Get ready for nostalgia at Mach 10! Hearing the first few chords of the Top Gun theme wafting over an ocean at sunset, will instantly transport you right back to 1986, when Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) first attended Top Gun and slid into an F-14. Only it's 2019, and there's no slow motion shots of flight crews on the deck of an aircraft carrier getting pilots ready for take off. Instead, it's shots of Maverick, still "just a captain" at Top Gun, still pulling the same risky aerial maneuvers he did thirty years before.
That not much has changed about Maverick from then to now is a comforting feeling, but the trailer does drive home the message that those of Maverick's mettle will have to fight to remain relevant in an era where aerial combat faces extinction. The trailer, which premiered at this year's San Diego Comic Con, doesn't reveal much of the plot, but we see imagery evoking iconic scenes from the original, and it's enough to ignite our curiosity. Here are ten questions we have after watching the trailer.
10 Where Are The Drones?
When news of a Top Gun sequel first broke, the first thought that went through many people's head was what's it going to be about since aerial combat has changed so much in the last thirty years. With drone combat more and more in use in today's Airforce and Naval Airforce, was there really a need for pilots to compete for Top Gun status?
In interviews, Tom Cruise has said that the film would focus on drones, and how pilots like Maverick adjust to their bigger influence. Well, we see a lot of Maverick doing crazy flying, and no drones, so we're thinking they'll save them for later. You see a movie like this for the aerial stunts anyway.
9 Are Maverick's Iconic Accessories In A Museum?
We see Maverick donning his signature brown leather motorcycle jacket, covered in brightly colored patches. This is clearly to establish that his "need for speed" still translates to making any vehicle he can go fast, as he did so memorably in Top Gun. We also see him reach for his iconic aviators, a staple of the first film and an iconic accessory of the '80s.
His aviators rest against a gold plaque of sorts, as though part of a display. Are Maverick's accessories in a museum? If they are actually part of an aviation exhibit for new Top Gun personnel to oggle, it's fitting symbolism for the pervasive message enveloping the entire trailer. Maverick's way of life is ending, and it will soon only to be remembered like this.
8 Will Maverick Play Any Volley Ball?
We catch a few glimpses of some shirtless, oiled up bodies on a beach, with a few spinning volley balls on their fingertips and laughing. This is a direct reference to the first film, when Maverick and Goose's team so notably took on Iceman and his friends. It's been mocked mercilessly for its homoerotic undertones, but could there really be another Top Gun without it?
Goose memorably begged Maverick for a rematch, but he didn't do it. Goose was killed not soon after, which makes us wonder, will Maverick take on some fresh Top Gun recruits in Goose's honor? For a man in his mid '50s, Tom Cruise stays in excellent shape, and we wouldn't be surprised if he stripped off his tshirt and his some sand to show the young pups how it's done.
7 Why Is Maverick Only A Captain?
Maverick is standing before Ed Harris's character, hearing his long list of accolades repeated to him, and is asked why he's still only a Captain when he could be a 2 Star Admiral. He's had battle commendations, citations, and the most kills of anyone in the last thirty years (which though a small number, is significant when considering it's aerial combat).
Maverick deflects the question, saying, "It's one of life's mysteries, sir". In other words, Maverick is so addicted to flying that he's passed up some golden ticket opportunities, only to eventually age out of the system? Maverick has always done things his way, but we're betting there's more to him remaining just a captain than that.
6 What Happened To Charlie?
The romance between Maverick and Charlie Blackwood in Top Gun was a major highlight amidst the backdrop of the danger and adrenaline from aerial combat. Their chemistry guided by the mellifluous vocals of "Tale My Breath Away" by Berlin made for some truly iconic scenes. At the end of the film, Charlie risks an important position in Washington DC to pursue her romance with Maverick.
There's a notable absence of Charlie in the film, and there could be a reason for that; Jennifer Connolly, no stranger to popular '80s films, will appear as a potential love interest for Maverick. She'll be portraying the owner of a local watering hole frequented by pilots.
5 Is That A Picture Of Goose In Maverick's Locker?
It's a little difficult to determine, but it looks like there may be a picture of Goose taped up in Maverick's locker. Goose was his Radar Intercept Officer (or R.I.O.) from their days aboard the USS Enterprise, tragically killed when the pair ejected from Maverick's F-14 and Goose hit the jettisoned canopy. His death significantly hurt Maverick's flying skills, and blaming himself for it cost him the Top Gun trophy.
Miles Teller will play Goose's son in Top Gun: Maverick, though it's unclear if he'll be an R.I.O. like his dad or a pilot like Maverick. It's been said that Maverick will serve as a mentor to him, and we wonder if their relationship will be solid or strained with the memory of Goose.
4 Will There Be Female Pilots?
We see several shots of female officers, both seated in training, and participating in off duty carousing at the same bar patroned by Maverick, Goose, Iceman and all the rest of the pilots. We also get one clear shot of a female pilot getting loaded into the cockpit of a jet and flashing the thumbs up sign. Does this mean it's not just a boys club anymore?
Top Gun was very much a film where jets practically ran on testosterone. It unapologetically celebrated hyper-masculinity and the military, and became popular for it. Recruitment went up in the armed forces after its release, with young men imagining themselves in the cockpit of a Tomcat. Now it looks like women will get to feel the same rush!
3 Who Dies?
At one point we see a rifle salute at a cemetery, the pageantry of such meant to respectfully commemorate a fallen service member for their years of dedication and valor. We don't get to see a grave marker, so the death is anonymous. We see Maverick in his dress blues, slamming the "wings" of someone down onto the lid of the coffin.
While it could be someone he flies with that affects him the same way Goose's death did, it could also be someone from his past. His mentor Mike "Viper" Metcalf from Top Gun would most likely be in his 80's or even 90's by now, and it could very well be his funeral we see.
2 Where's Iceman?
One of the most obvious absences in the trailer is Iceman, Maverick's enemy turned friend at Top Gun. Iceman preferred to fly by all regulations, placing safety and protocol ahead of risky flight maneuvers. He found Maverick's way of flying too dangerous and ego driven, but he was forced to concede it's importance when Maverick saved his life in enemy air space.
We know Val Kilmer is slated to reprise his role as Iceman, we just don't know how big a part he'll play in Maverick's new chapter. He did tell Maverick that he could be his wingman "any time". It would be fun to see the two of them as Top Gun instructors (Iceman did win Top Gun after all), or even just flying buddies again.
1 Will It Turn Into The Mission Impossible Franchise?
Tom Cruise is well known for doing his own stunts. In the Mission Impossible franchise, the stunts get more insane with each new installment. It's amazing producers let him do it, but that's the power of Tom Cruise and his box office draw. Audiences go to see what crazy thing he's doing next.
In Top Gun, he told producers he had to be the one flying his F-14. And admittedly the scenes with him in the cockpit feel more authentic. But will it be the same case for the sequel and the F-18's? Will we get a third Top Gun movie with even more insane aerial maneuvers, and go the way of Mission Impossible?