Why Fans Love Tom Cruise's Maverick, According To Top Gun Producer

Tom Cruise as Maverick in Top Gun: Maverick trailer

Just play the Top Gun music in your head. The theme song. "Danger Zone." Take your pick. How do you feel? Do you feel the need for speed? The need to be a reckless badass with a wink, a smirk, and some crazy speeding tickets? You wouldn't be alone. It has been 34 years since Tom Cruise first took to the skies as Maverick. Somehow it has taken this long for a sequel to show up, but Top Gun: Maverick is arriving in theaters this June, a few weeks before Cruise turns 58.

Tom Cruise is ticking up the years, but Maverick is still Maverick. Sure, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is now a trainer for a new generation of cocky pilots in Top Gun 2 -- and it felt weird for Cruise to return to the role after more than 30 years -- but Maverick is still a cocky anti-authority hothead himself. And that's why fans love him.

Everybody wants to be a Maverick. Everybody wants to buck the system. Everybody when they get pulled over by a cop wants to tear up the speeding ticket and drive away. Everybody has it in them (but) Maverick is the character that does it. It's wish fulfillment and I love it.

Yeah, "Maverick" just as a nickname tells you a lot about him -- and he does get to act out a lot of fantasies. The jets, the motorcycle, the lipping off to authority. He's the coolest guy in the room.

By the way, that quote came from Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced Top Gun with Don Simpson back in 1986 and returned to produce Top Gun: Maverick with David Ellison and Tom Cruise himself. Bruckheimer shared his thoughts on Maverick's appeal to USA Today, along with this new photo of Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick:

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I know we're supposed to say age is just a number, but why does Tom Cruise's number look so much lower than 57? Maybe it's Maybelline. At any rate, I would wager that's another appeal of Maverick, and so many of Cruise's characters. There's a skill-backed swagger to most of his action heroes, and people who've aged alongside him -- but maybe not quite as well -- can imagine themselves in the same roles. Plus, Cruise gets to do stuff like this as Maverick. I mean, come on.

In Top Gun: Maverick, flight instructor Maverick has some new hotheads under his wing, including Miles Teller as the late Goose's son Rooster. The rest of the cast also includes Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Ed Harris, Monica Barbaro, Manny Jacinto, Jay Ellis -- who had nice things to say about Tom Cruise as a mentor -- and the return of Val Kilmer as Iceman. The first two trailers have received a lot of positive feedback, with fans appreciating the many callbacks to the original film.

Top Gun: Maverick was directed by Joseph Kosinski and co-written by Christopher McQuarrie, who said the sequel has great respect for the original film and the whole team is immensely proud of the results. Fans can see it on the big screen June 26, 2020. Keep up with everything heading to the big screen this year with our 2020 movie release date schedule.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.