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Posted at 10:13 AM ET, 10/14/2010

'Top Gun 2' is on. But what role should Tom Cruise's Maverick play?

By Jen Chaney

In news that may instill a sudden desire to watch a shirtless volleyball match, New York Magazine's Vulture blog reports that a sequel to "Top Gun" -- the 1986 flick that transformed Tom Cruise from mere movie star into an American hero -- is being made.

According to the report, Paramount has extended offers to both "Top Gun" director Tony Scott and producer Jerry Bruckheimer to join the project, and is in discussions with "Usual Suspects" scribe (and "Valkyrie" co-writer) Christopher McQuarrie to update the screenplay. As for Cruise, his Lt. Pete Mitchell will be featured in the movie but, according to Vulture, in a "smaller role" that isn't too "obvious." In other words, Maverick won't cameo as a flight instructor.

But if he's not teaching young aviators how to buzz the tower or do inverted dives with MiG 28s, what should he be doing? Hey, thanks for asking. Because I've got a few ideas.

1. Maverick as ... therapist: In the first "Top Gun," Maverick finally got over his daddy issues. Twenty-five years later, perhaps he'll be counseling other cocky, young Navy men and women about how to push aside their own psychological baggage so they can focus on defending their country. Oh, and on the side, he and Lt. Tom "Iceman" Kazansky do conflict-resolution consulting for corporate clients. Name of their first book: "Finding Your Wingman: Learning How to Turn Your Co-Workers Into Co-Pilots."

2. Maverick as ... stay-at-home dad: Mav and his lady love, Charlie Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), lived the dream for a while. He did, as promised in the first movie, become a Top Gun instructor. They got married. And they lived happily for several years in her little bungalow, riding their motorcycle to work each day and chilling out to the sounds of Otis Redding every night. They even had a daughter together. But Charlie, sadly, eventually died in a tragic piano bar accident ("Great Balls of Fire," indeed), forcing Pete Mitchell to give up his instructor gig and focus on raising that little girl. Who is getting older. And is *very* interested in aviation.

3. Maverick as ... bartender: There's something about the notion of Tom Cruise behind a bar, skillfully pouring hard drinks that just feels so ... right. And familiar. In a "Top Gun 2" context, he could dole out all kinds of useful advice to his nightly regulars ("On the first one, it's okay if you crash and burn"), and kick off the weekly Thursday night karaoke event with his signature version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling."

4. Maverick as ... volleyball instructor: Okay, maybe that falls into the "obvious" category. Whatever. I just want to hear "Playin' With the Boys" in a movie scene again. Although, for the record, Mr. Cruise does still have the abs needed to pull off a round of shirtless serves and spikes.

5. Maverick as ... dating advice columnist: Look, he managed to clumsily hit on his instructor and still win her heart. That makes Pete Mitchell -- or, to use the nom de plume from his online columns, Frisky Flyboy -- the perfect guy to tell men and women how to score dates. And he's been quite a success. His video series -- entitled, "I Feel the Need, the Need for Speed-Dating" -- went viral and may be adopted into a sitcom on CBS.

Got better ideas for how Maverick should make his way into "Top Gun 2"? By all means, fire away by posting a comment.

By Jen Chaney  | October 14, 2010; 10:13 AM ET
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  
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Let's just hope they resist the temptation to haul Val Kilmer's bloated corpse out in front of the camera for the volleyball scene.

Posted by: MStreet1 | October 14, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

My first thought was bartender, too. He could revive a couple of his tricks from Cocktail.

But then I htought - no! He needs to be an obnoxious drunk sitting at the bar. One who jumps up on the bar to tell everyeone all his personal business, pokes people in the chest while he talks to them about the deep meaning of life, and tries to pick up women 1/2 his age.

Posted by: kbockl | October 14, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Either the admiral running the base, or the wacko religious proslytizer outside the main gates. If they go with my preferred option, they can haul Val Kilmer's bloated corpse out to play the wino keeping Ol' Mav company on the sidewalk.

Posted by: northgs | October 14, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

how about Lt. Pete Mitchell crashes and burns, yet again? He becomes a Top Gun instructor, as suggested, pursuing and eventually marrying Charlie,but after their daughter is born, she announces that she's a lesbian and leaves him, taking said daughter with her to live with her butch SO. Pete goes into counseling to fight his demons after becoming an alcoholic and losing his Top Gun gig due to his repeated relapses, then gets it together and becomes an addiction counselor specializing in military personnel with drug & alcohol addictions.

