Fans have had to wait 35 years for a sequel to ’80s action hit Top Gun – and the wait is almost over.
The belated follow-up was originally set for release in 2019, and now after two years of delays it looks like we’ll finally be journeying into the “danger zone” once more.
After four decades of iconic roles Tom Cruise is returning to the character that made him famous, as rivals Maverick and Iceman don their aviator glasses once more in Top Gun: Maverick.
And he’ll also be joined by a stellar group of supporting stars – with Jon Hamm and Jennifer Connelly among those to be joining the cast for the sequel.
The film will once again centre on Maverick, who has now retired from duty but is called upon to share his top tips and tricks with the young recruits for a specialised mission.
When is Top Gun: Maverick released in UK cinemas?
Top Gun: Maverick was set for release in cinemas on 23rd December 2020, but has now been put back to 2nd July 2021.
Top Gun is another one of the films that has quite the journey to the cinema thanks to the pandemic.
The film 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.
This means that the sequel will come out more than 35 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.
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.
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.”
Is there a trailer for Top Gun: Maverick?
Yes, there are several! The latest trailer was released during the Super Bowl:
Here’s the first, released in July 2019, fans were quick to point out similarities to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Paramount released a second trailer for the film in December last year, featuring more Tom Cruise high-flying action.
Cruise appeared at 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con to release the new footage, taking the stage in a packed Hall H:
Thank you to all the fans who came out to Hall H today. It was great to share our first trailer for Top Gun: Maverick with you all. pic.twitter.com/akzi4AeC9Z— Tom Cruise (@TomCruise) July 18, 2019
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.
There’s a new Top Gun movie coming out. And Maverick is wearing the same leather jacket - only this time it’s Communist Party of China-approved, so the Japanese and Taiwanese flag patches are gone (screenshot on right is from the new trailer)… pic.twitter.com/gUxFNFNUKX— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) July 19, 2019
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.
What is Top Gun: Maverick about?
Rivals Maverick and Iceman return to the sky with the US Navy.
To adapt with the times, the film 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.”
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.”
Top Gun: Maverick is released in cinemas on 2nd July 2021 – find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide