How Tom Cruise Helped Inspire Legally Blonde 3

Tom Cruise is having quite the year, and it seems the Top Gun: Maverick star is so hot he is helped boost movies he's not even in.

By Vic Medina | Published

tom cruise legally blonde

We’re getting another Legally Blonde movie, and star Reese Witherspoon is hoping to take a page out of the “Tom Cruise Book of Making Sequels” in making it. In a new interview with USA Today, Witherspoon says wants to replicate the approach Cruise took to reprising the iconic character of Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell for this year’s Top Gun: Maverick, which became a worldwide phenomenon with over $1.3 billion in ticket sales. Legally Blonde 3 has been in development for years, and MGM last announced a May 2022 release date for the film in October of 2020. A new release date has not been announced.

The Hollywood Reporter detailed how Witherspoon wants to replicate the approach Tom Cruise took to Maverick, which was heavy on nostalgia, faithful to the original tones and themes, and incorporated the past to expand the story. It remains to be seen if Legally Blonde 3 can replicate that formula, as Witherspoon has gathered a new creative team to make this next installment. It remains to be seen if new screenwriters Dan Goor (creator of Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Mindy Kaling (The Office) can still put the “bend and snap” into the character of Elle Woods. “I’m still hoping that ‘Legally Blonde 3’ is gonna come together in the right way,” Witherspoon said. “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.”

Tom Cruise found the right formula for success with Top Gun: Maverick, a rare instance in which a sequel released decades after the original actually exceeded expectations. Legally Blonde may not have a fanbase like Top Gun, but Reese Witherspoon is still a box office favorite more than 20 years after the first film was released, having won a Best Actress Oscar (Walk the Line) along the way. 2023 will mark the 20th anniversary of Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, and Witherspoon wants to ensure the new film honors the previous two in the right way. “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.”

It’s been over 35 years since Top Gun first amazed audiences, and Tom Cruise has proven an ability to keep movie franchises like Mission: Impossible fresh and appealing to moviegoers. As the latest Star Wars, Star Trek, and Matrix films have proven, you need a lot more than nostalgia to win over audiences. Top Gun: Maverick was more than just a nostalgia trip, and Reese Witherspoon seems to understand that in her approach to Legally Blonde 3. “Definitely that (Maverick) 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 then,” she said.

Although plot details for the film remain unknown, Reese Witherspoon had previously said that she hopes the new film will expand on Elle Woods embracing life as she ages. “I want to discover what age means to that character,” she said. It’s the same approach Tom Cruise made for Maverick, revisiting a character where age is affecting their life decisions. Casting has not been announced, although most of the cast members appeared in an online reunion in 2020. Jennifer Coolidge and Alanna Ubach are likely to return for any sequel.