Reese Witherspoon Credits 'Top Gun: Maverick' for 'Legally Blonde 3' Inspiration

Reese Witherspoon has cited a recent blockbuster sequel for inspiring her to continue her own franchise. Witherspoon spoke with USA Today about Legally Blonde 3 and shared her hope that the long-awaited installment can capture the same elements of freshness and nostalgia she said made the film Top Gun: Maverick so successful.

"I'm still hoping that Legally Blonde 3 is gonna come together in the right way," she said in the July 29 interview. "It's just like Top Gun: They waited a long time to make another version of that movie, and I loved the nostalgia piece they incorporated in it. So definitely that gave us a lot of inspiration about what we would want to do with Elle Woods and make sure that we had all those same touchstones that mattered to people [back] then."

In a similar vein to Top Gun star Tom Cruise, Witherspoon is fiercely protective of the Elle Woods character and the franchise that launched her stardom. Due to the actress' high standards, the sequel has taken a long time to materialize."I feel like these characters are my friends, so I safeguard them," she said. "I would never make the subpar, mediocre version of their story."

Mindy Kaling is writing the script for Legally Blonde 3 along with Tom Goor, the co-creator of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In an interview with Time, Kaling discussed the creative process and her desire to pay tribute to the original while encouraging the character to evolve.

"What is Elle Woods like at 42?" Kaling said. "Does she end up becoming all the things she wanted? How does that personality manifest in a grown woman? Has she become more cynical? Her brightness and her cheerfulness really worked when she was 22, but how has life changed her perspective on things?" Though new continuation of Woods' story will recognize the changes in society since the original opened in 2001, she promised the new movie would remain a love letter to the lovable lawyer.

"We're not afraid of the character in this world, and we don't feel we have to apologize for her. As a fan, I didn't want to watch her be canceled or become a Karen. So the character is just fun," Kaling said. "That's what's been interesting and challenging—and why it's taking us such a long time to write."

Top Gun: Maverick proved that legacy sequels can still land with audiences of this era. The Paramount mega-hit garnered rave reviews and is Cruise's biggest box office success. So far, the movie has grossed $623.8 million in North America, surpassing The Avengers ($623.3 million) to become the ninth-highest-grossing movie in domestic box office history. Variety reported that industry experts believe it might even pass seventh and eighth place titles, Titanic with $659 million and Jurassic World with $653 million.

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Top Gun: Maverick has also grossed $1.24 billion at the global box office, placing it among the top 20 highest-grossing films of all time. Following Spider-Man: No Way Home, the release is only the second movie in the COVID era to make a billion dollars.