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May 31, 2018 11:32 AM

Tom Cruise is feeling the need: the need for a sequel.

On Wednesday, the 55-year-old actor shared the first shot of from the set of Top Gun: Maverick, Paramount’s long-awaited (and long-developed) follow-up to the 1986 classicTop Gun.

In the teaser image — posted to Cruise’s social media on “#Day1” of production for the 2019 release — the action star poses as his United States Naval Aviator Lieutenant character Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, aviators and all. Decked in his aviation gear and holding his helmet, Cruise gazes across the tarmac at a F-18 Tomcat (Maverick’s plane of choice in the original film).

Cruise labelled the picture “FEEL THE NEED,” referencing Maverick’s iconic quote, “I feel the need, the need for speed.”

Top Gun: Maverick is being helmed by filmmaker Joseph Kosinski, Cruise’s director on the 2013 sci-fi drama Oblivion. He has experience making sequels decades after their original release, having directed 2010’s Tron: Legacy. 

Not much is known about the plot for the sequel, written by Eric Warren Singer (Only the Brave), Peter Craig (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay) and Justin Marks (The Jungle Book).

According to Variety, Cruise’s character will now be an instructor, with the film exploring “a world of drone technology, fifth-generation fighters and the end of the era of dog-fighting.”

Tom Cruise in Top Gu
Everett Collection

In October, Kosinski told ComingSoon.net that the film would address how the Navy’s culture has changed.

The Navy is very different now than it was in 1986,” he said. “Back then, they hadn’t been in any war for 15 or 20 years at that point. The tone of that movie and what those guys were doing was very different. Now, the Navy’s been at war for 20 years. It’s just a different world now, so you can’t remake the first movie. It has to adapt.”

“That being said, I certainly want to recreate the experience of that movie, which gives you a front-seat into the world of Naval aviation and what it’s like to be in a fighter jet,” he said. “The approach is going to be appropriate for the times we live in.”

RELATED VIDEO: Tom Cruise Opens Up About Recovering From His Mission: Impossible Ankle Injury and How He Spent His Down Time

Other than Cruise, it’s not clear who from the original cast will be joining the sequel.

Val Kilmer (Iceman) certainly seems up for it, the 58-year-old actor having posted a photo of himself in a Top Gun T-shirt last June alongside the caption, “Still got it… Just sayin’…”

Tom Skerritt, 84, could also be back as Viper, if Maverick needs a no-nonsense mentor instructor.

Anthony Edwards (Goose) — who actually worked with Kilmer in 2013, both voicing characters in Disney’s animated movie Planes — likely won’t return, considering (spoiler alert) the 55-year-old actor’s character died in the original.

The original movie’s two female stars might not be shoo-ins for a sequel, either. Meg Ryan (Carole), 56, the onetime queen of romantic comedies, has famously stepped away from Hollywood. And Kelly McGillis (Charlie), 60, only recently returned to acting after her own decade-long hiatus – and is doing mostly small indie films now.

Top Gun: Maverick is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019

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