‘The Most Intense Film Training Ever’ Went Into Making Top Gun: Maverick

‘The Most Intense Film Training Ever’ Went Into Making Top Gun: Maverick
Image: Paramount

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 were going to kiss. Top Gun had it all.

Maverick and Iceman stand with faces very close in a bar
Om nom nom

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. Starting with some trailers.

Top Gun: Maverick trailer

The first trailer landed back in (wait for it) July 2019. Here it is.

In March, we got another trailer. The final trailer before Top Gun: Maverick finally hits cinemas.

Additionally, we got this training regiment featurette, showing what the cast had to go through for those F/A-18 Hornet shots. That’s a lot of hard work.

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.

Ed Harris plays a general that looks at Tom Cruise while asking why he never got promoted

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.

Jon Hamm walks around an airfield grimacing at something off-camera

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. But as you can see in the latest trailer, he’s back, baby. When the first trailer dropped we were speculating about Iceman potentially being in the coffin at a funeral.

What’s Top Gun: Maverick About?

Here’s the synopsis:

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) 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 (Miles Teller), 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.”

So yeah, 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.

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.

This movie is promising a lot of action. So buckle up, y’all.

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.


This article has been updated since it was first published and we’ll make further changes as we learn more. While you wait for Top Gun: Maverick, why not check out all the other sci-fi, horror and fantasy films coming our way.