Top Gun: Maverick - Everything you need to know

Gabriella Geisinger, Ian Sandwell

From Digital Spy

Top Gun: Maverick had already been delayed a year from 2019 and now fans will be waiting even longer.

Tom Cruise will be hoping nobody has lost their need for speed when the long-awaited sequel finally arrives later this year, some 34 years after the original Top Gun flew into cinemas.

Maverick has spent the past three decades as one of the Navy's top aviators. He's now set to pass his wisdom onto a new batch of Top Gun recruits for a specialised mission that nobody has seen before.

Watch Top Gun now

It sounds like it's a recipe for success when Top Gun: Maverick lands at cinemas in Christmas 2020, but what can we expect from our return to the Naval Fighter Weapons School at Naval Air Station Miramar?

Top Gun 2 release date delayed: When is Top Gun Maverick being released?

The sequel was originally set for release in July 12, 2019 before it was hit with a delay of a whole year. Things were looking up though after that date was moved forward slightly to June 24, 2020 in the US and July 17, 2020 in the UK.

However, the sequel was then hit with another delay, but fortunately it's not a whole year. Instead, Top Gun: Maverick will now arrive in cinemas on December 23, 2020 in the UK and US.

Tom Cruise responded to the delay with a message to fans: "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."

But why did it take so long for a sequel to be made in the first place? Cruise explained that it was all because he doesn't "make movies just to make movies".

"I honestly never thought I would make it," he revealed. "We just started talking. And I realised that there were things that we could accomplish cinematically. And I started getting excited about this big challenge of, 'How do we do it?'."

Filming on the sequel took place from May 2018 to June 2019.

Top Gun 2 trailer: Watch the Top Gun Maverick trailer here!

The first trailer was released at Comic-Con International on July 18, 2019. Maverick definitely still has the need for speed.

When the trailer was finally released, fans were quick to spot similarities between it and the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, citing specific shots that seemed almost identical to Episode VII's trailer.

The second trailer landed on December 16, 2019 as an early festive treat for Top Gun fans.

Top Gun 2 cast: Who's starring in Top Gun Maverick?

It's been more than 30 years since they faced off to be the best of the best, battling for the title of 'Top Gun' at the US Navy Fighter Weapons School in Miramar. But Top Gun 2 will definitely see rivals Maverick (Cruise) and Iceman (Val Kilmer) reunite.

Director Joseph Kosinski is keeping tight-lipped over how their relationship has changed in the intervening years.

"The rivalry and relationship between Iceman and Maverick is one of those things that makes that first film so iconic," he said. "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."

Photo credit: Getty Images

At one point Kilmer seemed to confirm that there would be a role for the otherwise retired Gene Hackman in the sequel.

Unfortunately, that turned out to be a spot of dream casting and was quickly retracted (although it did at least give him an excellent excuse to crack an "I jumped the Top Gun" joke).

Anthony Edwards isn't ruling out a Ghost Goose plot, but at least if we don't get that, we do have Miles Teller appearing as Goose's son Bradley Bradshaw.

Photo credit: Scott Garfield - Paramount

One person who won't be back from the original is Michael Ironside as Lieutenant Commander Rick "Jester" Heatherly, with the actor putting it down to the fact that his relationship with producer Jerry Bruckheimer apparently isn't the greatest.

As for Commander Mike "Viper" Metcalf, actor Tom Skerritt has yet to confirm whether the character will return in the sequel.

Though the character does not appear in the trailer, some fans suspect the funeral scene depicted might be that of Viper. Say it ain't so! After being rumoured for the role of Goose's son, Glen Powell did sign up for the movie in a mystery role named Hangman.

Related: Compare how Tom Cruise looks now to the rest of the Top Gun cast

The sequel will also star Jennifer Connelly as the movie's female lead, playing a single mother who runs a local bar near the Navy base. She'll be joined by Jon Hamm and Ed Harris, the latter as a so far unnamed rear admiral and Maverick's direct superior.

We don't know who Hamm is playing beyond being a vice admiral, but he's promised Digital Spy that the movie will be worth the wait: "They showed me 15 minutes of footage and I left the trailer with my chin on the ground."

A busy cast is rounded out with:

  • Monica Barbaro
  • Chelsea Harris
  • Charles Parnell
  • Jay Ellis
  • Bashir Salahuddin
  • Danny Ramirez
  • Lewis Pullman
  • Kara Wang
  • Jack Schumacher
  • Greg Tarzan Davis
  • Jake Picking
  • Raymond Lee
  • Jean Louisa Kelly
  • Lyliana Wray

A new pilot named Fritz will be played by The Good Place star Manny Jacinto.

Top Gun 2 plot: What's Top Gun Maverick about?

The official plot synopsis for the sequel is as follows:

"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."

Photo credit: Scott Garfield - Paramount

The world might have changed since the first movie for Maverick, but expect him to still be undertaking intense flights, ones so big that the crew had to ask the Navy for permission to film one of the most extreme stunts.

And the rest of the cast didn't get away with letting Cruise do all the stunts either.

Speaking to Yahoo, producer Jerry Bruckheimer 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: "What's different about this movie is that [in the original Top Gun] we put the actors in the F-14s and we couldn't use one frame of it, except some stuff on Tom, because they all threw up."

"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."

Top Gun: Maverick is out in cinemas on December 23, 2020.

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