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    "Top Gun: Maverick": 19 Things About The Film You Need To Know

    Who’s ready for take-off?

    The newest and biggest navy action drama is on its way to a theatre near you, and I’m just as excited as the rest of us! That’s why I’ve rounded up 19 things about Top Gun: Maverick that you need to know. So, try to contain your excitement and buckle in while I give you the rundown…

    1. It’s been three decades since the original Top Gun.

    Tom Cruise in a fighter jet in the original Top Gun movie
    Cbs Photo Archive / CBS / Via Getty Images

    Oh yeah, you read that right. The original Top Gun film was released 36 years ago. The 1986 flick had a relatively small budget of $15 million, but soon became a cult classic turned mainstream hit, and went on to gross over $357 million worldwide (The Numbers).

    With the original film being released all these years ago, who would have thought that we’d be here now talking about entering the world of Navy aviators all over again?!

    2. The film is marketed as a direct sequel.

    Tom Cruise riding a motorbike in new Top Gun Maverick movie
    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    Just so that we’re all on the same page here, Top Gun: Maverick is not a revamp of the original, nor is it a spinoff film. The new movie is actually a direct sequel to Top Gun, and the storyline takes place over 30 years since the original too.

    This is a win-win for both Top Gun fans and any newbies who are invested since seeing the trailer! Top Gun lovers can go into the film remembering its origins, and if you haven’t yet seen the original, then you can treat yourself to a double bill of the franchise upon its release. I’d recommend watching the original Top Gun at home a good few hours before your planned theatre trip to see the sequel, just in case you need some time to cool off from all of the excitement!

    3. Top Gun: Maverick is directed by Joseph Kosinski.

    Director Joseph Kosinski at Top Gun Maverick event
    Vivien Killilea / Getty Images for Paramount Pictures / Via Getty Images

    At the front and center of the film is Joseph Kosinski. As far as directing goes, Kosinski has only got three feature films under his belt, but they’re pretty big ones!

    In 2010, he directed Tron: Legacy, before going onto release Oblivion in 2013. His last film before Top Gun: Maverick was Only the Brave, released in 2017. Interestingly he’s also already worked with some of the key cast, as Tom Cruise played the leading role in Oblivion, and Miles Teller also had a starring role in Only the Brave.

    From what I’ve seen of Kosinski’s work, he’s not afraid to tell big stories with even bigger visuals, encompassing a lot of CGI and special effects. I have a feeling that the newest Top Gun is going to feel like quite an immersive experience!

    4. The story puts Maverick in the front seat.

    Tom Cruise smirking as Maverick
    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    So now we’re clear that it’s a sequel, what will Top Gun: Maverick actually be about? Well, if the synopsis is anything to go by, I’m definitely counting down the days until the film’s release…

    “After more than 30 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 specialized 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.” (Paramount Pictures)

    It feels like the stakes are going to be even higher in this sequel, and I’m really looking forward to seeing a more mature Maverick take the lead and maybe even face his own challenges with a younger group of pilots! Will the tables be turned on him this time around?

    5. You’ll see some familiar faces.

    Tom Cruise looking at a framed photo of Val Kilmer in Top Gun: Maverick movie
    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    Of course, Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible franchise) is back in the iconic titular role of Maverick, and I think this is one of the most important casting decisions that was made for the sequel. It just wouldn’t have been the same without Cruise! In the original Top Gun, Maverick was a very cocky but brave naval aviator, and though he had a reckless and disobedient approach to flying, he’d always be a likable character that would save the day. It’ll be interesting to see how much he has grown up in the sequel — though by the looks of the trailer, I doubt he’s lost his charm and playful arrogance!

