Top Gun: Maverick release date, cast, trailer and latest news

Back in the pilot seat for a second time with Tom Cruise, here’s what we know so far about Maverick’s next flight.

Top Gun: Maverick

Just when you thought pandemic-related film release delays were a thing of the past, Top Gun: Maverick has been put back yet again.

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The long-awaited sequel to the 1986 action flick looked to have landed on a November 2021 release but it has now been put on hold until May next year, with Paramount having shifted around much of its slate as the Delta variant continues to have a major impact an the US.

That means it will now be released 36 years after the original – and three years after originally intended –  but it looks like the new movie will be closely linked to the events of the first film, with co-star Val Kilmer set to reprise his role as Maverick’s pilot rival Iceman and Miles Teller joining the stellar cast as the son of Maverick’s late partner Goose.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer recently revealed that Tom Cruise was adamant that Val Kilmer would return to the fold, explaining to People: “He said, ‘We have to have Val, we have to have him back. We have to have him in the film’.

“He was the driving force. We all wanted him, but Tom was really adamant that if he’s going to make another Top Gun, Val had to be in it.”

Ahead of the film’s release, Paramount unveiled the first 13 minutes of footage during CinemaCon, with Cruise himself introducing the opening from the set of Mission: Impossible 8. Though the footage hasn’t been made public, reports by media outlets suggest Maverick is as averse to authority as ever, and still very much in the ‘danger zone’. Unsurprisingly, this leads the pilot to near-death experience, but we’re sure he won’t remain out of action for long.

Cruise has promised the movie will be “everything you hope it’s going to be”.

“The movie has exactly the right mix of nostalgia for the first one, but then the continuation of the story and the characters,” he told Today.

Curious about what to expect? Read on for everything you need to know about the highly anticipated Top Gun sequel.

Watch Top Gun now on Amazon Prime

Top Gun: Maverick release date

Top Gun: Maverick has had a series of release dates, with the latest date set for 27th May 2022, moving from the previously planned release on 19th November, 2021.

The sequel was originally scheduled to be released on 12th July, 2019 but was then pushed back almost a year to 26th June 2020 – and then again to 17th July 2020. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the entertainment industry, the film was then pushed back to 23rd December 2020 before it was moved again to 2021. Paramount set a July release date, but it was delayed again to November.

This means that the sequel will come 36 years after its predecessor. The initial delay was due to Paramount Pictures wanting additional time to present flight sequences with new planes and technology, say Variety.

Tom Cruise shared the initial news saying: “I know many of you have waited 34 years. Unfortunately, it will be a little longer. Top Gun: Maverick will fly this December. Stay safe, everyone.”

If you’re wondering what took so long, Cruise said that he doesn’t “make movies just to make movies.”

Filming took place from May 2018 to June 2019.

Top Gun: Maverick trailer

The first trailer was shown at Comic-Con International in 2019. Fans pointed out the similarities to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, pointing out shots that echoed the famous movie. Another trailer was then released that Christmas, which LEGO made a version of.

The latest trailer was released during the Super Bowl.

As well as the trailer, the first 13-minutes of the film were unveiled during CinemaCon. The footage shows Cruise’s Maverick once again ignoring his superior’s (Ed Harris) orders when he is told the Top Gun program is getting shut down, which leads to an almost fatal accident.

Cruise appeared at 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con to release the new footage, taking the stage in a packed Hall H too.

Is the original Top Gun cast returning?

After 35 years of rumours and speculation, Tom Cruise will finally be returning to his iconic ’80s role as Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell.

While appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Tom Cruise said: “For years the studios and audiences wanted me to do it and then Jerry Bruckheimer wanted to do it, so we talked and came up with some good ideas.

“It was just that moment when I thought, ‘if I’m going to do this, now’s the time.’”

Joining Cruise’s Maverick will be Val Kilmer as Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky, with their developing relationship being one element of the new film.

Director Joseph Kosinski told Entertainment Weekly: “The rivalry and relationship between Iceman and Maverick is one of those things that makes that first film so iconic.”

“It’s a relationship that is important to the Top Gun franchise and as a fan I would want to see how it’s evolved.”

One original star who definitely won’t be back is Kelly McGillis who has confirmed she will not reprise her role as Maverick’s love interest Charlie.

Largely, Top Gun: Maverick will have a cast of new faces including Miles Teller (Whiplash) as the son of Goose from the first film and Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly as a new love interest (replacing Kelly McGillis). “Oh my God, no,” she replied when Entertainment Tonight put the question to her. “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. To me, I’d much rather feel absolutely secure in my skin and who and what I am at my age as opposed to placing a value on all that other stuff.”

Top Gun: Maverick cast

Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, accompanied by Val Kilmer’s Tom “Iceman” Kazansky – although the latter has been mysteriously absent from the film’s early trailers.

Top Cruise in Top Gun
Top Cruise in the original Top Gun

Miles Teller (Whiplash, Fantastic Four) will also take on the role of Goose’s son and Maverick’s new protégé, Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw.

Discussing his character on The Graham Norton Show, Teller said: “The storyline taking place 35 years after the last film is really wonderful because my character is a man now and there is a lot of history with Maverick. The film is phenomenal.”

