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 specialized 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 best friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, known as “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.
- Tom Cruise as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a flight instructor
- Miles Teller as Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, a pilot trainee, and the son of Maverick’s late RIO, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw.
- Jennifer Connelly as Maverick’s love interest, who is a single mother and owner of a bar.
- Jon Hamm as a vice admiral
- Glen Powell as “Hangman”, a pilot trainee
- Lewis Pullman as Bob, a pilot trainee
- Ed Harris as a rear admiral, who is Maverick’s superior
- Val Kilmer as Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, a fellow instructor and friend/former rival of Maverick.
- Monica Barbaro as “Phoenix”, pilot trainee
- Charles Parnell as Rear Admiral Marcus “Sundown” Williams, who is Maverick’s old colleague in the old time and once served as Maverick’s RIO after Goose’s death. Parnell replaces Clarence Gilyard who played “Sundown” in the first film.
- Jay Ellis as “Payback”, a pilot trainee
- Danny Ramirez as “Fanboy”, a pilot trainee
- Manny Jacinto as Fritz
- Bashir Salahuddin as Coleman
- Jake Picking
- Raymond Lee
- Lyliana Wray
- Jean Louisa Kelly as Carole Bradshaw, Goose’s widowed wife and Rooster’s mother. Kelly replaces Meg Ryan who played Carole in the first film.
- Greg Tarzan Davis
Development of the film began in 2010 when Paramount Pictures made offers to Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott to make a sequel to Top Gun. Christopher McQuarrie had also received an offer to write the sequel’s screenplay, which was rumored to have Cruise’s character Maverick in a smaller role. Peter Craig, Justin Marks, who described the film as a dream project, Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz would be credited as screenwriters on the project.
When asked about his idea for a new Top Gun film, Scott replied, “This world fascinated me, because it’s so different from what it was originally. But I don’t want to do a remake. I don’t want to do a reinvention. I want to do a new movie.” The film will reportedly focus on the end of the dog fighting era and the role of drones in modern aerial warfare and that Cruise’s character, Maverick, will fly an F/A-18 Super Hornet. After Scott’s suicide, the sequel’s future remained in question, but producer Jerry Bruckheimer remained committed to the project, especially given Cruise’s and Kilmer’s interest.
In June 2017, Cruise revealed that the title would be Top Gun: Maverick, with Harold Faltermeyer returning as composer for the sequel. Cruise further stated that, “Aviators are back, the need for speed. We’re going to have big, fast machines. It’s going to be a competition film, like the first one … but a progression for Maverick.” Later the same month, it was confirmed that the film would be directed by Joseph Kosinski, while no title was officially confirmed.
Musician Kenny Loggins has confirmed that his iconic song “Danger Zone” will be featured in the film. In October 2018, it was reported that Hans Zimmer would also compose for the film alongside Harold Faltermeyer.
On June 19, 2019, at CineEurope in Barcelona, attendees were able to watch for the first time some early footage of the film from a special Paramount presentation. During the presentation the President of International Theatrical Distribution Mark Viane and Co-President of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution Mary Daily appeared in flight clothes.
Val Kilmer had campaigned on his social media page that he would like to reprise his role in the film, and by June 2018, The Wrap reported that he will appear in the film. In July 2018, Miles Teller was cast in the role of Goose’s son, against Nicholas Hoult and Glen Powell. All three were flown to the home of Tom Cruise, the star of the film, for chemistry tests. Later that month, Jennifer Connelly joined the film’s cast to play a single mother running a bar near the Naval base.
In August 2018, Powell joined the cast of the film in a pilot trainee role that was enlarged for him, having impressed star Tom Cruise, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, as well as executives at Paramount Pictures and Skydance, with his auditions. That same month, Monica Barbaro, Thomasin McKenzie, Charles Parnell, Jay Ellis, Bashir Salahuddin, Danny Ramirez, Ed Harris, Jon Hamm and Lewis Pullman joined the cast of the film with Barbaro, Ellis, and Ramirez portraying pilot trainees and McKenzie portraying Connelly’s daughter. In September 2018, Manny Jacinto joined the cast of the film. In October 2018, Kara Wang, Jack Schumacher, Greg Tarzan Davis, Jake Picking, Raymond Lee, Jean Louisa Kelly and Lyliana Wray joined the cast of the film. Additionally, McKenzie was forced to drop out of the film after signing onto Lost Girls. In November 2018, Chelsea Harris joined the cast of the film in an undisclosed role.
Preliminary production on the film officially started on May 30, 2018, in San Diego, California. During late August a 15-person film crew from Paramount and Bruckheimer Films were aboard the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to shoot flight deck operations. In mid-February 2019, Cruise and the production crew were sighted on board USS Theodore Roosevelt at NAS North Island. In March, filming was completed at NAS Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Washington.
On June 19, 2019, Miles Teller revealed in an interview that he had finished filming two days earlier. Principal photography was scheduled until April 15, 2019, in San Diego, California; Lemoore, California; China Lake, California; Lake Tahoe, California; Seattle, Washington; and Patuxent River, Maryland.
The movie was filmed in IMAX using IMAX-Certified Sony Venice 6K Full Frame cameras.
Shortly after the film trailer’s release, Canadian journalist Mark MacKinnon spotted that Mitchell’s leather bomber jacket had been changed from the original film to omit the Republic of China and Japanese national flags present on the original, leading to speculation that the change was politically motivated in order to appease the Communist Party of China. The move drew some controversy in the United States, with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump Jr. criticizing the alteration.
The film’s first trailer was shown at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con on July 18, 2019. The first trailer received high praise from fans, with many lauding Cruise’s return to the series and some comparing it to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The second trailer was released on December 16, 2019. It was also well received, with many fans praising the aerial cinematography in particular. It was followed immediately by a behind the scenes video briefly exploring the film’s stunts and use of IMAX cameras.