Paramount Pictures and Tom Cruise surprised the audience at Comic-Con International on Thursday with a first trailer for Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 film that helped to propel the actor to Hollywood super-stardom. Although 33 years has passed since the release of the original, the events of the classic action drama are hardly in the rear-view mirror.
Instead, while the footage doesn't reveal much about the plot, it does lean heavily on nostalgia. The familiar theme rings loudly as Cruise's Pete "Maverick" Mitchell takes to the skies again, making it clear this is intended as a true successor to the original. But the music isn't the only thing that fans will recognize. In fact, the trailer delivers plenty of callbacks to the original, some nearly shot-for-shot.
The original Top Gun began with Cruise's Maverick defying orders to help Cougar to safely land his fighter jet. The act was deemed reckless by Maverick's superior, Stinger, which led to him scolding the young pilot for his dangerous attitude.
The trailer for Top Gun: Maverick begins in much the same way. As we see Maverick pull off a daring maneuver in the desert, we hear the commanding officer played by Ed Harris reprimand the aging pilot for his recklessness for his his career choices. It shows that while some things have changed in the past 33 years, others have remained very much the same.
The opening scene of Top Gun is an all-time classic that set the tone for the popular film. Atop an aircraft carrier, fighter jets are prepped for takeoff. It's a slow build-up that crescendos into a sequence of successful, powerful takeoffs.
In the Maverick trailer, we get a callback to that sequence, as two fighter jets are raised on a platform. The slow, steady movement of the platform evokes the methodical practices of the original's opening scene, and leads to a roaring takeoff.
When a fighter pilot was ready to take off in Tony Scott's Top Gun, he gave a thumbs up, which was quickly followed by a military salute before he would put the pedal to the metal. It's a gestures that became synonymous with the film. It has, of course, returned in Top Gun: Maverick. We see Cruise's Capt. Pete Mitchell deliver the same salute before blasting off of the carrier.
The Bike Ride
The original Top Gun delivered another iconic scene when Cruise's Maverick arrived at the Fightertown U.S.A base in Miramar, California. The young pilot rode in on his motorcycle, parallel to a fighter taking flight.
Now, Top Gun: Maverick tips its hat to this very scene. In the trailer, we once again see Maverick on his bike, speeding along as he races a fighter jet.
Beach ... Football?
Even if you've never seen Top Gun, chances are you're aware about the film's infamous beach volleyball scene. During a bit of R&R, Maverick and the other pilots went bare-chested to play a sweaty game of volleyball in the sand.
And, of course, Top Gun: Maverick will follow suit. The trailer shows a pilot on the beach, celebrating, seconds after he holds a football in front of the setting sun. Sure, the sequel may have traded volleyball for football, but the sweaty, muscular pilots are still there.
Great Balls of Fire
Top Gun wasn't just Maverick. It was also his best friend and wingman, Nick "Goose" Bradshaw, played by Anthony Edwards. The beloved character died in the film, following a malfunction with his ejector seat that ended up breaking his neck. The loss weighed heavily on Maverick, and fueled much of the drama in the original.
Goose's presence will still be felt in Top Gun: Maverick, as the trailer depicts a callback to Goose's performance in the 1986 film of "Great Balls of Fire."
The Upside-Down Maneuver
Top Gun prominently displayed Maverick's hotshot piloting skills, naturally. But there was one maneuver in that took the cake: the signature upside-down move. During a mission, Maverick was able to invert his plane, and fly directly over an enemy fighter -- something that wasn't thought possible. The classic moment was capped off with Maverick giving his opponent the finger, and Goose snapping a photo with his Polaroid camera.
It's only right, then, that Top Gun: Maverick once again shows off Maverick's incredible skills by honoring that very maneuver. The sequel's trailers ends by featuring the character flipping his plane upside down, and speeding off into the horizon. It shows that Maverick doesn't just still have his amazing skills -- he's better than ever, and he truly is the same character we all know and love from the 1986 classic.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski, from a screenplay by Peter Craig, Justin Marks and Eric Warren Singer, Top Gun: Maverick stars Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer, Ed Harris, Jon Hamm, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Manny Jacinto, and more. The film is scheduled to be released on June 26, 2020.