Top Gun: Maverick Trailer Breakdown: More Tom Cruise, More Shirtless Beach Sports, And More Iceman

Some movies feel like they have been waiting a lifetime to come to fruition. Such is the case with "Top Gun: Maverick," the long-awaited sequel to Tom Cruise's '80s classic that helped cement him as a global superstar. Not only did it take decades to get the sequel going in the first place, but the pandemic has delayed this movie for literally years at this point. However, Paramount Pictures is finally delivering the goods this summer, and we recently got a brand new trailer to prove it. Given that we've been waiting for so long to see Maverick back in the pilot's seat, it feels appropriate to take a much closer look at this trailer to see what director Joseph Kosinski ("Tron: Legacy," "Oblivion") has in store for us. Let's dig in, shall we?

Need for speed

How else could one possibly hope to open a trailer for "Top Gun 2" other than with a shot of a fighter jet zooming across the skyline? Or, to be more precise, skimming just above the desert floor in what appears to be a dangerous (and fast!) maneuver. 

This trailer knows damn well what people are here to see, and they want to get to the action fast. Granted, the trailer takes some moments to squeeze in some character beats, but they open with the good stuff. The stuff that puts meat in seats. 

Hello there, Rooster

Moving on, we quickly meet one of the sequel's big new characters played by Miles Teller, Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw. This is, as the mustache heavily implies, the son of Goose, played by Anthony Edwards in the original. Indeed, Goose was the partner of Tom Cruise's Maverick, and he died during the events of that film. It appears that despite all of that, his son is going to follow in his footsteps. 

The new recruits

This sequence that follows is largely designed to set up the idea that we are going to be introduced to a batch of new recruits in this film. It is going to be Cruise's Maverick representing to the old guard, with the new guard learning from the man himself. In a way, it looks like this is going to be a legacy sequel in some respect, with the old characters potentially handing the franchise off to some new ones, much like the new "Scream" or even "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." 

Maverick returns

And now we get to the first money shot of the trailer, which sees Cruise back in the jacket and glasses as Maverick once again after all these years. Same motorcycle. Same look. Same reputation within the military. The voiceover indicates that he hasn't done much growing up in the decades since we saw him last, which is kind of an interesting way to approach this whole thing. Rather than the wise old dog, he's kind of still the immature but talented guy we left off within '86. 

Welcome back, Iceman

Here is arguably the trailer's biggest moment, marking the return of Val Kilmer's Tom "Iceman" Kazansky to the franchise. As we learn here, he has risen through the ranks within the military over the years and he's actually the one who is recommending that Maverick be brought back into the fold to teach these new recruits. Not everyone agrees with Iceman's assessment of the situation. It should be noted we don't actually see Kilmer in the flesh, but the actor has undergone a lot in real life in recovering from throat cancer, so it's tough to say how much he'll actually be in the film.

Jon Hamm enters the arena

Now we get to meet Jon Hamm's new character, nicknamed "Cyclone." As we can see from his shirt there, he is a rather decorated pilot and, based on the voiceover where he declares that Maverick was not his "first choice" for this position, he is not having it with Cruise in the movie. At least not at first. Hamm puts off some serious no-nonsense vibes here and he seems perfect for the role, quite frankly. 

I (still) believe I can fly

We don't go too long without getting some more (expensive looking) plane action, with Maverick in the cockpit. What's interesting here is the extended focus on Cruise's face. We can see some real distress and torture behind his eyes, and it makes us pretty curious as to what he's been up to in the years since we saw him last. One suspects the ride has not been all sunshine and roses. Also around this time, Maverick makes a crack to Cyclone about "managing expectations" since he's not a teacher. It's a very small moment of levity in an otherwise very serious trailer. 

Sweet maneuvers

A still image really doesn't capture it, but this part of the trailer features an absolutely wild stunt with Maverick's jet crossing directly between two of his recruits in mid-air. It looks impressive and dangerous as hell. No question CGI is going to come into play here, but a whole lot of this looks practical, which should play out intensely on the big screen. It also definitely feels like Maverick is screwing with his new recruits, much to everyone's chagrin. 

Disapproving faces

Following the stunt, we get a look at Cyclone again as well as some other members of the Navy's command, including Charles Parnell's Warlock, who clearly does not approve of Iceman's decision to bring back his old pal Maverick to influence these new pilots. 

We also get a small taste of Bashir Salahuddin's Coleman, who also seems uneasy with the situation but in a less stone-faced way, with more of a nervous unease going on.

Go for flight

Here we get to see a lot of the new pilots in action, jumping into their respective fighter planes with their nicknames stamped right on the side. Above, we get a look at "Payback," played by Jay Ellis, for example. 

We also get another look at Rooster in action here, as well as Monica Barbaro as Phoenix. It's unclear if this is just a bit of training or if they're about to head into combat for real. Either way, everyone appears to be taking it all very seriously.

Get into formation

This leads directly into another money shot of Maverick in the cockpit, soaring off of an aircraft carrier heading into battle (or training?) with the younger pilots. Again, this looks very real and not at all like CGI. 

The neat bit is seeing the pilots leaving the aircraft carrier in formation. Kosinski really seems to have a feel for making all of this flight stuff look and feel real. It also seems exceedingly expensive, which means Paramount is probably crossing its fingers that audiences also think this looks cool and will feel compelled to head to a theater this summer to see it unfold on the big screen.

Meet Hangman

And hey, would you look at that! Here we get to meet another new pilot by the name of Hangman (ominous, right?) played by Glen Powell. At this moment in time, he is delivering a major warning that they are about to head into battle to face the likes of something no pilots have ever faced before. Scary for them, likely excellent for audiences. 

More plane craziness

We're not even close to done with the wild plane stunts this movie has to offer, not by a long shot. Again, still images are doing this no justice, but we can see a pretty wild sequence here that involves a pretty tricky maneuver to dodge some incoming missiles. 

That might be one of those "shut up and take my money" shots for the right kind of viewer. 

Goose Jr.

Maybe this is me reading into it a lot, but this shot of Maverick walking behind Goose's son really feels like a nice reversal of things, with Maverick walking in Bradley's shadow, not the other way around. Is this a way of implying that Goose's death still haunts Maverick and now he's got to worry about protecting his friend's son? Regardless, this is a good-looking shot that is sure to fuel some nostalgic feelings.

Another wild stunt

I hate to sound like a broken record here but stills just can't do these stunt shots any justice. This part of the trailer sees the pilots flying through a really narrow underpass of a bridge, and it is super intense. The way Kosinski is moving from cockpit shots to outside the planes really brings something to the action. 

'My dad believed in you.'

This is one of the more emotionally intense moments in the trailer. We get some old photos harkening back to when Goose and Maverick were living the good life as pilots together. But the voiceover from Rooster delivers a real gut punch.

Teller's character looks at Cruise and says, "My father believed in you. I'm not gonna make the same mistake." Straight-up ouch.

To the cloudy skies

A very rad shot here of Maverick leading some of his other pilots into battle. They are shrouded in the cover of the clouds, and it is pretty stylish to look at. One imagines this is going to lead to a pretty impressive sequence. 

Action has consequences

Around this shot of the trailer, Cruise says "someone's not coming back from this," and then we see this panicked shot of Goose's kid mid-flight. Is this foreshadowing? Perhaps a bit of misdirection? Either way, someone isn't going to make it and the action for the audience means consequences for the characters.

More sexy beach sports

It may not be volleyball, and it may not be set to the sweet sounds of Kenny Loggins (at least not yet), but here we have a nice throwback with the pilots all playing sports with one another shirtless on the beach. How could we have a "Top Gun" sequel without such a moment? 

Jennifer Connelly's Penny enters the picture

Kelly McGillis will not be returning as Charlie this time around, at least not so far as we know. But Tom Cruise needs a love interest, right? That's where Jennifer Connelly's Penny comes in. We see her here as she's providing a warning to Maverick about the perils that lie ahead, and what might happen if he loses any of his new students. 

Rocket time

Yeah, this is definitely not a training exercise. Here we have some very deadly-looking rockets being fired at the pilots over some snow-covered mountains and it appears here is where some consequences of this dangerous profession come into play. 

So the big question is, who is in that plane and who is about to have some devastated family members?


Yeah, we kind of had to know this was coming, right? What is a movie like this without consequences? So yes, there is a funeral scene being teased here and it appears one of Maverick's students does not make it all the way. 

Now the big question we're left with is who does Maverick have to bury here? It's rough to imagine they go after Goose's family twice ... but you never know.

Watch your head

Again, Kosinski doing some sweet plane work here. In this case, we have what looks to be a new jet of some kind taking off and barely clearing the head of someone who looks very important to the military. Who is flying the plane, we wonder? A good question for another time. 

Party time

Again, one of the few moments of levity added to a very serious trailer is this bit of Goose's kid playing the piano and entertaining his friends. What is it they are celebrating? Did they score a victory in battle? Or is this one of those things where the authority figure walks in shortly after to break up the partyer? Either way, it looks like everyone is having a grand time. Except for the dude in the glasses there on the left played by Lewis Pullman. What's his deal? 

That's a lot of missiles

There really isn't a whole lot to say here other than, holy crap, that is a lot of missiles! Where are all of those heading? What did the military do to piss someone off so badly? And what kind of expensive explosion are those about to cause? 

Angry Rooster

It appears that Rooster has a little bit of fight in that mustache as this part of the trailer sees him getting into a pretty big scrape with some of his fellow pilots. 

Maverick does his best to intervene but this may be one of those "let them work it out" type situations.

Last bits of action

Before the trailer packs it in, we get a few more quick-cut action shots. For a trailer that is a little over two minutes, they sure do unleash a lot of action. Not to hammer this point too much, but man does this movie look expensive

Yeah, that looks not cheap and also very entertaining.

One last throwback

You can practically hear it, can't you? The music cue that usually belongs to Maverick and Charlie. Yet, here we have Maverick taking Penny for a ride in an homage to one of the most memorable shots from the original "Top Gun" that helps to close out the trailer. If this movie isn't going to lean on nostalgia, then why do it at all? Hopefully, it doesn't lean only on nostalgia, but that's why a sequel like this is able to justify its existence. 

"Top Gun: Maverick" is set to hit theaters on May 27, 2022.