"Top Gun: Maverick" is finally in theaters, more than a decade after plans were hatched for a sequel and nearly two years after its first scheduled release date. Expectations were high, and so were the doubts. Did the world really need another "Top Gun" movie, and how good could a sequel made more than three decades actually be?
It turns out that Maverick's story wasn't over, and once producers Tom Cruise and Jerry Bruckheimer figured out the tale they wanted to tell, they enlisted the Navy and an all-star cast and crew to make what movie critics have decided is the best popcorn movie in years.
If the public agrees and "Top Gun: Maverick" connects with younger audiences and lures the older ones back to the movie theaters, then Paramount Pictures should be able to make the case that the "Top Gun" sequel deserves a Best Picture Oscar nomination next year.
Most of the main cast, Bruckheimer and director Joseph Kosinski were buzzing when they did interviews to promote the movie at the beginning of May. The very first screenings of the movie had taken place a few days before, and everyone realized that the reaction to the finished film was overwhelmingly positive.
They say that artists can't really know how good their work is until the audience decides, but "Maverick" is one of those films that came together so flawlessly that everyone involved had to realize that the only people who wouldn't appreciate their work would be the people who would never like a movie like "Top Gun: Maverick" under any circumstances.
We spoke to the cast members, Bruckheimer and Kosinski in the middle of a day of interviews when it was obvious everyone was realizing just how positive the response could be. There are junket days when everyone on both sides of the interview camera knows the movie's not very good, and those are some of the longest days for all involved. This day was the exact opposite.
Bruckheimer and Kosinski shared with us how the cooperation of the Navy was absolutely essential to the success of "Top Gun: Maverick."
Charles Parnell ("Warlock"), Jon Hamm ("Cyclone") and Bashir Salahuddin ("Hondo") are actors old enough to remember the phenomenon of the first "Top Gun" and talked about its place in American culture.
Miles Teller ("Rooster") reveals who came up with the idea for the excellent mustache that makes him the perfect embodiment of Goose's son.
Greg Tarzan Davis ("Coyote"), Danny Ramirez ("Fanboy") and Glen Powell ("Hangman") share an amazing story about the first time they all saw the finished movie.
Jennifer Connelly ("Penny Benjamin") reveals how she was cast as "the admiral's daughter," Maverick's unseen ex-girlfriend in the original movie.
Jay Ellis ("Payback"), Monica Barbaro ("Phoenix") and Lewis Pullman ("Bob") describe the incredibly long wait they endured before "Top Gun: Maverick" finally got its release.
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