Not many films get a sequel 33 years after their original. But then, not many movies are Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 Tom Cruise action film.
Talk of a Top Gun sequel has been zooming around since 2010. Maverick was one of Tom Cruise's iconic, gleaming-teeth, sunglasses, action-star roles. Though he's now 57, Cruise hasn't exactly slowed down on the action-movie front, as his Mission: Impossible and Jack Reacher roles have shown.
In this film, Cruise's Maverick is now a flight instructor who mentors Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (played by Miles Teller), the son of his late friend Goose from the first film. And Maverick has his own issues, just like in the first film. The trailer shows Ed Harris telling him, "You should be at least a two-star admiral by now. Yet here you are, captain. Why is that?"
Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson produced the original Top Gun, with Tony Scott (brother of Ridley) directing. Scott and Bruckheimer were both onboard with the new film, but Scott died by suicide in 2012. Bruckheimer is still a producer on the sequel, as is Cruise. Joseph Kosinski, who directed Tron: Legacy, is directing the sequel. (Read: Top Gun: Maverick en español.)
Release date, production info
The original release date was set for July 2019, but it was changed to June 26, 2020. Deadline reports that the complex flight sequences required more time.
The film is set 34 years after the original, and that's how many years will have passed when the sequel comes out, so we're kind of in real time here.
Cruise shared an image from the first day of filming on May 31, 2018. Filming locations reportedly included San Diego; the USS Abraham Lincoln in Norfolk, Virginia; South Lake Tahoe, California and California's Indian Wells Valley.
Cast: Who's who?
- Tom Cruise as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell
- Miles Teller as Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, son of Maverick's pal Goose from the first film
- Jennifer Connelly as a bar owner and Maverick's love interest
- Jon Hamm in an unrevealed role
- Ed Harris as Maverick's military superior
- Monica Barbaro as Phoenix, a pilot in training and Rooster's love interest
- Glen Powell in an unrevealed role
- Val Kilmer, reprising his role as Commander Tom "Iceman" Kazansky
One actor who won't be returning? Kelly McGillis, who played Maverick's love interest Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood in the first film, said in July 2019 that she wasn't asked to be in the sequel. McGillis, 62, told Entertainment Tonight why she thinks that's true.
"I'm old and I'm fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is, and that is not what that whole scene is about," McGillis reportedly said. She added that while she doesn't know Connelly, she is "so glad that she got that opportunity."
Plot news, rumors and theories
Drones and modern warfare
Back in 2014, Bruckheimer said the sequel would be updated to reflect today's military world. ""The concept is, basically, are the pilots obsolete because of drones," he said then. "Cruise is going to show them that they're not obsolete. They're here to stay."
Danger Zone redux
One of the memorable moments from the original film was Kenny Loggins' song Danger Zone, which became a huge radio hit in 1986. Loggins said in 2018 that Cruise told him, "of course" Danger Zone needed to be in the sequel. At the time, Loggins said he was looking to team up with a younger act to rejigger the song.
Hamming it up
Co-star Jon Hamm says the action sequences will be impressive. "They're using some technology on this that is never before seen," Hamm told Jo Blo. "We're shooting the movie in, I think, 6K. So it's incredibly hi-def. The aerial footage is mind-blowing. And it's mostly practical. There's not a lot of CG. Those guys are really up in planes and getting thrown around in multiple Gs."
Actor Glen Powell lost out on the role of Rooster, but so impressed the production that he was cast in another role, USA Today reported. In a now-deleted Instagram post, he writes about his love for the original film. "This movie is one of the reasons I became an actor," Powell reportedly wrote. "It's why I always go low after a high-five, always fall in love with my teachers, say things like 'clean 'em and fry 'em' on a daily basis, end volleyball games in oiled-up flexing, and why I can blame all my speeding tickets on Kenny Loggins."
Hamm also told Jo Blo that the sequel sets are very close to the original. "It's basically getting the whole team back together," he said. "They've achieved a very similar vibe to the first one."
Come fly with me
Cruise said at Comic-Con 2019 that the film is a love letter to aviation, and agreed with Hamm that the sequences aren't computer-generated. "Everything you see in this film is for real," he said.
In plane sight
Popular Science Magazine published an entire article about the aircraft of the new film. The article explains that "the airplanes in the trailer, with one exception, are F/A-18 Super Hornets, a far cry from the jets Maverick and Goose flew into the danger zone in the 1986 film. Those were F-14 Tomcats, big, beloved, tough, fast airplanes the Navy no longer flies."
The article goes on to point out that Super Hornets don't require a dedicated radar operator and navigator. "Goose is now optional; his precise job doesn't exist anymore," the article reports.
This post was originally published on Aug. 1, 2019 and will be updated as new information becomes available.