    Val Kilmer (Heat) will also be reprising his role as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky. Iceman is the former foe of Maverick, as they spent their time in the original film competing to be the best, before reconciling and moving forward as friends. Iceman was also a cocky character who had a big ego back in the day (there’s a running theme here!), and you could spot him a mile off with his signature bleached hair tips. In the trailer, it’s clear that Iceman is now an Admiral and is the one who vouched to bring Maverick on board to the graduate training grounds, but we’re yet to see Kilmer in the flesh. The only glimpse of Iceman we get is a framed picture of him, so it’ll be interesting to see just how much of a pivotal role he’ll play in the story.

    6. But two major characters didn’t return for the sequel.

    Kelly McGillis as Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood and Tom Cruise as Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell posing for a photo on set of Top Gun film
    Cbs Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images / Via Getty Images

    [Top Gun spoiler ahead]

    Perhaps more surprisingly for fans is the fact that none of the original female cast are a part of the sequel. Kelly McGillis will not be reprising her role as Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood. Charlie was the physicist and Top Gun civilian instructor who also played the pivotal part of Maverick’s love interest.

    Meg Ryan will also not be returning for Top Gun: Maverick. Ryan portrayed Carole Bradshaw, the wife of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, whom she also had a son with. Her character had it tough as she suffered the loss of Goose when their son was just 4 years old.

    When speaking to Insider about this decision, director Kosinski explained that he didn’t “want every storyline to always be looking backwards, [and] it was important to introduce some new characters.”


    7. There’ll be some fresh faces joining the list of Top Gun graduates.

    Team of Top Gun graduates in Top Gun: Maverick movie
    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    Top Gun: Maverick brings with it some key fresh characters in the form of well-known actors, so let’s have a look at who’s joining the Top Gun family and where you might have seen them before…

    Miles Teller is taking on the role of Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the now-grown-up son of the late “Goose” Bradshaw. Teller is known for his leading roles in Whiplash and The Spectacular Now.

    Jennifer Connelly is Penny Benjamin, and hardcore Top Gun fans will remember her character being mentioned in a one-line reference by Goose when he brings up the “admiral’s daughter.” Connelly is perhaps most famous for her role in Requiem for a Dream, and most recently, she starred in the TV series Snowpiercer.

    Jon Hamm portrays Beau “Cyclone” Simpson, and you’ll recognize him from Mad Men and Baby Driver.

    Glen Powell is playing a character called Jake “Hangman” Seresin, and you may have seen him in The Expendables 3 and Ride Along 2.

    Lewis Pullman steps into the shoes of Robert “Bob” Floyd. He has previously been featured in Bad Times at the El Royale and The Strangers: Prey at Night.

    Ed Harris is Rear Admiral. Over the last six years, he’s been playing the “Man in Black” in Westworld, but his wide portfolio features the likes of The Truman Show and Apollo 13.

    Monica Barbaro portrays Natasha “Phoenix” Trace. Barbaro started earning her first acting roles in 2012, and you may recognize her from a few TV series, including Unreal and Splitting Up Together.

    Jay Ellis stars as Reuben “Payback” Fitch. Ellis has featured in Escape Room, and from 2016–21, he has portrayed Lawrence Walker in Insecure.

    Danny Ramirez is Mickey “Fanboy” Garcia, and you may recall seeing him in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Assassination Nation.

    Greg Tarzan Davis will be playing Javy “Coyote” Machado in the new flick. Davis starred in his first feature film in 2019 in The Call of the Wild, and Grey’s Anatomy lovers will have spotted him in the latest series.


    Miles Teller in Top Gun: Maverick movie
    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    8. The movie has been four years in the making.

    The cast of Top Gun at Top Gun: Maverick event
    Kevin Winter / Getty Images for Paramount Pictures / Via Getty Images

    Yup, it almost pains me to say it, but we could have enjoyed Top Gun: Maverick a good few years ago. The film has in fact been four years in the making, with the first news of a sequel coming to light in May 2018, when the marketing team took to Instagram to create the @topgunmovie handle and share this throwback (I for one thought it was all very cryptic!).

