SitRep: 'Top Gun 2' preparing for takeoff

The long-awaited sequel to the ever-quotable 1980s fast-mover classic hasn't quite been cleared for takeoff yet, but a new scriptwriter is on the job crafting a plotline that explores the end of classic dogfighting in the age of drones.

Maverick is looking to buzz a multiplex tower — and, we can only hope, another admiral's daughter — near you soon.

That's if "Top Gun 2" producers David Ellison and Jerry Bruckheimer get their way.

The long-awaited sequel to the ever-quotable 1980s fast-mover classic hasn't quite been cleared for takeoff yet, but a new scriptwriter is on the job crafting a plotline that explores the end of classic dogfighting in the age of drones.

"Justin Marks is writing the screenplay right now," Ellison told reporters during a press day for "Terminator Genisys" in Berlin, according to Collider. "He has a phenomenal take to really update that world for what fighter pilots in the Navy have turned into today."

Marks most recently penned "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li."

While "Top Gun 2" has been in the works for more than five years, Ellison says he is hopeful production could begin soon with Tom Cruise back in the cockpit, reprising his role as naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell.

"There is an amazing role for Maverick in the movie, and there is no 'Top Gun' without Maverick, and it is going to be Maverick playing Maverick," says Ellison. "We are very, very hopeful that we get to make the movie very soon. But like all things, it all comes down to the script."

That script, he says, will center on what many — including top Navy leaders — have called the coming end of manned fighter and attack aircraft. Indeed, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter "should be, and almost certainly will be, the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said recently.

But don't count out the fighter jocks just yet.

"The concept is, basically, are the pilots obsolete because of the drones? Cruise is going to show them that they're not obsolete. They're here to stay," Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of the original "Top Gun" and helping to helm its follow-on, told the Huffington Post.

Ellison, who begin flying stunt aircraft before he was in high school, says the project is personal for him.

"I started flying aerobatics when I was 13 years old — actually me and my dad took my first lesson on my 13th birthday. By the time I was 17, I was flying air shows and have thousands of hours flying surface-level aerobatics. I absolutely love it," says Ellison, in the Collider write-up. He was also an avid skydiver and sky surfer before injury grounded that hobby.

"I thought, 'Maybe let's not do that anymore' but love aviation, and 'Top Gun' definitely fits into the seminal movie of my childhood, and as a pilot, that is really the movie."