The Radio Times logo
We may earn commission from links on this page. Our editorial is always independent (learn more)

Top Gun 2: Maverick release date, trailer, how to watch

Back in the pilot seat for a second time with Tom Cruise, here’s what you need to know about Maverick’s next flight.

Published: Tuesday, 31st May 2022 at 1:16 pm
Subscribe to Radio Times magazine and get 12 issues for £1

Tom Cruise has returned to the skies as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun 2, aka Top Gun: Maverick, a sequel to the original 1986 classic that rocketed the actor to fame.

Advertisement

Alongside the Mission: Impossible star, original Top Gun star Val Kilmer has also reprised his role as Maverick's one-time arch-rival Iceman, though Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan do not.

A handful of new faces have joined the Top Gun: Maverick cast, including Miles Teller as Maverick's protégé Rooster – the son of his old friend Goose who famously died during the events of the first film.

Cruise previously 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.

Top Gun: Maverick's release date was delayed multiple times as a result of the pandemic, but director Joseph Kosinski’s new movie has finally landed in cinemas around the globe (read our review here).

So, without further ado, read on for everything you need to know about the highly-anticipated Top Gun sequel.

Top Gun 2: Maverick release date

Top Gun: Maverick was released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 25th May 2022.

This comes just under a month after its premiere at CinemaCon on 28th April 2022.

The film will also play out of competition at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival on 18th May.

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 yes – it was delayed again to November before landing on its final release date.

Jennifer Connelly in Top Gun: Maverick
Jennifer Connelly in Top Gun: Maverick YouTube/Paramount Pictures UK

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, according to Variety.

Tom Cruise shared the initial news on Instagram saying: "I know many of you have waited 34 years. Unfortunately, it will be a little longer."

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.

How to watch Top Gun 2: Maverick

Top Gun Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick Paramount

To begin with, the film will be released exclusively in cinemas – so fans hoping to watch it in their own homes will have to wait a little while before they can do so.

In fact, Cruise recently confirmed he never considered letting Top Gun: Maverick debut on streaming, despite numerous release date delays brought about by the pandemic.

However, the movie will presumably become available to stream on Paramount Plus roughly three months after the theatrical release, although an exact date for this has not been confirmed at this stage.

That date will most likely be after Paramount Plus arrives in the UK this summer, with the streamer set to launch as part of the Sky Cinema package at no extra cost to subscribers.

Interestingly, The Wall Street Journal reported in January 2021 that Netflix and Apple TV+ had both made attempts to purchase the distribution rights to the film during the pandemic, but Paramount refused to sell them.

Who stars in Top Gun 2: Maverick?

The following have all been confirmed for Top Gun: Maverick cast.

  • Tom Cruise as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell
  • Miles Teller as Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw
  • Jennifer Connelly as Penny Benjamin
  • Jon Hamm as Vice Admiral Cyclone
  • Glen Powell as "Hangman"
  • Lewis Pullman as Bob "Bob" Floyd
  • Ed Harris as a Rear Admiral
  • Val Kilmer as Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky
  • Monica Barbaro as Natasha "Phoenix" Trace
  • Charles Parnell as Rear Admiral Warlock
  • Danny Ramirez as "Fanboy"
  • Manny Jacinto as Fritz
  • Bashir Salahuddin as Coleman
  • Jay Ellis as Lieutenant Reuben "Payback" Fitch
  • Lyliana Wray as Amelia Benjamin
  • Jean Louisa Kelly as Sarah Kazansky
  • Greg Tarzan Davis as Coyote
  • Bob Stephenson as United States Air Force General Edward Clayton
  • Chelsea Harris as Flag Aide Angela Burke

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.’”

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

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

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer previously 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."

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.”

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 as Maverick's new love interest Penny and Glen Powell (pilot trainee 'Hangman') have also joined the Top Gun: Maverick 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, fromThe 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."

Do Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan return for Top Gun: Maverick?

American actors Tom Cruise, as Lieutenant Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell, and Kelly McGillis, as Charlotte 'Charlie' Blackwood, in a promotional portrait for 'Top Gun', directed by Tony Scott, 1986.
American actors Tom Cruise, as Lieutenant Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell, and Kelly McGillis, as Charlotte 'Charlie' Blackwood, in a promotional portrait for 'Top Gun', directed by Tony Scott, 1986. Photo by Paramount Pictures/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Despite playing central roles in the 1986 film Top Gun, actresses Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan do not reprise their roles.

Despite being Maverick's love interest in the first film, McGillis is not back as Charlie Blackwood and is not mentioned in the film at all.

Meg Ryan also does not return as Carole Bradshaw, the wife of Maverick's best friend "Goose" and the mother of his son Bradley.

However, Ryan appears via archive footage and Carole is also discussed in the film.

Meg Ryan as Carole in Top Gun
The movie "Top Gun", directed by Tony Scott. Seen here, Meg Ryan as Carole. Initial theatrical release May 16, 1986. Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Speaking to Insider, Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski has revealed that returns for McGillis and Ryan were never considered.

"Those weren't stories that we were throwing around," revealed Kosinski, adding: "I didn't want every storyline to always be looking backwards."

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight back in 2019, McGillis herself had confirmed she had not been asked to return for Top Gun: Maverick.

The actress said: "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."

Top Gun 2: Maverick plot

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

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.

More like this

"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 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 2: Maverick trailers

The first trailer was shown at Comic-Con International in 2019. Fans pointed out the similarities to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with shots that echoed the sci-fi movie.

Another trailer was then released that Christmas, which LEGO even made a version of.

A further trailer was released for the Super Bowl 2022.

Finally, the latest and longest trailer for the film so far was released on Tuesday 29th March 2022.

You can watch the clip below.

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.

Meanwhile, several posters have also been released for the film –check this one out below:

Top Gun 2: Maverick trailer controversy

One scene in the movie's first 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.

Does Tom Cruise do his own stunts?

Yes, in an interview with Empire, Cruise said he told producer Jerry Bruckheimer that he’d agreed to return as Maverick on one condition: he could do his own stunts.

"I said to Jerry, ‘I’ll do it if…’ meaning, I’m not going to do the CGI stuff," he revealed.

In addition, Jennifer Connelly revealed that Cruise was up for the stunts, calling them "extraordinary".

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."

Top Gun Maverick
Top Gun Maverick Paramount

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.”

Top Gun: Maverick is released in cinemas on 27th May 2022. While you're waiting, visit our Movies hub for more news and features or find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide.

Advertisement

The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content