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More than 30 years after he first took moviegoers on that highway to the danger zone, Tom Cruise is back in the pilot's seat for TOP GUN: MAVERICK. The sequel to 1986’s TOP GUN features several familiar faces and is set to take us on another high-velocity, action-packed thrill ride.
Before Cruise’s Maverick takes flight again, let’s take a closer look at this highly-anticipated and long-awaited sequel. We’ll try our best to answer any burning questions you may have about TOP GUN: MAVERICK based on everything we know so far.
After numerous pushbacks due to reshoots, scheduling conflicts, and the COVID-19 pandemic, TOP GUN: MAVERICK has finally found a permanent home just in time for Memorial Day weekend. The movie takes off on May 27, following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18.
The first TOP GUN: MAVERICK trailer is almost two years old, since the movie has been delayed so significantly by the pandemic and its aftereffects. Now, finally, we've got a brand-new trailer that does more than rely on amazing shots of jets tearing across the skies at supersonic speeds. Don't get us wrong — that material is fantastic, but there's a lot more to TOP GUN.
The new trailer gives us a lot more information about the current class of Top Gun trainees and introduces one of the movie's core conflicts. Namely, how can a young pilot whose father was killed in part thanks to Maverick's actions possibly trust Maverick himself?
TOP GUN: MAVERICK is set 34 years after the 1986 original, and things have really changed in the world. As in real life, the military has come to rely more heavily on drone warfare, so there’s less need for human pilots to risk their lives up in the skies.
One thing hasn’t changed much in the last few decades, however: Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. In all that time, Maverick hasn’t retired or gone out for a promotion, even as he increasingly struggles to find a place in a world that doesn’t seem to need him. When Maverick is relieved from active duty, he’s sent to become a flight instructor at his former academy, where new recruits are feeling the need for speed.
The new crew includes pilot trainee Bradley Bradshaw, aka Rooster. Played by Miles Teller, Rooster is a hotshot pilot, not unlike Cruise’s Maverick. He also has a very special connection to the original film, which you might’ve already guessed based on his call sign. Rooster is the son of Nick Bradshaw, aka Goose, played by Anthony Edwards in the original movie. Goose was Maverick’s RIO, or Radar Intercept Officer, who died in the 1986 movie. When Maverick takes his new post as a flight instructor, he encounters Rooster, and for the first time in a long time, Maverick must confront his past – but will he ever change?
Along with Teller, the cast of TOP GUN: MAVERICK is mostly made up of actors who weren’t in the original film, with a blend of younger stars and beloved vets alike. Teller is joined by a whole roster of new pilot recruits: Glen Powell (EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!), Lewis Pullman (BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE), Monica Barbaro (“UnReal”), Manny Jacinto (“The Good Place”), and Jay Ellis (“Insecure”).
And, of course, Tom Cruise is back to reprise his role as Captain Pete Mitchell, aka Maverick. (That’s his military callsign.) But Cruise isn't the only familiar face returning for the sequel. Val Kilmer is also back as Tom Kazansky, aka “Iceman,” once Maverick’s top competitor at the Top Gun naval training academy. Kilmer actually campaigned for his return on social media, convincing director Joseph Kosinski to bring the actor back for the sequel, in which Iceman has achieved the rank of Vice-Admiral. Rounding out the ensemble are Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), as a three-star vice admiral, Ed Harris as a two-star rear admiral and Maverick’s superior (that’s him giving Maverick a talking-to in the trailer), and Jennifer Connelly as Maverick’s new love interest – a single mom who owns a local bar.
For many years, TOP GUN: MAVERICK was being developed by the late Tony Scott, who directed the original film. After Scott's 2012 death, Cruise regrouped with his OBLIVION director, Joeseph Kosinski, to make this sequel. Kosinski is as much of a fan of planes and flying as Cruise is, and their shared interest is evident in the trailer. We see several shots that show Cruise in actual fighter jets, skimming along at low altitudes and flying in tight formations. It seems like the star is carrying his MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE filmmaking style forward into the new TOP GUN movie, and we're all for it!
All images courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
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