If Top Gun: Maverick fighter jet sequences look unbelievably real, that’s because Tom Cruise and co. are really experiencing head-snapping gravitational forces while flying F-18 Super Hornets in the long-awaited sequel to 1986’s Top Gun.
“I wasn’t ready to make a sequel until we had a special story worthy of a sequel and until technology evolved, so we could delve deeper into the experience of a fighter pilot,” Cruise reveals in the new featurette, Top Gun: Maverick | Most Intense Film Training Ever.
Cruise goes on to reveal that production worked with the Navy and its elite Top Gun fighter and strike tactic school to formulate how to shoot scenes practically—without CGI or green screens.
“If we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna fly in the F-18s,” Cruise insisted.
Before taking to the skies, the cast was put through a grueling three-month training regimen, including a challenging underwater program designed to prepare them for an emergency ejection over water.
Monica Barbaro, who plays fighter pilot trainee Phoenix, adds that from there, “Cruise designed an all encompassing aviation program for the actors,” which saw them work their way up from single-engine airplanes to an L-39 trainer jet before launching off an aircraft carrier in an F-18 Super Hornet.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick stars original cast members Cruise and Val Kilmer alongside Ed Harris, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, and Jon Hamm, as well as slew of younger stars including Barbaro, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Charles Parnell, Bashir Salahuddin, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez and Greg Tarzan Davis.
See the official synopsis below:
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 friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “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.
Top Gun: Maverick hits theaters–including Dolby Max, and IMAX–on May 27.