Top Gun: Maverick Featurette: Believe It Or Not, Tom Cruise Risked His Life To Make Another Movie

Some have been quick to proclaim that the age of the movie star is dead and gone. They may have a very valid point, admittedly, given just how much moviegoer tastes have changed (and been forcibly changed) over recent years to prioritize viewing spectacle-driven franchise IP over almost any other movie out there — particularly those driven by brand-name actors. You still see cases where individuals like Tom Holland can almost singlehandedly lift a movie like "Uncharted," but doesn't that mostly just go back to familiarity and residual goodwill from audiences seeing the actor in "Spider-Man"? In any case, I maintain that the concept of the movie star will is not dead as long as Tom Cruise is still alive. 

You might want to sit down for this, but the face of the "Mission: Impossible" franchise lead and chronic adrenaline junkie who defies death on a regular basis is back at it again. Who knew! One of the most highly-anticipated upcoming blockbusters, "Top Gun: Maverick," has actually been a holdover from those pre-pandemic days. Originally slated to release in July of 2019, the film was initially pushed back to June of 2020 ... in other words, right smack dab into the quarantine shutdown period that ruined the carefully-laid plans of countless movies in the industry. Delayed several times over before ultimately landing on its current release date of next month, we're finally entering the point where the marketing can ramp up ahead of its release.

The long-in-development "Top Gun" sequel has marketed itself as maintaining the realism, naturalism, and verisimilitude of the original Tony Scott classic, with director Joseph Kosinski (along with writer and frequent Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie) finding ways to get the camera into the cockpit of fighter jets that Cruise is actually ensconced in. Thus far, the trailers have promised a visceral thrill-ride that needs to be seen on the big screen, and that's what the latest featurette released for the film is emphasizing as well. Check out the new behind-the-scenes footage below.

Top Gun: Maverick featurette

"I wasn't ready to make a sequel until we had a special story worthy of a sequel. And until technology evolved so we could delve deeper into the experience of a fighter pilot."

Tom Cruise's return to the danger zone has been a long time coming, but his first words in this featurette (other than the assortment of grunting and loud noises he makes when pulling up to 7 g's while in the cockpit of an F-18 jet fighter, at least) seek to reassure longtime fans that this legacy sequel won't be like other ones. Audiences can typically smell blatant cash grabs and nostalgia fests from a mile away, and on the surface, viewers would be forgiven for assuming the same with "Maverick."

That's where this new featurette comes in, with producer Jerry Bruckheimer waxing poetic about the original film and an emphasis on the practical nature of all the aerial, sweat-inducing stunts. As Cruise explains, the actors had to train for over 3 months for these action sequences, which involved undergoing Navy boot camps that subjected them to underwater drills, aviation training designed by Cruise himself (who you may have heard is capable of flying a helicopter on his own, in addition to being a trained airplane pilot), and even learning to operate the cameras mounted within each jet.

"I had to really teach them cinematography and the lighting so that they understood what's gonna look good on camera."

No matter how you slice it, that's just an incredible Tom Cruise quote. "Top Gun: Maverick" roars into theaters on May 27, 2022.

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 Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: "Rooster," the son of Maverick's late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka "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.