    9. Tom Cruise did his own stunts.

    Tom Cruise walking away from the helicopter he flew in to the Top Gun: Maverick event
    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images,, / Via Getty Images

    It’ll come as no surprise that Tom Cruise did all of his own stunts for the latest Top Gun film. Throughout his movie career, Cruise is notoriously known for wanting to go all in with the action, and we’ve seen many a times where he’s taken the lead on his own stunts as opposed to using a stunt double — heck, he’s even hurt himself in the mix!

    Of course, Cruise is a licensed pilot, so that meant that it was only natural for him to want to take charge of the fighter jet, and literally put himself in Maverick’s shoes. In a conversation with the Hollywood Reporter, the film’s producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, confirms that all of the action scenes with Cruise shows the man himself, confirming, “Every time you see him flying, that’s him in that jet,” and “You can’t pull Tom Cruise back. He’s going to do what he’s going to do.”

    Fair play to Cruise because if I was being filmed while inside a fighter jet, it would not be pretty!

    10. The cast also had their work cut out for them.

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    If the stars of Top Gun: Maverick thought they were going to get off lightly when it came to portraying their characters, then they were mistaken, because Tom Cruise had another thing coming for them! The actors were put through actual Naval Aviation Survival Training, and Paramount Pictures released a behind-the-scenes clip that told all (above).

    It turns out that all actors undertook a grueling three-month training program, including an intense underwater program that involved being flipped in an aircraft scenario and getting out in time. The all-encompassing training was designed by Cruise, and it also allowed the actors to try out their skills with a single-engine airplane (how kind of Cruise, and absolutely not terrifying at all!), so that the actors could build up their spacial awareness inside the aircraft. From there, they graduated all the way up to an F-18 super hornet. The cast even had to learn cinematography and how to direct and film themselves from within the jets.

    I’m mind-blown just from watching that behind-the-scenes footage, and I bet the actors have never experienced anything quite like it before!

    11. And the stars even lived and breathed their roles for a while.

    Top Gun pilot flying a fighter jet in Top Gun: Maverick movie
    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    As well as the challenging training program, some of the cast spent two weeks on an aircraft carrier with real Navy crew members.

    In an interview with Men’s Journal, Miles Teller opened up about his experience. He said: “Doing that really made me empathetic to their [navy crew] daily life…being on the carrier itself was gnarly, being in such tight corners. Not that it feels as compact as a submarine, but walking through the quarters, you felt how close that you are to your crew mates constantly.” He also explained how there are days where they would go without seeing the sun, and that it’s “not great for sleeping, because it almost seemed like they [fighter pilots] were taking off all hours of the night. I was bunking up with Glen Powell. During the night we would just be lying there and you would hear explosions of jet fuel and machines colliding with the deck. Everything on the ship is shaking.”

    No matter how Top Gun: Maverick will fare at the box office, you can’t knock the cast for immersing themselves into their roles, and I’m going to bet that this would have ramped up their onscreen performances too.

    12. Miles Teller puts his piano skills in front of the camera.

    Miles Teller at event for Top Gun: Maverick
    Vivien Killilea / Getty Images for Paramount Pictures / Via Getty Images

    In the upcoming movie, Teller’s character “Rooster” plays the piano during one scene. In many films, we can’t always expect actors to learn new talents and up-skill to play the part, but Rooster’s scene is as real as it gets.

    In conversation with Jimmy Kimmel, Teller talked about how he played the piano growing up and wanted to do it in the film, and thanked his wife for plugging the idea in, Teller’s pianist skills will also be featured in the soundtrack.

    Is there anything these actors didn’t do for the film?!

    13. Green screen was a no-go.

    4 fighter jets flying in sync
    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    OK, so we know that the actors had their work cut out for them, from the training to filming themselves in the jets, but the film must have used some green screens, right? Wrong!

    Top Gun: Maverick is a film completely free from using a green screen background, which is normally used to add digital effects to the final image. When talking to Men’s Journal, Teller confessed, “Every shot, every stunt, was the result of the work, the real sweat, that we all put into it. The production was over the course of a full year, which was definitely the longest shoot I have ever been a part of.”

