Top Gun 3: Release, Cast and Everything We Know

By Klein Felt Posted:
Top Gun, Tom Cruise

After the success of Top Gun: Maverick, audiences are raring to head back to the skies with the release of a potential Top Gun 3

Following a cast of Naval pilots in the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (led by the venerable Tom Cruise), the first two Top Gun films have become beloved blockbuster efforts. They mix charismatic characters, hit-stakes drama, and the thrill of flying some of the most powerful fighter jets.

Maverick marked a return to the franchise after nearly 40 years lying dormant since the 1986 original film. The sequel's success cemented the series as yet another franchise with repeated success under Cruise's belt, following in the footsteps of Mission: Impossible

When Will Top Gun 3 Release?

Tom Cruise as Pete

Top Gun 3 has been revealed to officially be in development; however, an exact release date remains unknown.

As reported by Variety in January 2024, Paramount greenlit the threequel with Top Gun: Maverick co-writer Ehren Kruger set to pen the script. 

According to the film's announcement, the studio is also considering letting Maverick director Joseph Kosinski hop back into the cockpit for the aviating adventure. 

While announced, it will likely be quite some time before Top Gun 3 ever sees the light of day as Cruise is in the middle of filming Mission: Impossible 8 (MI8). 

MI8 production has been slow-going for Cruise and company. The project suffered another delay during filming in late May 2024 (per GameSpot). 

Cruise - as the constant thrill-chaser he is - is reportedly set to appear in an upcoming Universal Doug Liman film that will see the actor complete a spacewalk. 

In a June 2023 interview with ITV, Cruise revealed they were still "working on that," which could delay the actor from working on a third Top Gun

This is in addition to an exclusive deal the Maverick actor signed with Warner Bros. in January 2024 (via Variety).

Under the new agreement, Cruise will develop and produce original and franchise films with the studio, which could add even more to his already full plate. 

According to Top Gun producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who spoke to Screen Rant in March 2024, when the movie happens depends on Tom Cruise. He said Cruise has Mission: Impossible, which is actively shooting, and "a picture after it" to get through first:

"It will be Tom Cruise. Tom is amazing. We spent time with him. We have a story. Joe Kosinski had a wonderful story idea for it, and he (Tom Cruise) said I really like that, so we’re developing it. But you never know when it’s going to get made because Tom is so busy. He’s doing Mission: Impossible right now, he’s got a picture after it. Hopefully, we’ll get a screenplay that he loves, and we’ll be back in the air again."

Bruckheimer reiterated this sentiment in a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter several months later, telling the outlet "[they] have a terrific story," it is just a matter of "get[ting] everybody together" to get it done:

"I think we have a terrific story. It’s just [a question of] how do we get everybody together and how do we get it done. Tom’s very busy. He’s got a lot of movies lined up, and he’s a very in-demand actor. So we’ll have to get a good screenplay, and hopefully, he’ll like it as much as we will."

And one cannot forget director Joseph Kosinsky's busy schedule. Kosinsky's next project is a yet-to-be-titled Formula 1 racing movie starring Brad Pitt. The Apple TV+ original film is in the middle of production and is supposedly set to debut sometime in 2025. 

Given these myriad factors, one should not expect Top Gun 3 any time soon. It is likely to be somewhere between three and six years away (2027-2030).

Who's Cast in Top Gun 3?

As of this writing, only three actors have been attached to appear in the Top Gun 3 cast; however, none are confirmed to appear. 

Thus far, Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, and Glen Powell are expected to reprise their Top Gun: Maverick roles of Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, and Jake "Hangman" Seresin, respectively. 

Cruise's Maverick has been part of the Top Gun franchise since the beginning. In the first film, he started as a student of the Top Gun program and eventually became an instructor at the illustrious naval school himself in the 2023 sequel. 

Powell and Tellers' Hangman and Rooster were the two biggest stars to come out of Maverick, serving as the film's most prominent students in the Top Gun school.

Hangman is a cocky son of a gun with a heart of gold and is one of the best aviators in his Top Gun class. Rooster, on the other hand, is the son of Maverick's dearly departed flying partner Goose from the first movie, who proved himself both in the skies and ground with Cruise's Top Gun character. 

Jennifer Connelly - who starred in Maverick as the charming Penny - has said she would be willing to return for Top Gun 3 if asked. When prodded about the treequel by Entertainment Tonight, Connelly said, "I'll be there. I'm ready:"

"I'll be there. I'm ready. We had such a great time shooting it. It was fun."

Other names that could come back include Monica Barbaro's Pheonix, Lewis Pullman's Bob, Jon Hamm's Cyclone, and any other members of the Maverick Top Gun school. 

Here is the full list of rumored and expected cast members in Top Gun 3:

  • Tom Cruise - Pete "Maverick" Mitchell
  • Miles Teller - Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw
  • Glen Powell - Jake "Hangman" Seresin
  • Jennifer Connelly - Penny
  • Monica Barbaro - Pheonix
  • Lewis Pullman - Bob
  • Jon Hamm - Cyclone

What Will Happen in Top Gun 3?

Heading into Top Gun 3, plot specifics on the film are behind lock and key.

However, fans can expect to return to the skies for another aviating mission with Tom Cruise's Maverick and several other Top Gun pilots. 

Top Gun: Maverick star Miles Teller previously voiced his wishes for what he wants out of a third Top Gun, telling Screen Rant he would love "a Top Gun: Rooster" centered around his character:

"I'm trying to get a 'Top Gun: Rooster.' I've been pitching it. We'll see what happens. I don't know. I think it's interesting. Obviously, everybody was begging Tom to do a sequel right after the first one came out. I think this movie puts a nice bow on it; it really kind of wraps it up, but we'll see. I'm available."

While Rooster is almost certainly a big part of Top Gun 3, it seems unlikely that a movie in the jet-streaming franchise would be released without focusing on Tom Cruise's iconic big-screen character. 

In the same way that Cruise's Ethan Hunt has become the figurehead of the Mission: Impossible franchise, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is that for Top Gun

That means that even though there will be supporting characters that stick around from movie to movie, the story always returns to Cruise's ace pilot.

Top Gun 3 has no confirmed release date.

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.