Tom Cruise‘s new fighter pilots are learning a thing or two from the iconic movie star.
In six new images released from Paramount Studios, Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is taking on new pilots in the 1986 film’s highly anticipated sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.
The film takes place more than 30 years after Top Gun hit theaters and follows Maverick as he gives additional training to graduate fighter pilots for the Navy.
Teller stars as Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Goose, who died in the 1986 film and was played by Anthony Edwards.
Powell plays Hangman, Ellis portrays Playback and Pullman stars as BOB, while Ramirez is Fanboy and Barbaro, the only female in the group, portrays Phoenix.
The film’s director, Joseph Kosinski, spoke to Entertainment Weekly in his first interview about the film, saying all the actors involved had to train to fly F-18 Super Hornets and experience 1,600 pounds of force.
“The experience is thrilling, but very physically grueling,” Kosinski said. “The maneuvers that we were putting them through to tell this story are not something that you can just jump in and do. They all had to go through months of aerial training.”
Kosinski continued, “We put them through a training course that Tom actually designed himself. He’s a licensed aerobatic pilot, and he was thrown into the deep end when he did the first Top Gun without any training. So he knew that they would need to kind of work up to that level.”
All the actors flying were tasked with the full responsibility of what it meant to be in control of a fighter jet.
“There’s no crew up there. I’m not up there with him, there’s no cinematographer, no hair and makeup,” Kosinski said. “They are responsible for every aspect of the filmmaking process when they’re up in those airplanes.”
As for what fans can expect from the sequel, Kosinski said Val Kilmer’s Iceman will be returning but he couldn’t spill any details.
“The rivalry and relationship between Iceman and Maverick is one of those things that makes that first film so iconic,” Kosinski told EW. “It’s a relationship that is important to the Top Gun franchise and as a fan, I would want to see how it’s evolved.”
Also, fans will get to see Teller’s Rooster and the aftermath of Goose’s death on both him and Maverick.
“The relationship between Maverick and Rooster really forms the emotional core and spine of the film,” Kosinski said. “It was really one of the key reasons Tom felt like that now this is the time to go back and do this.”
Top Gun: Maverick is in theaters on June 26.