Tony Scott: 'Top Gun: Maverick' Tribute, Explained

Top Gun: Maverick is dedicated to the memory of Tony Scott, the action movie filmmaker who directed the original 1986 film. Scott, the younger brother of Alien and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, died on Aug. 19, 2012, in Los Angeles. He was 68. Possible spoilers for Top Gun: Maverick ahead.

Scott took his own life by jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Police found a note in his car and another note for his family at his office. In a 2014 interview with Variety, Ridley said Scott's death was "inexplicable." He also revealed that Scott fought a "lengthy battle with cancer," which his family kept private after his death. Scott is survived by his second wife, Donna Wilson, and their twin sons, Frank and Max.

(Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images)

Scott followed his older brother to Hollywood after breaking into advertising in the U.K. His first film was 1983's The Hunger, a vampire movie starring Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie. However, it wasn't until Top Gun became a blockbuster in 1986 that Scott's career as an action director took off. He forged a successful collaboration with Denzel Washington, directing Washington in Man on Fire, Deja vu, The Taking of Pelham 123, and Unstoppable. He also directed Top Gun star Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder, the first movie Cruise made with Nicole Kidman. Scott also helped Beverly Hills Cop II with Eddie Murphy.

Paramount, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Scott, and Cruise spent years developing a Top Gun sequel. Days after his death, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Scott spent his last days meeting with Cruise and Paramount about the project. They even traveled to Nevada together to visit a naval air station for research. In December 2012, Paramount canceled plans to make a Top Gun 2. However, the successful IMAX release of Top Gun in 2013 inspired Paramount and Bruckheimer to revive the project. The end result is Top Gun: Maverick, which hits theaters almost a decade after Scott's death.

Although Scott's films may have not been awards magnets, he was one of the most reliable filmmakers in Hollywood. He could turn any material into a pulse-pounding action thriller. At the time of his death, he had many other projects in the works. 20th Century Fox and Scott Free, the company he and Ridley established in 1970, hired a new writer for Narco Sub, a movie Scott wanted to direct about a Naval officer forced to pilot a sub carrying cocaine. There were also discussions for Scott to direct a remake of the Western classic The Wild Bunch for Warner Bros. and another Fox project called Lucky Strike.

"Tony was my dear friend, and I will really miss him," Cruise said in a statement after Scott's death. "He was a creative visionary whose mark on film is immeasurable. My deepest sorrow and thoughts are with his family at this time."

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.