Tom Cruise is known for his desire to perform all his own stunts on his films. The original Top Gun was known for its use of actual fighter planes in the flight sequences. Now, it looks like the upcoming sequel Top Gun: Maverick is bringing these two ideas together as it is being reported that production of the film is going on hold so that Cruise can learn how to actually fly the planes.
All this should be taken with a grain of salt, as the source for the Daily Mail's report is anonymous, but certainly, the idea that Tom Cruise wants to actually fly a fighter jet for the Top Gun sequel is far from a shocking idea, so it certainly could be true.
The original Top Gun was able to get the actors in the air to film scenes on board actual fighter jets, but in each scene somebody else was actually piloting the plane, and the actors just pretended to be doing so. Tom Cruise had said previously that one of his requirements for making a new Top Gun would be that he got to get up in the air and fly again, so I just sort of figured that would mean the same methods would be used, but it seems that may not be good enough this time around.
To be clear, it doesn't appear that the plan is to let Tom Cruise do all the flying in the film. That would clearly take too long and be far too dangerous to let him do all the various dogfighting techniques. All the shots of planes doing amazing ariel stunts will certainly be handled by professionals. However, it seems that when you see a close up of Tom Cruise in the cockpit, that may actually be him in the cockpit and actually flying the plane.
What's unclear is if this apparent halt to production will cause a significant enough delay to push the release date of Top Gun: Maverick back yet again. It already saw the release date shift from July of next year to June of 2020. That may still give the film enough time to do this and still make that date, but then again, I have no idea how long it takes to teach somebody to fly a fighter jet. It's probably not a two-week course.
Top Gun Maverick will see the titular pilot as an instructor at the Top Gun school where he becomes a mentor to the son of his former friend Goose, played by Miles Teller. Jennifer Connelly and Jon Hamm are also on board to co-star in new roles.
If this rumor does turn out to be true, it certainly has the potential to make for a really fun movie. The original Top Gun was incredibly popular in the 1980s in large part due to the exciting flight sequences and the fact is that CGI simply would never accomplish the same thing. Watching real planes in action is key, and seeing Tom Cruise actually fly them would just be the icing on the cake.