David Henley: New details emerge about ‘Top Gun’ sequel

There’s some intriguing new information regarding the upcoming sequel to the 1986 blockbuster motion picture “Top Gun” that starred Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer and Kelly McGillis.

Because parts of the original movie were filmed at and in the skies above Naval Air Station Fallon, interest in the sequel continues to be high in Fallon, Churchill County and throughout Northern Nevada.

Ten years after the release of the first “Top Gun” by Paramount Pictures, attention once again focused on the film when it was revealed the Navy was moving the famous Top Gun school from its long-standing base at NAS Miramar in San Diego to NAS Fallon.

This newspaper extensively covered that San Diego-to-Fallon move on May 30, 1996, in several page one stories, and I wrote one of them from NAS Miramar to record the move to Nevada first-hand. When asked by the Los Angeles Times military affairs writer, who also was covering the move from San Diego, what it meant to Fallon, I quipped, “Well, it means even more to Fallon than the recent opening of the new Wal-Mart store.”

He obviously didn’t understand I was attempting to be witty, and wrote: “Top Gun is the biggest thing to happen in Fallon in many years,” said David C. Henley, president and publisher of the Lahontan Valley News & Fallon Eagle-Standard who came to Miramar for the launch. “We have a new Wal-Mart, but it’s not nearly as big as Top Gun,” Henley said. Copies of his L.A. Times story found their way to Fallon, and several LVN readers accused me of being flippant. I replied, “Calm down... what I told the Times was in fact true!”

But getting to the new information I’ve just been given about the “Top Gun” sequel:

Three Paramount officials recently traveled to NAS Fallon where they conducted research on naval aviation and began script development for the sequel at the air base’s Top Gun school, which is formally named the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center.

Zip Upham, public affairs officer at NAS Fallon, who gave me this news, also said the Paramount representatives told him that the movie’s tentative title is “Top Gun: Maverick” (Maverick was Cruise’s character’s nickname in the original film in which he played navy pilot LT Pete Mitchell) and that the film is scheduled to be released in mid-July, 2019.

When I asked Upham if the Navy would cooperate with Paramount in the making of the motion picture, he said the final script must first be approved by the Navy before that decision is made. The decision rests with the staff of the West Coast branch of the Navy’s Office of Information, which is located in Los Angeles, he said.

Upham also said he has not been told if Cruise will again travel to NAS Fallon. Cruise visited NAS Fallon on Aug. 17, 2012, which was five years ago this month, following Paramount’s decision to film the “Top Gun” sequel. Upham added he does not know if any filming for the sequel take place at NAS Fallon.

David C. Henley is publisher emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News.


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