Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel to the naval aviation action drama, Top Gun (1986), was confirmed to be coming to theaters last spring. The announcement came after years of conflicting rumors and reports that left fans wondering whether the sequel to Tony Scott’s 1986 classic would ever happen.
In 2010, Paramount Pictures approached Jerry Bruckheimer (who co-produced the 1986 original) and Tony Scott (who directed the original film), and pitched the idea of making a sequel. Following recent news that production of the film has started, Top Gun fans can rest assured that they will get a chance to see Lieutenant Peter “Maverick” Mitchell and his gang once again after more than three decades that the original Top Gun film hit theaters.
Top Gun (1986) followed the adventures of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and his co-pilot Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards), naval aviators at the Naval Fighters Weapons School in Miramar, California. But Goose will be missing from the upcoming sequel.
Ahead of the release date, we’ve put together everything you need to know about the long-awaited Top Gun: Maverick.
Update on Top Gun: Maverick release date
Paramount Pictures had announced in June 2017 that Top Gun: Maverick will premiere in the U.S. and U.K. on Friday, July 12, 2019. But the company announced on Wednesday, August 29, 2018, that the release date for the long-awaited sequel was being delayed by a year to June 26, 2020.
According to Deadline, the release date was postponed to give producers and the film crew more time to work on the complex logistics of the movie’s flight sequences. Top Gun: Maverick will showcase advanced naval aviation technology.
The latest update means that fans still have quite some time to wait, barring unforeseen circumstance that set the date even further back. The original 1986 Top Gun movie was released more than 30 years ago, on May 16, 1986.
Tom Cruise on the title for Top Gun sequel
Tom Cruise first announced the title for the upcoming sequel to Tony Scott’s 1986 classic in an interview with Access Hollywood in June 2017 (see YouTube video below).
Cruise revealed in the interview that the title for the sequel would be based on his character’s nickname, “Maverick,” and added that “you don’t need a number” for every sequel title.
“Aviators are back, the need for speed. We’re going to have big, fast machines. It’s going to be a competition film, like the first one… but a progression for Maverick,” he teased.
Cruise had earlier revealed that the German composer Harold Faltermeyer, would return to score Top Gun: Maverick.
Top Gun: Maverick teaser
On May 31, 2018, the day filming began, Cruise took to his official Twitter account to share a “first look” picture of himself as Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. The sneak peek image, captioned “Feel The Need,” showed him as his Top Gun character, Maverick, standing in his flight suit, with his helmet in his hand, and looking in the direction of a fighter jet in the background.
— Tom Cruise (@TomCruise) May 31, 2018
Top Gun: Maverick details
Plans for the sequel took off in 2010 after Paramount Pictures broached the idea with Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott.
When asked to give a hint about what to expect, Scott emphasized that a sequel would be different from the original movie because the world of naval aviation has changed since 1986.
“This world fascinated me, because it’s so different from what it was originally,” he said in an October 2010 interview. “But I don’t want to do a remake. I don’t want to do a reinvention. I want to do a new movie.”
He hinted that the movie would take into consideration developments in military aviation since 1986 that brought about the end of the dogfight era and expanded the role of drones into aerial warfare.
Top Gun: Maverick is expected to feature pilots flying advanced modern fighter jets, such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II alongside older fighters, such as Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet .
After Cruise confirmed in December 2011 that he was interested in reprising his role as Maverick in a Top Gun sequel, and that he had discussed plans with director Scott and producer Bruckheimer, he told reporters in June 2012 that he was still keen about it.
In June 2012, Cruise enthused during an interview with MTV News at the Rock of Ages premiere in L.A. that he was looking forward to “getting into those jets” again.
However, Scott’s illness and subsequent suicide in August 2012 stalled progress on plans for the film, leading many fans to fear that the project would be scrapped. But Cruise, Kilmer and Bruckheimer’s continued interest in the project helped to move the plans forward.
In an interview with Access Hollywood in May 2014, Cruise confirmed once again that they hadn’t abandoned plans for a Top Gun sequel. He said that he and Bruckheimer were working on the story.