Ed Harris (playing a rear admiral), Jon Hamm (as a vice admiral), Lewis Pullman (pilot trainee Bob), Jennifer Connelly and Glen Powell (pilot trainee ‘Hangman’) have also joined the cast. Connelly is the movie’s lead playing a single mother who runs a local bar near the base. A new pilot with also be played by Manny Jacinto, from The Good Place.

At one point it seems Kilmer had confirmed the retired Gene Hackman would appear, but this isn’t the case.  Michael Ironside also won’t be back as Lt Commander Rick ‘Jester’ Heatherly – apparently his relationship with the director Jerry Bruckheimer isn’t very good.

Speaking about his character, Jon Hamm recently told Men’s Journal, “It’s not so much of a father figure, the way Viper was to Tom. He’s air boss of the fighter wing. He has a lot of authority and responsibility. When that rubs up against Maverick, there’s friction, as you would guess. I provide the friction.”

Top Gun: Maverick plot

Exclusive footage of the film’s first 13 minutes was shown during CinemaCon, giving viewers a tease of what to expect. Mild spoilers for Top Gun: Maverick’s opening scene ahead.

Tom Cruise’s Maverick is told by Ed Harris’ Admiral that the Top Gun programme is being shut down. Still not one to abide by the rules, Maverick ignores the Admiral’s warnings and hops into his jet. His full-speed flight to Mach 10, however, ends in tragedy as it looks like a mid-air explosion has taken out the pilot.

Luckily, Maverick is revealed to be alive when he walks into a country diner and asks, “Where am I?”

“Earth,” a little boy responds.

The official synopsis offers a chance to fill in the rest: “After more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.

“When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialised mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt Bradley Bradshaw, call sign ‘Rooster’, the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt Nick Bradshaw, aka ‘Goose’.

“Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.”

To adapt with the times, the movie will focus on the waning days of dogfighting and the new era of drone warfare. It is being speculated that, just like in the original, our pilots will be facing off against the Russians.

Top Gun Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick also sees Tom Cruise truly in the pilot seat. He had expressed his desire to fly the fighter jets for real and demanded the stunts be “practical, no CGI.”

“Everything you see in this film is for real,” he later told the SDCC audience. “We’re working with the Navy, all of the flying you see in this picture is real, I really wanted to give you all an experience of what it is to be inside that aircraft.

“It’s a love letter to aviation.”

It’s not the first time Cruise has taken to the skies to perform his own stunts – he learned to fly a helicopter for 2018’s Mission Impossible: Fallout.

The full synopsis reads: “After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.

“When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialised mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt Bradley Bradshaw, call sign ‘Rooster’, the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt Nick Bradshaw, aka ‘Goose’.

“Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.”

Top Gun: Maverick trailer controversy

One scene in the new trailer showed Cruise’s Maverick wearing the same leather jacket he sported in the original movie – but with a crucial difference.

While in the first Top Gun film, the piece of clothing displayed flag patches for Japan and Taiwan, the sequel has the same two patches showing unidentifiable shapes in a similar colour scheme.

The reason? Well, fans are speculating that it all comes down to China which has emerged as a huge movie market since Top Gun was released 34 years ago.

Add to that the fact that Tencent Pictures – the film arm of Chinese company Tencent – has co-financed the sequel, and many have come to the conclusion that the switch was made so as not to alienate Chinese powers that be and cinema-goers.

What was the original Top Gun movie about?

The ’80s classic follows US Naval Aviator Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, a talented pilot with little regard for the rules and a close friendship with co-pilot Goose (played by Anthony Edwards).

He is recruited to an elite fighter school, where he clashes with fellow student Iceman (Val Kilmer) in the race to win the coveted Top Gun trophy. Oh, and he starts to fall for the beautiful instructor, Charlie (Kelly McGillis), as well.

Will Tom Cruise do his own stunts?

Jennifer Connelly revealed that Cruise was up for the stunts calling them “extraordinary”.

Jerry Bruckheimer, speaking to Yahoo, said: “[Cruise] put the actors through this gruelling process over three months so they could take the G-forces when we put them in the F/A-18s. It was really a tough slog for these young actors, because they also had to go through water survival training, where they are blindfolded and put in a water tank that’s turned upside down and they have to figure out how to get out.

“And Tom went through all the same stuff! They told me he went through that training just like a 22-year-old would — that’s how good he is.”

He added that the main difference in the original Top Gun the team put the cast in the F-14s.

“We couldn’t use one frame of it, except some stuff on Tom, because they all threw up,” he said. “It’s hysterical to see their eyes roll back in their heads. So everything was done on a gimbal. But in this movie, Tom wanted to make sure the actors could actually be in the F-18s.”

While appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Cruise’s co-stars spoke of their experiences doing their own stunts – including Jennifer Connelly, who said she was afraid to tell Cruise that she was scared of flying.

“When I signed on for the movie there was no flying for my character.  I then found myself taxiing on a runway in a tiny plane with Tom and he said, ‘Have you been a plane like this before? Have you ever done any aerobatic flying before?’

I started to get very nervous when he said, ‘It will be very graceful and very elegant,’ and that’s how I found out I would be up in the P51 with Tom flying it!”

Miles Teller added: “I did know, but underestimated the training that was needed to withstand the g-force. It is no joke to get in those jets.

“It was intense.  You don’t need green screen when you’ve got Tom – it was a real pleasure working with him.”

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Top Gun: Maverick is released in cinemas on 19th November, 2021. While you’re waiting find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide.