After spending over 30 years missing in action, America’s favorite homoerotic military propaganda film, Top Gun, is finally getting a sequel, Top Gun: Maverick— just in time to address the U.S.’s growing military recruitment shortfall! That’s right, Tom Cruise is getting back in the cockpit, ushering in a whole new class of shirtless cadets for whom the only thing more fun than flying big airplanes real fast is playing shirtless beach sports and whispering to each other about hard-ons in the dark. The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced sequel to the highest-grossing film of 1986 has long been in development, but things really hit Mach 5 when Cruise indicated that filming had begun last year, tweeting a photo of himself on an airstrip with the cryptic message “feel the need.” After a years of waiting, Cruise finally revealed the first official trailer for the sequel on Thursday during a surprise appearance at San Diego Comic-Con, not far from where the film was shot.
The trailer reveals that, in the time since the last film, Tom Cruise’s character Maverick has pretty much coasted in his military career, still just a captain after 40 years. As we watch Cruise’s fighter jet takeoff across the screen, we hear Ed Harris dressing down poor Maverick. “You can’t get a promotion, you won’t retire, and despite your best efforts you refuse to die.” Why hasn’t Maverick moved up in the world? “That’s one of life’s mysteries,” he replies, one of many mysteries this film will hopefully illuminate.
The trailer proceeds to check all the boxes anyone could expect for a trailer for the new Top Gun movie. Sure, there’s the breathtaking aerial military action, the zooming motorcycles, a military funeral, a stern-faced Jon Hamm, a shot of cadets drinking beer and singing in unison, a shot of shirtless cadets playing contact sports in the hot San Diego sun. It all checks out.
But the trailer also raises a lot of questions for fans of the original. The most glaring absence is the essential object of the original film’s romance, Val Kilmer’s Iceman. Kilmer signed on for the film, but his absence from the trailer leaves his wingman status in question.
And since the Cold War is over, who are we expecting our heroes to fight—drones? And where was Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone?” We are going to the danger zone, right? Right!?
We can look forward to the answers these questions and more when the film finally drops in summer of 2020. Just look for the theater with the Army recruitment booth outside.
Support our independent journalism
Readers like you make our work possible. Help us continue to provide the reporting, commentary and criticism you won’t find anywhere else.Join Slate Plus