It’s been 32 years, but fans are finally getting their sequel to Top Gun, which actually began filming at the end of May. Not exactly falling into the category of spoiler is the fact that the film is bringing Tom Cruise back in one of his most iconic roles — Maverick — and reuniting him with the original’s producer, Jerry Bruckheimer. Joining them from the original is Val Kilmer, who is reprising the role of “Iceman,” and all three of them will be surrounded by a whole new crew both in front of and behind the camera. 

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Tom, of course, hasn’t been idle since 1986, having starred in 34 movies, the latest of which, Mission Impossible: Fallout, is a huge action hit and the sixth installment in the MI series. His schedule, according to Jerry, is part of the reason why it’s taken so long for Top Gun: Maverick to finally get into production. “Fortunately for Tom, he’s very busy,” he mused to The Huffington Post, “so you have to find a slot he can fit into and get a budget that Paramount feels they can make the picture.” Needless to say, Paramount found that all the parts fit. 

Not that this is unusual for a Cruise film, but details regarding the plot are under wraps. At the same time, there may be clue (unless things have changed since then) in something Jerry said in that interview, where he noted that the film dealt with the issue of drones: “The concept is, basically, are the pilots obsolete because of drones? Cruise is going to show them that they’re not obsolete. They’re here to stay.” Sounds good to us!

What follows is our preview of Top Gun: Maverick, providing a guide to the cast members we know of at this point, and featuring behind the scenes comments from both Jerry and director Joseph Kosinski. We hope that you, like us, still have the need for speed — scroll down the check out the gallery!

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Tom Cruise is Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell

What goes around comes around, and, oh, man, Maverick, are things about to come around! The character has gone from newbie to flight instructor and will no doubt be dealing with a whole bunch of personalities that were like him in the first film. As for Tom Cruise himself, the man has had an extraordinary career that has spanned over 35 years and encompassed a wide variety of films. He’s currently the star of no less than two franchises, playing the characters of Jack Reacher (twice) and Ethan Hunt (six times). For anyone wondering whether or not Maverick still has the need for speed — have you seen the Mission Impossible films? 

An interesting fact from The Aviationist is, “Lead actor Tom Cruise is a pilot himself, having earned a private pilot rating in 1994 and a commercial license in 1998 according to FAA records. He recently flew a helicopter in the Mission Impossible: Fallout. Cruise also clung to outside of an Airbus A400M Atlas in the 2015 film, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. In the 2017 film American Made, about real-life drug running CIA pilot Barry Seal, Tom Cruise actually was piloting an aircraft in all of the scenes that show him as pilot according to a 2017 article by Julia Bianco on Looper.com.” 

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Miles Teller is Bradley Bradshaw

Bradley is a pilot trainee, and the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, Maverick’s partner in the first film whose life came to a tragic end. We figure Maverick is either going to be a surrogate father, a hardass intent on driving him away from the career that killed his father, or a bit of both. Miles’ film roles include Mr. Fantastic in 2015’s Fantastic Four, Peter Hayes in The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Brendan “Donut” McDonough in Only the Brave, and Adam Schumann in Thank You For Your Service (both 2017). 

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Val Kilmer is Commander Tom "Iceman" Kazansky

The only other returning face from the original Top Gun is Val Kilmer, whose character, “Iceman,” was the “frenemy” of the first film who was even more arrogant than Maverick was. Val has had a varied career, starring in comedies (Top Secret!, Real Genius), fantasies (Willow, The Island of Dr. Moreau), superhero adventures (Batman Forever), and so much more in a filmography that kicked off in 1984 and continues to this day. His more recent credits include last year’s Song to Song and The Snowman, and he’s recently completed work on 1st Born. Oh, and for good measure he voiced the roles of Moses and God in the 1998 animated film The Prince of Egypt. Ready for his rematch with Maverick?

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Jennifer Connelly is.... (we dunno)

So far her role in Top Gun: Maverick has been described as a “single mother,” who reportedly runs a bar located near the Navy base. We’re assuming she’s going to be somebody‘s romantic interest, though we’re not sure who. Her career, which began in 1984, includes Labyrinth, Hulk, The Rocketeer, Salvation Boulevard, Noah, Only the Brave, and the forthcoming Alita: Battle Angel. Over the decades, she’s had many ups and downs in terms of box office success, but that’s something she has no problem making peace with. As she explained to Britain’s The Guardian, “I started working when I was so young and I wasn’t making my choices then. And the thing that I am really happy about is that, for better or worse, I make my own choices now. I feel like I’ve claimed my own career and I take responsibility for it.” 

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Glen Powell is a pilot trainee

Born on Oct. 21, 1988, Glen Thomas Powell, Jr. made his film debut as “Long-Fingered Boy” in 2003’s Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, which he followed a year later with “Paper Boy Travis” in The Wendell Baker Story, though things seemed to improve from there. A number of film roles have followed — where the characters actually have names — and over the past few years he’s appeared with Sylvester Stallone in The Expendabales 3 and Henry Cavill in Sand Castle. Top Gun: Maverick is promising to be his biggest role yet. 

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Monica Barbaro is "Bradley's" love interest

Sorry there isn’t more to her character description than that, but blame Paramount, not us. Her career has consisted of a number of TV guest appearances, as well as a regular role on the show that excels in skewering reality television, UnREAL; a recurring role on Chicago P.D. as Assistant State’s Attorney Anna Valdez, led to her reprising the part as a series regular on the spin-off Chicago Justice. Last season she had a recurring role as Lisa Apple on the ABC comedy Splitting Up Together. 