    I mean, with Tom Cruise involved, did you expect anything less?!

    14. The film had a whopping budget.

    Fighter Jet flying in the sky
    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    Top Gun: Maverick had a production budget of $140 million. Let’s put that into perspective, shall we? That’s over nine times the budget for the original Top Gun! It’s also less than Tom Cruise’s post-apocalyptic action film, Oblivion. (The Numbers)

    Sure, it had a whopping budget, but did you know the film also fueled California’s Economy while filming? According to the Times of San Diego, the film drove more than $150 million into the economy when it was filmed throughout the state, and it created nearly 3,000 high-quality jobs for Californian residents.

    15. Top Gun: Maverick was made for IMAX.

    Top Gun pilots walking towards their aircrafts
    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    The new film is made for viewing in IMAX to get the best possible picture. Director Joseph Kosinski explained to Collider that the team “worked with Sony to develop an IMAX quality camera…so we were able to mount six of them inside the cockpit, and four on the outside of the airplane. So in that case, we’re using technology to capture something real, rather than having to create it on a soundstage.”

    If that’s not enough to reel you in, then what is?! Kosinski also went on to say that the camera is a “6K camera, so 6,000 pixels wide [and] it’s a large format sensor, which is bigger than a 35mm sensor.”

    In short, this blockbuster is going to look amazing!

    16. Lady Gaga curated the theme tune.

    When I wrote this song for Top Gun: Maverick, I didn’t even realize the multiple layers it spanned across the film’s heart, my own psyche, and the nature of the world we’ve been living in. I’ve been working on it for years, perfecting it, trying to make it ours.

    @ladygaga / Via Twitter: @ladygaga

    While Berlin gave Top Gun one of its most popular songs with the romantic classic “Take My Breath Away,” Lady Gaga has taken the reigns on writing and performing the theme tune for Top Gun: Maverick.

    The song is an epic rock power ballad, and the singer took to Twitter to highlight how she classed the song as a “love letter to the world during a very hard time.”

    Fun fact: Gaga also confirmed in an Instagram post that the plane in the music video was real. What a performer!

    17. The score has an A-list team behind it too.

    18. Critics first reactions are promising.

    So, I don’t know about you, but one of my fears about much-anticipated movies is the worry that they’re going to be a huge letdown! There’s nothing worse than having your high hopes dashed by an underwhelming film.

    Luckily for us, critics first reactions are in, and it’s looking super promising…

    Top Gun Maverick is going to completely blow away fans of the original and may even make some new ones along the way. Truthfully, even though the plot is very dependent on that of the original, I found the film to be better than the original in almost every way. #TopGunMaverick

    Paramount Pictures , @ScottDMenzel / Via Twitter: @ScottDMenzel

    Just saw #TopGunMaverick at #CinemaCon - goodness gracious. Might be the best movie in 10 years. Thrills & chills, tears & cheers. @TomCruise is unparalleled. It exceeds anything you could imagine. EXTRAORDINARILY tense. PERFECTION. @Miles_Teller crushes. @TopGunMovie #TopGun

    Paramount Pictures , @NikkiNovak / Via Twitter: @NikkiNovak

    Full disclosure. I’m a huge Top Gun fan. But I think even if I wasn’t, I would have LOVED Top Gun: Maverick. The action is intense & gorgeous, characters and relationships rich & rewarding, then it tugs on the heart strings too. It’s a special sequel & I’ll be its wingman anytime

    Paramount Pictures , @GermainLussier / Via Twitter: @GermainLussier

    19. Top Gun: Maverick is set to soar into theatres everywhere on May 27.

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    While the countdown is on, you can keep on re-living the thrills in the exhilarating trailer!

    I’m 100% going to be seeing Top Gun: Maverick on the biggest and best IMAX screen I can find! Will you be watching upon its release?