Tom Cruise, better known as Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, made a virtual appearance at a conference on Friday thanking the Navy for the assistance the service provided for the upcoming “Top Gun” sequel.
Speaking to the Tailhook Association’s 2020 symposium, Cruise pointed to his training with Navy pilots in preparation for his film roles and thanked the aviators for their service.
“I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many of you – of working with you side by side, of being able to go through some of your training while preparing for ‘Top Gun’ and then again with ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’” Cruise told the conference. “You are excellent. You are the best of the best. And it is a privilege to represent you on the big screen. You deserve to be celebrated. You are the real heroes. And you are an inspiration. So on behalf of myself and a very proud country, thank you. Thank you for your service.”
The introduction to the conference featured several other virtual appearances from “Top Gun: Maverick” actors, including Monica Barbaro, who sent a video from Naval Air Station North Island, Jay Ellis, and Glen Powell. Actor Gary Sinise, who played Lt. Dan Taylor in “Forrest Gump,” also provided a clip.
Powell thanked the aviators for helping him train for the movie.
“Not only thank you for keeping me safe, but also thank you for helping me hide my puke bags on the way back to debrief. I donated a lot of puke back to the Navy,” Powell said. “There’s a lot of people that complimented the air freshener I left in the cockpit afterward and I want to apologize to them. But, regardless, the movie’s going to be great. You’re going to be very very proud of how you’re portrayed and the job is portrayed.”
The sequel to the 1986 hit “Top Gun” was slated for release in summer 2020. But at the height of the coronavirus lockdowns, Cruise in April tweeted that the film’s release had been postponed to December. In July, Variety reported that the film won’t hit theaters until summer 2021.
I know many of you have waited 34 years. Unfortunately, it will be a little longer. Top Gun: Maverick will fly this December. Stay safe, everyone.
— Tom Cruise (@TomCruise) April 2, 2020
The trailer for “Top Gun: Maverick” discloses that Cruise’s character has served in the Navy for more than 30 years, but still holds the rank of captain and has not been promoted to admiral.
USNI News previously reported that Maverick could have a career spanning longer than the typical 30-year service cap under several unusual circumstances. One such scenario would be if Maverick took a break from active duty service, spent time in the Navy Reserve, and then transitioned back to active duty.