Back in 1986, cinema audiences were treated to a one-two punch of Cruise and Kilmer, a high-flyin’ adventure with rebel Maverick and an Iceman who never made mistakes. Jet planes. Missiles. Tom Cruise standing so close to Val Kilmer you didn’t know if they’re going to kiss. Top Gun had it all.
Now, Paramount Pictures is porting post-Cold War patriotism into an era of asymmetrical warfare with overpriced F-35s that exist only to engorge the military industrial complex. Fuck yeah.
But hey, it’s a bit of fun. Here’s everything we know about Top Gun: Maverick so far.
Top Gun: Maverick Cast
The main draw here is that Tom Cruise is back, this time playing a mentor-like figure to other pilots, albeit one who can still cut it up in the skies.
If you thought they’d skimp on the rest of the casting, though, think again.
Jennifer Connelly looks to be playing someone involved with Tom Cruise’s character, while Ed Harris plays the iconic Overbearing General Who Reminds Maverick He’s Done For.
There’s a group of younger pilots played by other stars like Miles Teller (of Project X, Divergent and Fantastic Four), Monica Barbaro (of Army of the Dead) and Lewis Pullman (of Catch-22, Bad Times at the El Royale and Them That Follow).
Teller will be playing Rooster, the son of Goose, who died in the first Top Gun.
Kelly McGillis won’t be returning, and according to her she’s fine with that, saying, “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.”
Also, here. Have some Jon Hamm.
But of course, the big casting question is…
Will Val Kilmer Be Back As Iceman?
Val Kilmer has been pretty open about his throat cancer, compiling a long list of snippets he’s filmed over years of his life in Hollywood and publishing it in the film Val. Talk about opening up to the world during a vulnerable time – Val shows the path taken by a Hollywood heartthrob through cancer diagnosis and ultimately to survivor, albeit one who’s lost his voice.
But where does that leave him in Top Gun: Maverick, given Iceman was such a key role in the original film?
Since Val Kilmer said he begged producers to bring Iceman back, we can surmise he wasn’t originally in the script. As for whether they added him later, we can only speculate. There’s no sign of him in the trailer, and they wouldn’t be able to use his voice without running some fancypants machine learning on older audio. There’s also a scene in the trailer where Maverick pays his respects to a coffin at a funeral, which could be anyone… but it could be Iceman.
Kilmer’s stayed quiet on the matter, so our money is on a spoiler surprise, which is either a small role or cameo. There may only be a nod to Iceman, both figuratively and literally.
What’s Top Gun: Maverick About?
As you can see in the trailer above, Maverick is advising younger pilots now, and elsewhere he’s described as a kind of “tester”. Why the Air Force gets their least safe pilot to lecture rookies is an open question – presumably as a demonstration of what not to do.
Early details have been light, and perhaps that’s wise in the politically charged climate. But sooner or later we’ll know which real-world nation Paramount Pictures pegged as its baddie, destined to throw missile after missile at American pilots who just won’t quit.
Expect to see Maverick suit up one last time to save somebody, but ultimately it won’t be up to him, and the rookies will have to find it within themselves to get the job done. They’ll grow over the course of the movie, but through the power of mentorship, Maverick will find that they taught him even more. N’awww.
Is Top Gun: Maverick Worth Watching?
While always subjective, our take is yes. We like some of the sounds coming from Jon Hamm, who has said there is next to zero CGI in the movie. They actually got these actors up in the sky, getting tossed around. Probably some of those out-of-breath looks are real.
You can already see from the trailer that there are some great sky-bound shots, and that’s what this is all about. It’ll be labelled as an “action” movie, but the aerial cinematography will be the real star.
Should You Watch The First Top Gun?
It won’t be necessary, but you probably won’t get the full subtext between Maverick and Rooster without seeing how Rooster’s dad died. It was a major element of the first movie.
Other than that… This is a franchise about watching planes go boom. 2022’s Top Gun will have some great sky-based cinematography and action, and the first movie is only worth watching if you want to see the 1986 version of that.
Top Gun: Maverick Release Date
According to Event Cinemas, you can be in a cinema seat watching Top Gun: Maverick on May 26, 2022 in Australia. This comes after quite a few delays – originally the film was to come out back in mid-2019. The latest delay applies to all regions.