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Tom Cruise delays release of ‘Top Gun’ sequel while learning to fly fighter jets

An F/A-18D Hornet with the "Vikings" of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225 takes flight during Exercise Winter Fury 18 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar,on Nov. 30. Winter Fury lets the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing practice for future combat deployments. (U.S. Marine Corps)
November 12, 2018

Actor Tom Cruise is holding up production of the new Top Gun sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” because he insists that he be the one who flies the F/A 18 fighter jet in the film.

Cruise, 56, does have a pilot’s license but is not certified to fly fighter jets. However, if he succeeds at becoming certified, he will be the first actor to do so in production, The Sun reported.

Cruise’s persistence could hold up the film by nearly one year, but it won’t be the first time that he has held up a production.

He has always insisted that he perform his own stunts. In 2017 while filming “Mission Impossible 6,” he broke his ankle while jumping from a building in London.

A source in production told The Sun, “Tom is well known for doing his own stunts and the Top Gun sequel is no different. He won’t film all the flight sequences — it’s too dangerous — but he will fly some, making him the first actor in cinema history to do so. The producers would prefer not to put their leading man, not to mention their whole film, at risk. They also wouldn’t choose to have their long-awaited sequel delayed nearly a year, but despite the huge insurance costs, they are willing to do what it takes to ensure Tom is happy.”

Paramount said the film was due to be released on July 12, 2019, but with the delay, the release is now expected to be June 26, 2020.

Cruise first teased the sequel in late May when he posted a photo to his Instagram account featuring him looking off toward a fighter jet with the words “Feel the Need” and the accompanying caption “Day 1.” He later confirmed that the post was from the first day of filming.


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Paramount did not mention Cruise’s role in the delay but rather stated that additional time is needed so filmmakers can properly coordinate and design the stunning aerial footage depicted in the film.

In August, a crew of 15 non-actors from Paramount Pictures and Bruckheimer Films boarded the USS Abraham Lincoln, based in Norfolk, Virginia, to begin filming air operations using F/A 18 Super Hornets.

Filming then began in San Diego and other locations along the West Coast.

In the sequel, fans will see Cruise return as Maverick, who will take a role as a flight instructor, The San Diego Tribune reported.

Miles Teller will play the son, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. Val Kilmer will return as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky.

The cast will also include Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Thomasin McKenzie, Charles Parnell, Jay Ellis, Bashir Salahuddin, Danny Ramirez and Monica Barbaro playing roles of engineers and pilots.

“Top Gun: Maverick” is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for Jerry Bruckheimer Films and David Ellison for Skydance. Cruise is also a producer.