It feels like it’s been delayed since the 1980s, but we are finally going to see Tom Cruise back in the cockpit in Top Gun: Maverick this summer. New images from the film were published exclusively by Total Film today, offering new looks at the highly-anticipated movie. The film is scheduled to open in theaters on May 27, 2022.
The images, shown below, feature Tom Cruise in his all-too-familiar fighter pilot jumpsuit, complete with aviator sunglasses. He is also shown working on a plane, seemingly from early in the film. In addition, an image was released of Miles Teller as Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards), Maverick’s wingman who died in a training accident in the first film.
Top Gun: Maverick picks up some 30 years after the original, and finds Tom Cruise once again playing Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who has passed up promotions to remain a pilot. He’s now a test pilot, but is called back into service to train a newly-graduated class of pilots from the Navy’s Top Gun school for an important mission that has never before been attempted. Among the pilots is Teller’s “Rooster,” leading Maverick to wonder if he can keep him from suffering his father’s fate on the dangerous mission.
Once upon a time, it seemed like circumstances would keep the film from being released on time. Just as production was set to begin, Tom Cruise broke two bones in his ankle while filming Mission Impossible: Fallout. It was initially thought that Maverick would be delayed because of it, but Cruise recovered quickly and production stayed on schedule. Ironically, the COVID pandemic ended up delaying the film by about three years. The film also had to make a major change: Cruise’s iconic jacket had to change a patch referencing Taiwan, which offended the Chinese government and could have affected whether it played in the country’s theaters.
The film began shooting during the summer of 2018, with an original release date of July 12, 2019. During filming, however, the release date was shifted to the summer of 2020. In April of 2020, Paramount pushed the release to December 23, 2020 because of the COVID pandemic. When it became clear that the pandemic was not letting up, the film was delayed twice more, first to July 2, 2021 and then to November 19, 2021. In September of 2021, the film received one more release date change, to May 27, 2022, causing another Tom Cruise film, Mission: Impossible 7, to be delayed to 2023. That means Top Gun: Maverick has had five release date changes, and will finally hit theaters three years after its original date, and four years after it first went into production.
Actor Manny Jacinto, who appears in the movie as “Fritz,” says the film’s fighter jet sequences, all shot practically and without CGI at the insistence of Tom Cruise, will wow audiences. “I can’t wait,” he told Total Film. “I mean, Tom does not disappoint. It was incredibly fun to shoot it. If I can remember it (laughing). It was the best experience…He just gives off this vibe, this energy of work ethic. It inspires you. You get on set and you make sure you give 110%. You can’t help but do that.”
Because Tom Cruise insisted the film use footage of real jet fighters in action, the actors endured rigorous flight training and flying in jets under heavy G-Force environments. “I had about three months of flight training before starting the movie,” Miles Teller said in an interview with Men’s Journal. “That time was important to get comfortable with the crafts but also to build up our G-force tolerance, because all of the aerial elements were shot practically. The training started in a Cessna, and moved to an Extra 300…From there we got into an L-39 Albatross, flying with these guys called The Patriots, who are the civilian equivalent to the Blue Angels.”
In addition to Tom Cruise and Miles Teller, Top Gun: Maverick also stars Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, and Ed Harris. Val Kilmer, who famously played “Iceman” in the original 1986 film, is confirmed to return as well, although his role may be limited due to his recent cancer battle, which has affected his appearance and speech. The film is directed by Joseph Kosinski, who also directed Tron: Legacy and another Tom Cruise film, Oblivion.