Posted by: pennstatemom2000 | October 14, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Maverick and Charlie Blackwood (Kelly McGillis) have since split once they got stationed separately and the long-distance thing didn't work.

From there, take the parts of "Top Gun" that were more action focused but dropped once they made a huge turn in the story mid-production to focus more on Maverick/Charlie.

(There was a whole plotline with Cougar [John Stockwell] that got deleted and he was hardly in the final cut. Resurrect that footage and bring Cougar and the same actor back as a way to tie old and new.)

Then follow the exact same arc for Charlie in the first movie but insert Maverick: Instructor falls for appealing, cocky and somewhat empty-headed-seeming young pilot (Shia LeBouef). They're just both men now. (Avoid any potential for double entendres around "top gun"; remember that this is a serious movie.)

While Maverick struggles with his attractions, Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) appears to him in a dream singing "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" in a buddy-here's-some-advice way. Don't compromise who you are for others.

The big action sequence now involves using good ol' American technology to free 33 trapped miners in South America while battling prejudices from Democrats and Republicans both on who defines us as a country (cameos by Glenn Beck and Anderson Cooper, neither of whom are in uniform).

Insert remixes by the Jonas Brothers and Lady Gaga of all the insufferable Kenny Loggins from the first film. FIN.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | October 14, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

If we're going back to the '80s can't we "just say no"?

Posted by: jes11 | October 14, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"Let's just hope they resist the temptation to haul Val Kilmer's bloated corpse out in front of the camera for the volleyball scene." --MStreet1

Bloated Val Kilmer would require a separate movie: "Top Gut." (Where "Take My Breath Away" would underscore him climbing one flight of stairs.)

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | October 14, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

He should be the control tower guy denying Young Headstrong Pilot With Issues permission to buzz the tower. Thus he would be limited (mercifully) to one line:

"Negative, [Call Sign], the pattern is full."

Posted by: TBone71 | October 14, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

What role should he play? Um, elder statesman? Former hottie who went completely bananas? (Art imitating life ... )

A sequel to this movie is the dumbest in a long line of dumb ideas coming out of Hollywood. Leave well enough alone -- this movie is a classic.

Posted by: Californian11 | October 14, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

TBone71 wins.

Posted by: kbockl | October 14, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

In Top Gun II, despite his marriage with Kelly McGillis, Maverick should be strugling with being gay in the military's DADT envirnoment. It would be a real acting stretch for Mr Cruise [snicker]!

Posted by: dre7861 | October 14, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Where the Classy, Attractive & Affluent Meet. Start Searching Now

Posted by: pasteurluis13 | October 15, 2010 3:44 AM | Report abuse

What if Pete Mitchell is an instructor who is seperated/divorced like Kevin Costner in the Guardian and is killed on a mission?
I would love to see Tatum Channing as the new recruit that Pete takes under his wing and Jenna Dewan as his girlfriend and she is the local school teacher or Jenna works in a factory or store and Tatum comes in for her like Richard Gere did to Debra Winger in Officer and a Gentleman after Pete dies, of course...and carries her away....

Posted by: sassylady | October 16, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Look why cant someone just be normal and wright a normal comment.... Well here goes in my opinion when they make a sequel to a film they always take out the original actor that just ruins the film completly. Top gun was one of the best films every and i look forward to top gun 2.. But if tom cruise is not in it as marverick then forget it. People and fans of the original film wont even entertain it just as i wont !!!!Tom Get your finger out and sort it. The film should be set in 1990 2 years later and tom should be Maverick...

Posted by: riccidivito | October 18, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Top Gun was a movie that defined a generation.....and no sequel will ever do it justice. However; in this installment....Goose's kid (GK from now on) grows up to be a successful Navy aviator but is distant from the Mitchell family and blames Maverick for his father's death.

Although Pete was happily married, it ended when his wife died on an experimental flight a few years ago. They never had kids and he finds solace in his job.

GK, finds himself in the Top Gun program and the instructor guessed it.

GK finds himself competing against the elites including a fiery hot shot played by Natalie Portman.

The movie is about bad ass American planes,good one liners, weapons and technology with a romantic twist and concludes in Maverick, and GK saving the day (Natalie got shot down) making some really tough choices in saving America from attacks by terrorists flying hijacked American fighter planes. (thinking 24 meets 9/11 meets Air Force One).

More to come.....stay tuned.

Posted by: afp325 | October 19, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Val Kilmer was the best actor in that movie. I guess for a current part for Tom Cruise, how about him dealing with the issue of gays in the military? The truth is, why remake a movie that over time does not age well at all?

Posted by: NJGiantsFan | October 19, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

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