“Jerry and I, we’re working on it,” he said. “If we can figure it out it’ll be a lot of fun. I’d like to get back in those jets if we could figure the story out.”
While promoting his movie Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation in July 2015, Cruise reiterated that he was still keen on reprising his role as Maverick, but added that he would like to fly real jets not CGI.
“I’d like to fly those jets again, but we got to do all the jets practical, no CGI on the jets,” he said. “I’m saying right now no CGI on the jets. If we can figure all that out, and the Department of Defense will allow us to do it, that would be fun.”
Cruise finally got the ball rolling in June 2017, after Scott died in 2012, when he revealed that the title of the sequel would be Top Gun: Maverick, and that Harold Faltermeyer was returning to compose the score. He added that “Danger Zone,” Kenny Loggins’ iconic score, will be featured in the film.
Paramount also confirmed that Kosinki would direct the film. Kosinski is best-known for his work on Tron: Legacy (2010), Oblivion (2013) and Only the Brave (2017). It was also announced that the screenplay would be by Peter Craig, Justin Marks, Eric Warren Singer. Jerry Bruckheimer (who produced the original film), David Ellison (Sky Dance Media CEO) and Tom Cruise, were confirmed as producers, with Tommy Harper as executive producer.
Top Gun: Maverick will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.
Tom Cruise confirmed in a post to his Twitter account on May 31, 2018, that filming had started in San Diego, California.
Top Gun: Maverick cast
Tom Cruise, the star of the original film Top Gun (1986), returns to the sequel as the Navy Fighter Weapons School aviator Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, the movie character that brought him fame.
Other returning cast members include Val Kilmer, who will be reprising his role as Maverick’s main rival, Commander Tom “Iceman” Kazansky. Kilmer lobbied unabashedly on social media in May for his comeback, before he announced in June that he’d been called.
— Val Kilmer (@valkilmer) May 24, 2017
Still got it… just sayin… pic.twitter.com/AYce5noIDY
— Val Kilmer (@valkilmer) June 7, 2017
Miles Teller will portray pilot trainee Bradley Bradshaw, following his widely acclaimed roles in Whiplash (2014), Divergent (2014), Bleed For This (2016), War Dogs (2016), and Only the Brave (2017).
I feel the need… https://t.co/oOcIQW0zGS
— Miles Teller (@Miles_Teller) July 3, 2018
Bradley is the son of Nick (Goose) and Carole Bradshaw (Meg Ryan). Goose, as Top Gun fans know, was Maverick’s former radar interception officer (R.I.O) — played by Anthony Edwards – who died in an air accident in the original film. In the 1986 movie, Goose’s son, Bradley, was just a toddler, played by Aaron and Adam Weiss.
Maverick is a flight instructor in the sequel. Part of the film will focus on his relationship with Goose’s son who could hold a grudge against Maverick over the controversial circumstances of his father’s death.
Teller, Nicholas Hoult and Glen Powell, who played the astronaut John Glenn in Hidden Figures (2016), competed for the role of Bradley, but Teller won the part. However, the producers were impressed with Powell’s audition, so they offered him a different role as a pilot trainee. While the details of Powell’s role as a pilot trainee are not yet clear, there is speculation that his character could be Tom “Iceman” Kazansky’s (Val Kilmer) son.
Powell, fans will recall, appeared in The Expendables 3 (2014) as Thorn, and in Sand Castle (2017) as Falvy, while Hoult is best-known for his appearance in X-Men: Apocalypse as Beast.
I’m taking down all the Tom Cruise posters in my bedroom. Maybe, I’ll leave one. Two for symmetry. Okay, the posters are staying. https://t.co/7gCpNLJCcz
— Glen Powell (@glenpowell) July 3, 2018
Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly, who appeared in the 1986 musical fantasy Labyrinth as Sarah Williams, in Requiem For a Dream (2000) as Marion Silver, and in A Beautiful Mind (2001) as Alicia Nash, will portray the female lead, Amy McParz, a single mother who runs a bar near the Naval base.
Additional cast members announced in August include Mad Men TV series (2017- 2015) actor Jon Hamm, and Ed Harris, four-time Academy Award nominee, who currently stars as the Man in Black in the HBO science fiction series Westworld (2016– ).
