Nearly three years after its first unveiling, Top Gun: Maverick finally looks to have a stable release date: May 27, 2022. On Tuesday, Tom Cruise and co. arrived to celebrate the occasion with a new trailer, which addresses some remaining questions about what Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is doing with the Navy.
As such, it’s a plot-heavy preview. The new video doesn’t address the reasons for the eventual F-14-filled military theater, so we still recommend watching it, but if you’re eager to avoid spoilers, our Maverick trailer writeups from 2019 might be more up your alley.
“You are not my first choice”
“You are here at the request of Admiral Kazansky,” a visibly annoyed three-star general (Jon Hamm) tells Mitchell at the trailer’s outset before gesturing to a framed picture of a commander (the picture is labeled “Iceman”). Ah, the old Kilmer Macguffin. “He seems to think you have something left to offer the Navy,” Hamm continues.
The trailer doesn’t clarify whether this clinches Mitchell’s choice to return to the Navy as an instructor, nor whether Iceman eventually shows up in person (assumption: he will). Either way, another trailer sequence makes it very clear that Mitchell is the only guy for the job. “Everyone here is the best there is,” Phoenix (Monica Barbaro, The Good Cop) says to fellow top-level fighter pilots over a game of pool. “Who the hell are they going to get to teach us?”
This scene is followed by multiple Maverick “teaching” moments, mostly in the form of Mitchell flying dangerously close to his students and flashing a massive grin. While he starts the trailer acting flip about the gig (“I’m not a teacher”), by the end, he commits to at least one piece of advice: “You think up there, you’re dead. Believe me.”
Mitchell delivers this line in classic pained-Cruise fashion to a familiar face: Brad “Phoenix” Bradshaw (Miles Teller, Divergent), the son of the original film’s Goose (Anthony Edwards, seen here in a faded photograph). The mustache has indeed been passed down from father to son, as has a massive chip on his shoulder. After one brief peek at a physical altercation, Bradshaw offers a brutal rejoinder: “My dad believed in you. I’m not going to make the same mistake.”
To soften those blows, the trailer finally confirms that actor Jennifer Connelly is the woman we saw sharing a motorcycle ride with Mitchell in a prior trailer. In this footage, her new-to-the-series character Penny is limited to consoling Maverick about his struggles as the leader of a young team. She also warns about a Goose-catastrophe repeat. “Those are your pilots. If anything happens to them, you’ll never forgive yourself,” she says.
Instead of revealing any new aircraft or giving fans a better look at the film’s weird “Darkstar” craft (which is already a toy), this final trailer focuses on one dogfight. The film’s previously seen snowy locale is now a mess of surface-to-air missiles, with pilots requiring evasive maneuvers like a tight roll beneath a stone trestle bridge. Otherwise, the trailer’s in-the-air action continues to emphasize how much drag the aerial antics pull, along with the fact that, yes, that’s real-life Tom Cruise doing at least some of that crazy flying.
Sadly, the trailer forgoes any version of Berlin’s classic song “Take My Breath Away”—though knowing Hollywood, producers may have chosen to redo the song as an insufferable dubstep remix, so maybe that’s good news. Still, the trailer has us excited that the film will finally release, and while the plot looks as formulaic as we’d feared, the narrative is not why we plan to head to the theater this May.