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Top Gun: Maverick — how to watch, reviews, trailer, cast and everything we know about the Tom Cruise sequel

Tom Cruise in the cockpit in Top Gun: Maverick
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films)

More than 35 years after the original Top Gun, the Tom Cruise blockbuster has gotten a sequel in Top Gun: Maverick.

In the original, Top Gun (1986), a young Cruise stars as the hot-shot pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, as he and his co-pilot Goose (Anthony Edwards) take part in the Navy’s top school for elite fighter pilots. Maverick likes to push it to the limit, but that ends up getting him in trouble and his confidence gets shaken following a tragic accident. But the happy ending prevails and he saves the day and gets the girl.

Top Gun remains a fan-favorite to this day, thanks to numerous factors including a star-making turn from Tom Cruise, memorable supporting characters like Anthony Edwards' Goose and Val Kilmer's Iceman, fantastic '80s tunes like "Danger Zone" and "Take My Breath Away" and incredible aerial sequences. Talk about a sequel has been swirling for years and now its here.

What can we expect from Top Gun: Maverick? Here is everything we know about the sequel.

How to watch Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick is now playing exclusively in movie theaters worldwide.

It's been a bit of a ride for Top Gun: Maverick. The movie was initially due for release in summer 2020. Of course, it got moved, along with every major blockbuster because of the pandemic. Fans hoped it would land in 2021, but it eventually was pushed to 2022.

Here's how to watch Top Gun: Maverick right now.

What is the plot of Top Gun: Maverick?

Top Gun: Maverick takes place more than 30 years after the events of Top Gun. Maverick is now working as a test pilot and actively attempting to dodge the advancement in rank that would force him to stop flying.

However, his career ends up taking him back to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics School — otherwise known as TOP GUN — where he has to confront his past as he is charged with training a new squadron of fighter pilots.

How long is Top Gun: Maverick?

Top Gun: Maverick has a runtime of two hours and 10 minutes.

What is Top Gun: Maverick rated?

Top Gun: Maverick is rated "PG-13" for US audiences (parents required for anyone under 13) and "12A" for UK moviegoers (suitable for children 12 and over).

Who is in the Top Gun: Maverick cast?

Tom Cruise will be just shy of 60 when Top Gun: Maverick is released, but there is no way Hollywood was going to make Top Gun 2 and not have him back in the cockpit of a fighter jet. Maverick remains one of Cruise’s most iconic roles, so you just can’t have a Top Gun movie without the star reprising the character.

Cruise isn’t the only cast member returning from the original film. Maverick’s frenemy is back, as Val Kilmer will once again play Iceman. Anyone who has seen the documentary Val on Prime Video knows that Kilmer currently uses a voice box to speak after battling throat cancer. Despite his health concerns, Cruise was adamant that Kilmer would return (opens in new tab) for the sequel.

There will also be plenty of new faces in Top Gun: Maverick. Key to the plot is Miles Teller, who will be playing Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, the son of Maverick’s old co-pilot Goose. Other new members of the cast include Jennifer Connelly as Penny Benjamin, Jon Hamm as Cyclone, Glen Powell as Hangman, Monica Barbaro as Phoenix, Jay Ellis as Payback, Lewis Pullman as Bob, Charles Parnell Warlock, Bashir Salahuddin as Hondo and Ed Harris as Read Admiral Chester "Hammer" Cain.

Find out more about the Top Gun: Maverick cast right here.

Top Gun: Maverick reviews — what are critics saying?

The buzz on Top Gun: Maverick started strong, with first reactions following the movie's first public screening at the 2022 CinemaCon convention, calling it a "perfect summer blockbuster" and something that needs to be seen on the biggest screen possible. Now the official reviews are coming in and are echoing those first thoughts. 

What to Watch's Top Gun: Maverick review calls the movie a "stratospheric sequel" and one that both pays tribute to the original but also surpasses it.

As for others, Top Gun: Maverick has a 97% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) and a score of 78 on Metacritic (opens in new tab).

Check out some of the reactions to Top Gun: Maverick directly below.

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Tom Cruise spoke with What to Watch sister publication Total Film (opens in new tab) about the movie for their latest issue:

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Top Gun: Maverick Royal Premiere

Straight from their Cannes screening, the stars headed to London for a Royal Film Premiere. Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly and more walked the red carpet alongside the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Check out pictures from the Top Gun: Maverick UK premiere.

Top Gun: Maverick global premiere

The Top Gun: Maverick global premiere took place on May 4 in San Diego, with the red carpet being held on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum. Not only that, Tom Cruise arrived to the premiere flying a helicopter and landing on the flight deck. Take a look at some of the pictures from the global premiere and quotes from the stars.

Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack — Kenny Loggins "Danger Zone"

Almost as important as which of the cast members would return, fans want to know if Top Gun's iconic theme song, "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins will be part of Top Gun 2. 

The good news is the answer is yes. Kenny Loggins confirmed on Rob Lowe's podcast, Literally with Rob Lowe, that "Danger Zone" would play in Top Gun: Maverick. So listen to those engines road and get ready to ride back into the danger zone when the movie comes to theaters.

Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack — Lady Gaga "Hold My Hand"

The first new song we've heard about for the soundtrack is from Lady Gaga who wrote a brand new song for Top Gun: Maverick, called "Hold My Hand." We expect this to be the Top Gun 2 equivalent to the original movie's love ballad, Berlin's "Take My Breath Away."

Check out the official music video for "Hold My Hand" right here:

Here's what Lady Gaga had to say about writing the song for Top Gun: Maverick.

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Is there a Top Gun: Maverick trailer?

Check out all of the trailers released for Top Gun: Maverick directly below:

Paramount has also released a feature that looks at the training that Tom Cruise and the other actors did so that the flight sequences they do in the movie would look and feel authentic. Check it out below:

Another feature details the F18s, the incredible aircrafts that the actors (along with the Naval pilots assisting them) actually flew in for the movie.

In addition, James Corden has proven to be a fan of Top Gun: Maverick, as his The Late Late Show has done a pair of sketches surrounding the movie. The first saw Tom Cruise take the talk show host up in a real fighter jet, while the second was more Corden's speed, a sketch where he revealed his own, less than intimidating call sign.

Top Gun: Maverick posters

Check out the movie posters for Top Gun: Maverick:

How to watch Top Gun

If you've never seen Top Gun and want to watch it before seeing Top Gun: Maverick or if you've seen the 1986 movie 100 times and just want to watch it again, you can do so right now on Prime Video or Paramount Plus.

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.