“I feel the need… the need for speed!”
Watching Tom Cruise as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell recklessly yet gracefully maneuvering a jet through the air at incredibly high speeds never gets dull. But the original Top Gun is just 110 minutes long, and has become so iconic that many film lovers can probably recite the entire script from memory.
They’ll have a whole new script to memorise soon, though, as the long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick swoops into cinemas on 25 May. It’s been a jaw-dropping 36 years since the original was released, approximately 12 years since Paramount Pictures began developing a sequel, and almost five years since Tom Cruise officially confirmed it was really going ahead and that he’d be starring in it. Whichever way you look at it, it’s been a long wait for Top Gun fans.
The good – brilliant! – news is that it’s been worth the wait. We won’t say too much here, except that Top Gun: Maverick is an incredible big screen experience. A thrill-ride that threatens to redefine the entire action movie genre, with all the humour, pathos, and pure joy of the original, but in a very 2022 way, and, well, not to completely over-sell it, but it might be the film of the year. We think it'll create a whole new generation of fans, as well as finally giving fans of the original exactly what they always wanted, even if they didn’t know what that was.
Of course, while an almost four-decade gap is unusual, Top Gun: Maverick isn’t the first late sequel we’ve seen in the past few years, and it won’t be the last, either.
In 2015, fans of mad science, creature features, and dinosaurs chomping on foolhardy tourists were treated to a return trip to John Hammond’s grand folly as Jurassic World revisited Isla Nublar – a full 22 years since Jurassic Park first graced our screens, and 14 years since Jurassic Park III capped off the trilogy.
But while Top Gun: Maverick, as the title suggests, brings back the main character of the first film, Jurassic World introduced a whole new cast of dinosaur fodder. Jeff Goldblum was brought back as chaotic mathematician Dr Ian Malcolm for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 2018, and, even more excitingly, the upcoming third instalment in the Jurassic World franchise (and sixth film overall) will bring back not just Goldblum but Sam Neill as Dr Alan Grand and Laura Dern as Dr Ellie Sattler, too. Getting all three of them back for the first time since the original film feels like a major coup, and we’re really looking forward to having the whole team back together for Jurassic World Dominion.
Lovers of James Cameron’s epic world of direhorses, hexapedes, mountain banshees and, of course, Na’vi, are also going to be well-looked after this year as Avatar: The Way Of Water is finally released. It’s been 13 years since we last glimpsed Pandora, but a third, as-yet-untitled Avatar film was shot back-to-back with The Way Of Water, and is due to be released in 2024. That two-year wait should fly by, compared with the last 13 years!
Before then, too, we’ll get to keep our nostalgia bank filled up thanks to the currently untitled Indiana Jones sequel that’s on the way. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull came out in 2008, and was itself a long-delayed sequel, following Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade a good 19 years earlier. Filming wrapped earlier this year, and with Harrison Ford once again reprising his role alongside newbies Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Toby Jones, and Antonio Banderas, we’re looking forward to finding out what the intrepid explorer has been up to lately.
The message we’re getting from Hollywood, then, is that it really is never too late when it comes to following up on a much-loved film. If there’s a film you’d love to see a sequel to but thought you never would – maybe don’t give up hope just yet!