'Top Gun: Maverick' Forces Tom Cruise's Maverick To "Confront His Past," Director Joseph Kosinski Says

Tom Cruise's Pete Mitchell in Tony Scott's 1986 classic Top Gun was an idol for every every aviation lover back in the '80s. And why wouldn't he be? He was a wild card, he was cocky, he looked great playing shirtless volleyball, and his code name was Maverick, of all things. But what happens when a maverick is nearing middle age? That's what the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick will grapple with, director Joseph Kosinski said, teasing that the story of the highly anticipated sequel will be a "rite-of-passage story, much like the first film was," but at a "different stage" of Pete Mitchell's life.Top Gun: Maverick will bring a new set of challenges to Tom Cruise's title character, including "things from his past" that he must confront and reconcile with, Kosinski told Empire in a recent interview for the magazine's Big-Screen Preview issue. The director added:

"In so many ways he's still the guy that we remember from the first Top Gun. He keeps that old Ninja under a tarp in the hangar and still wears those Ray-Ban aviators. He's the best at what he does, and he's given his whole life to aviation. But that has come as a personal cost, and Maverick has to confront some things from his past and reconcile with them. It's a rite-of-passage story, much like the first film was. But this is a man now at a different stage of life."

The first film followed Cruise's Maverick as a young hotshot Navy pilot who was forced to grapple with the consequences of his reckless actions. The sequel will pick up with Maverick as he trains a new batch of pilots, including Miles Teller's trainee "Rooster," the son of the original film's fallen hero Nick "Goose" Bradshaw.

The rest of the cast includes Jennifer ConnellyJon HammGlen PowellLewis PullmanEd Harris, and Val KilmerTop Gun: Maverick is currently slated to hit theaters December 23, 2020.

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 Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: "Rooster," the son of Maverick's late best friend and radar intercept officer Nick Bradshaw, known as "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.