gross after 45 days, and inched close to $1.2 billion worldwide box office. Maverick has never fallen outside of the top three at the box office any day it has been in theaters.

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