Using cinema as recruiting propaganda for organizations and agencies is nothing new, but usually that is a conscious and deliberate element in the movie’s production. But if a film created primarily to entertain becomes a recruiting tool then that can be a happy accident. “Top Gun,” the 1986 air combat action blockbuster which made Tom Cruise a star, also spurred many hot-blooded moviegoers to flood US Navy recruiting desks hoping to make it as aviators. The film became an instant modern classic, with a sequel starting conceptualization nearly 30 years later. At last, ahead of its premiere next year, a first trailer has been released.
USA Today chimes in that Paramount Pictures has finally given a preview of what to expected with “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel to the original Tom Cruise starrer that nobody asked for but everyone might be happy to have anyway. Development of the new movie has taken so long already that fans thought it would be quietly cancelled, despite having some plot points already spoiled by the studio and actor himself. It is known Cruise’s character “Maverick” remains a Navy flight instructor, and that he is teaching the son of his late flying partner, but now the trailer expands upon that narrative to provide setting.
The trailer sees Navy aviator instructor Pete “Maverick” Mitchell flying an F/A-18 Hornet through some intense maneuvers, while a voiceover narrates his circumstances. Note that Maverick planned to quit combat piloting and return to the Top Gun school as instructor at the end of the original film. Now we learn he has kept to that career path for decades, as his superior (Ed Harris) notes that Maverick remains a Captain-ranked instructor when his experience would make him a two-star Admiral. But for Maverick, life already cannot get better than that.
Other sequences of the trailer provide both a tease for present-time developments in the sequel film, plus flashbacks from the time of the original and its aftermath. While current Maverick flies a Hornet now, a sequence reveals a (now-retired) F-14 Tomcat like what he and his departed radar officer flew. A short segment also sees Maverick at a military funeral, likely for Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, whose son he would eventually mentor. Familiar sights like Maverick racing a fighter plane on a motorcycle and a volleyball game provide some surprise nostalgia. We have yet to see what conflict will ensue during the movie, but it surely involves plenty of combat flying.
Directed by “Tron: Legacy” auteur Joseph Kosinski, “Top Gun: Maverick” also stars, along with Tom Cruise and Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, John Hamm and Val Kilmer reprising as Maverick’s rival Tom “Iceman” Kazansky. The film premieres June 26, 2020.
Image courtesy of GQ