Feeling the need for speed! Ever since its debut almost four decades prior, Top Gun has been considered an American classic — and it finally got a sequel.
The film, which was released May 16, 1986, follows a group of Top Gun Naval Fighters as they learn to train and refine their elite flying skills. When hotshot pilot Maverick (Tom Cruise) joins the squad, his reckless behavior puts him at odds with his fellow pilots — especially “cool guy” Iceman (Val Kilmer). With the help of his pal Goose (Anthony Edwards), Maverick sets off not to just be the top fighter in his class but to win the affection of the academy’s flight instructor, Charlotte Blackwood (Kelly McGillis).
The action flick was an instant classic and inspired a generation to join the armed forces, with the U.S. Navy reporting a 500 percent increase in admissions that same year. Directed by Tony Scott, the movie went on to win an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1987 for Best Original Song – “Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins.
The sequel to the adventure film, which debuted on May 27, 2022, serves as an ode to its predecessor. Joseph Kosinski, who took over directing the franchise from Scott, explained the nerves he felt as a newcomer paying homage to the original while also making something new for viewers to enjoy. (Scott died by suicide in August 2012.)
“It’s a little nerve-wracking, Because we know we love the film, but you just never know how an audience is going to react — especially to something so beloved,” the Iowa native explained in a May 2022 interview with Screen Rant. “Everyone has their own version or memory of the first film or what they loved about it. I hope people see how much we revere the first film and at the same time, we wanted to tell our own story.”
Cruise, for his part, told The Sunday Project that same month that his dream was to find a way to make the follow-up film even better than what came before it — once the time was right.
“I was thinking of the audiences, of what can we do to really entertainment everyone and figure this thing out,” the actor told the outlet about revisiting the film so many years later. “Before the original opened there was talk of [making a sequel] … and as a young actor, I wasn’t ready to do it. I was educating myself in cinema and story and as time went on, every year I would release a movie, people would be like, ‘What about Top Gun?’ So I would go and think, ‘What could I do?’ I’ve always looked for an interesting story. … I felt like [Miles Teller as Goose’s son Bradley Bradshaw] was a [worthy] emotional story.”