It’s been nearly four decades since Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards flew across our screens as Maverick and Goose. This weekend the story picks up with Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s return to Top Gun as an instructor training the Navy’s top pilots. A film celebrated for its realistic depiction of aviation sequences, early reviews of the film promise it stays true to its roots, which is a tremendous feat when special effects have advanced so much and become the norm.
The word on the street is pilots won’t be disappointed when viewing the long-awaited sequel. Here are four aviation facts that are interesting to know about the film.
- Tom Cruise is flying in some scenes.
If you weren’t already aware, Tom Cruise is a certified pilot, and has done many of his own stunts in past films. His character in Top Gun 2 pilots multiple aircraft throughout the film, including a P-51 propeller-driven fighter plane and some helicopters. With the assistance of Navy pilots, Tom Cruise and rest of the cast members were filmed in the cockpits of F-18s, acting and speaking their lines while in flight.
- There is no green screen – those are real F-18s.
One of the demands of the film was to be as realistic as possible. In the original film the cast was filmed inside the cockpits, but except for Tom Cruise no footage was usable due to the unfamiliarity with the environment and effects of flying on the actors. This time around the main Top Gun trainees underwent a rigorous three-month flight training program set up by Tom Cruise in partnership with the Navy’s real-life Top Gun School, introducing them to Cessna 172 Skyhawks, an Extra 300, L-39 Albatross jets and finally the F-18s. An example of one of their first feats was an underwater program that required the actors to learn how to free themselves from a submerged plane.
- Actual servicemembers and military aircraft are featured.
Top Gun was responsible for a huge Navy recruitment boost in the 80s, and in hopes of that repeating itself Paramount and the military worked together to make the sequel as accurate as possible. The Pentagon gave the film access to a military base for filming, allowing cast to work with Navy personnel, cameras to be mounted to military aircraft and certain pilots to be filmed in the cockpit. When you are watching the movie, you will see actual military jets performing aerial stunts.
- The Blue Angels helped convinced Tom Cruise to do the sequel.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has admitted it took some convincing to get Tom Cruise to agree to do the sequel. To help persuade him he set up a ride between Tom and the Blue Angels. They took him for a ride at a Naval base in California, performing a variety of stunts in an F-18, which is said to be what ultimately convinced him to sign on to the project.
With the film hitting theatres May 27, we expect to see quite a few of our fellow aviation lovers in the seats.