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Charles Parnell

We’re going to assume that his role is going to be militarily-based (yes, we recognize that it’s a pretty safe assumption). What we do know is that between 2005 and 2008 he played Police Chief Derek Frye on the soap opera All My Children, but is probably best known for his regular part as CMDCM Russ Jeter, USN on the TNT military (with a twist of sci-fi) series The Last Ship, which will be launching its final season soon. Of working on The Last Ship, he explained to StarryMag that the most challenging part of the role is “maintaining that counselor quality, because the situations are so intense on the show that my feelings are always coming up. I have to have a cool-headed calm one, so that is a challenge for me, because I can be a strong emotional actor, but this part requires a lot of strength. I came up in theatre and when you are on stage you have to open up the pipes and you are free. You can expand and put out as much energy as you want, because you have 400-500 people [to reach]. When you have a character that needs to bring it down and be more cool-headed, it takes some adjusting. That is the least natural part for me.”

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Jon Hamm

One of the recent actors to join the cast, there hasn’t been any info released on his character, but our crack research team has determined that Jon played Don Draper in 92 episodes of the 1960s-set Mad Men (impressed, ain’t ya?). Between 2000 and this year, he has appeared in 27 films, and made numerous TV guest appearances. Additionally, he appeared in 18 episodes of Providence, 16 episodes of The Division, five episodes of The Unit, and six episodes of What About Brian. Stardom became a reality in Jon’s life during his time on Mad Men, at which point he was already 35. As he admitted to the Irish Times, “Who knows what I would have been like if I had been famous at 20? I know other people that really struggle with being in the public eye. And I struggle with it. It’s a tremendously challenging life in some ways. Having people say things about you that aren’t true or people making assumptions about you. Those things can be difficult. I’ve met Saoirse Ronan. She’s been famous since she was 12 and I’ve no idea how she’s the well-adjusted person that she is. She’s my hero. I have nothing but respect.”

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Ed Harris

His film career began in 1978 with the thriller Coma, and it’s continued onward for the past 40 years as he’s appeared in a total of 73 films with more on the way. Among them, his role as astronaut John Glenn in The Right Stuff and Gen. Francis X. Hummel in Michael Bay’s early film The Rock, which actually gives you a great sense of his military “presence” (which will no doubt be on full display in Top Gun: Maverick). For the past couple of years he’s made a whole new impression as the Man in Black in HBO’s theme-park-gone-amuck drama Westworld, the violence of which, he’s thought, seems a bit out there. During season one he explained to Indiewire, “You ask yourself, what are you putting out there? This violent individual doing nasty things to all kinds of people. But wait: they’re not people. It’s a theme park. They’re hosts, they’re A.I. That’s the rationale for putting so much violence on the screen. It’s a little bit of a fantasy, there’s some buoyancy to it. This guy’s having a pretty good time: ‘This is what I come here for,’ as he blows eight people away.”

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Director Joseph Kosinski

Stepping into the role of director to replace the late Tony Scott is Joseph Koskinski, who made his feature film directorial debut on 2010’s Tron: Legacy, which in itself was a sequel to the revolutionary sci-fi film Tron. Three years later he collaborated with Tom Cruise on their post-apocolyptic film Oblivion. Last year he took on Only the Brave, a biopic about an elite crew of firefighters known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots. In an interview with ComingSoon.net, Joseph offered a taste of his approach to Top Gun: Maverick, saying, “The Navy is very different now than it was in 1986. Back then, they hadn’t been in any war for 15 or 20 years at that point. The tone of that movie and what those guys were doing was very different. Now, here in 2017, the Navy’s been at war for 20 years. It’s just a different world now, so you can’t remake the first movie. It has to adapt. That being said, I certainly want to recreate the experience of that movie, which gives you a front-seat into the world of Naval aviation and what it’s like to be in a fighter jet. The approach is going to be appropriate for the times we live in.”

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Producer Jerry Bruckheimer

One of the few “survivors” of the original Top Gun is uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Talk about a legend in the movie business, here are just some of the films he’s credited on as producer: Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide, Bad Boys, The Rock, Con Air, Enemy of the State, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, National Treasure, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 12 Strong….

Pardon us as we take a breath before we start on the TV shows he’s produced…. 

The Amazing Race, Soldier of Fortune, Inc.; CSI and its spin-offs; Without a Trace, Cold Case, Close to Home, The Forgotten, Miami Medical, Chase, Hostages, Lucifer, and Training Day.

That’s a whole lotta producing. And yet, despite all that experience, he’s still feeling the pressure when it comes to Top Gun: Maverick. “I’ll tell ya, any movie you make has pressure there, and when you have an iconic movie like Top Gun, you know the bar is really high,” he told the UK’s Metro. “But we try to raise the bar in everything we do, so it’s all about getting enormously talented people to work on it, and Tom is such a gifted not only actor, but also he produced this thing and he’s got a real sense of what the audience wants and what he likes.”

“Audiences don’t change,” he added. “They just want really good entertainment. And what you find is that there’s so many other ways that they can spend their time, between video games, sporting events and television has been phenomenal with streaming and regular channels, cable, so there’s a lot of choices for them. The movie has to be really special and different to get them to leave their house and go to the film.”