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Tom Cruise says filming has finally started on 'Top Gun 2'

Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis in 1986's "Top

Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis in 1986's "Top Gun."   Credit: Getty Images/Paramount Pictures

The long-anticipated sequel to Tom Cruise's iconic 1980s fighter-pilot movie "Top Gun" has started filming.

Star Cruise, 55, posted an image across his social media Thursday showing himself in a full-body shot as his character, Lt. Pete Mitchell, in a Navy flight uniform and holding a red-white-and-blue crash helmet with the nickname "Maverick" emblazoned on it. He looks away from the camera in early-morning light and toward a fighter jet in the background. Superimposed is graphical text reading in capital letters, "Feel the need" -- a reference to a catchphrase from the movie, in which Maverick says, "I feel the need ... " and buddy Nick "Goose" Bradshaw responds, "…the need for speed!"

Variety said the sequel had begun shooting in the United States.

A year ago almost to the day, Cruise confirmed a sequel was in active development. "It's true. … Yeah, it's true,” Cruise said on the Australian morning show "Sunrise” when asked about persistent rumors. "You know what, we're -- I'm going to start filming it probably in the next year. … It is definitely happening."

The 1986 action-drama "Top Gun" centered on Cruise's cocky F-14 Tomcat pilot and his romance with Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), his astrophysics instructor at the Navy's elite Fighter Weapons School. Directed by Tony Scott and also starring Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer, it grossed $356.8 million worldwide and earned four Oscar nominations, winning for its song "Take My Breath Away."

Rumors of a potential sequel began circulating in January 2016 after the film's producer, Hollywood heavyweight Jerry Bruckheimer, tweeted a photo of himself and Cruise captioned, "Just got back from a weekend in New Orleans to see my old friend @TomCruise and discuss a little Top Gun 2."

When confronted with that tweet on England's "The Graham Norton Show" in October of that year,  Cruise conceded, "Yes, we’re discussing it. … We're trying to figure it out. … If we can figure it out I'd love to work on it."

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