Monica Barbaro will portray Samantha Mitchell, Maverick’s daughter and pilot trainee. She is also Bradley’s love interest.
Other new faces to join the cast announced in August include Lewis Pullman, the 25-year-old son of actor Bill Pullman, who appeared in The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) as Luke, and in Battle of the Sexes (2017) as Larry Riggs.
Thomasin McKenzie was set to play Amy Parz’s (Connelly’s character) daughter. However, Deadline reported on August 22 that McKenzie might have bowed out due to scheduling issues.
McKenzie is expected to appear in director Taika Waititi’s (Thor: Ragnarok diretor) latest film, Jojo Rabbit, as Jewish girl Elsa Korr.
Other new faces include Charles Parnell, who will portray an admiral. GLOW star Bashir Salahuddin will play an engineer, while Insecure star Jay Ellis, will be playing a pilot. Assassination Nation (2018) actor Danny Ramirez will also play a pilot.
Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, Maverick’s former R.I.O., will not appear in Top Gun: Maverick because the character died in the original 1986 movie. But Anthony Edwards, who portrayed the character, wanted to be part of the sequel and embarked on a Twitter campaign for his character to be featured.
“Why didn’t I get a call? Do I have to remind them that I was in the movie too? That’s right, I died. But just because I’m dead, doesn’t mean that I can’t be in the sequel,” he said, during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “I have two words for you: Ghost Goose.”
Fans also debated for some time whether Kelly McGillis will reprise her original role as Charlie Blackwood, Maverick’s love interest. But it’s been confirmed that she is not returning. Fans are speculating that Connelly’s character, Amy McParz, will be Maverick’s love interest in Top Gun: Maverick.
However, a popular fan theory suggests that Maverick’s love interest would be Penny Benjamin, sister to Naval Admiral Robby “Caspar” Benjamin, who doesn’t approve of Maverick.
Top Gun: Maverick plot
Paramount Pictures has not released details about the plot of Top Gun: Maverick, but it is expected that the storyline will focus on Cruise’s character, the naval aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
“Back then, they hadn’t been in any war for 15 or 20 years at that point,” director Joseph Kosinki said in a recent interview. “The tone of that movie and what those guys were doing was very different. Now, here in 2017, the Navy’s been at war for 20 years. It’s just a different world now, so you can’t remake the first movie.”
The film will also focus on military pilots flying big, fast, and technologically advanced jets.
According to Skydance CEO David Ellison, the film will be about updating on “what fighter pilots in the Navy has turned into today.”
The plot, according to Ellison, will explore the impact of changing military aviation technology on pilots, and the transition from the era of dogfight to drone technology, among others.
“It is very much a world we live in today where it’s drone technology and fifth-generation fighters,” Ellison told Collider. “It’s really exploring the end of an era of dogfighting and fighter pilots and what that culture is today.”
Three decades after the release of the original Top Gun movie, Goose’s son Nick is now grown up, and is a pilot trainee at the Naval Fighter Weapons School in Miramar. Maverick is an instructor at the school and has taken Goose’s son under his wing. Part of the film will likely focus on the mentoring relationship between Maverick and Bradley.
Top Gun: Maverick trailer
A trailer for Top Gun: Maverick has not yet been released. But one could be available before the end of the year.
Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack
Singer and songwriter Kenny Loggins is presently working on an updated version of his iconic song Danger Zone for Top Gun: Maverick. Fans will recall that Top Gun (1986) featured flight clips set to Loggins’ Danger Zone.
Loggins recently said he was teaming up with younger artists to create a new version of Danger Zone for the sequel.
“I’m hoping to do it maybe as a duet with a young act,” he said in an interview with TMZ. “We have some feelers out to some pretty cool rock acts. We’ll reinvent the song, to a point. That’s what I’m hoping to do.”
We also know that German composer Harold Faltermeyer is returning to compose the score for the film. We can expect the return of updated versions of the classic ’80s Top Gun score, including Danger Zone and Take My Breath Away by Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock.