Tom Cruise “really didn’t want to” make another Top Gun, director Joseph Kosinski said in a new interview, but he was eventually drawn to return after a script pitch that got him on board for Top Gun: Maverick. It all ended up pretty well for Cruise and company, as Top Gun: Maverick earned $1.5 billion globally. Cruise himself is said to have made $100 million from the success of Maverick.

Speaking to Deadline, Kosinski said that the death of Tony Scott, who directed the 1986 original Top Gun, also played a role in Cruise’s hesitance to come back.

“Tom really didn’t want to make another Top Gun and [director Tony Scott’s suicide] made it even less likely. I’m sure for him, that’s probably another reason why he wouldn’t ever consider going back,” Kosinski said. “But I pitched the idea of this story being a reconciliation between him and Rooster set against this mission that would take Rooster into this very dangerous situation, that they’d end up together across enemy lines, having to resolve their differences and work together to get back home.”

According to Kosinski, Cruise believed there was a million-in-one chance for a new Top Gun to be a success, some 36 years after the original movie came out.

“He kept saying, ‘Joe, we got to hit a bullet with a bullet.’ And that was his line on this movie. And so, I certainly heard that in my head every day as we were making the film. I think everyone who worked on this film felt like the bar was very high because we all were fans of the original,” Kosinski said.

Maverick was on track to become the No. 1 global movie of 2022 until Avatar: The Way of Water dethroned it.

As for Cruise, he has a number of upcoming projects in the works, including Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Parts 1 and 2, as well as a film with NASA and SpaceX that will be shot in space.