Military Aviation

Top Gun: Maverick Production Halted So Tom Cruise Can Learn to fly F/A-18s

“He won’t film all the flight sequences, it’s too dangerous, but he will fly some, making him the first actor in cinema history to do so,” source close to Top Gun: Maverick production

According to The Sun, Tom Cruise has reportedly put the filming of Top Gun: Maverick on hold so that he can learn to fly an F/A-18 fighter jet. If the sources are correct, Cruise would be the first actor in cinematic history to fly a fighter jet on the big screen.

Top Gun 2 has been filming around the Los Angeles and San Diego areas for the last few months, but it appears that they may be on a bit of a hiatus.

Apparently, Tom Cruise is insisting to learn how to fly F/A-18s in Top Gun: Maverick, which sounds a bit crazy. However, the actor already has a pilot’s license, so this isn’t exactly his first rodeo.

Sources close to the production had this to say about the matter.

“Tom is well known for doing his own stunts and the Top Gun sequel is no different… He prides himself on making the action sequences as realistic as possible.”

As we have already explained the movie was assigned a theatrical release date of Jul. 12, 2019 last year, but on September Paramount announced that had delayed the sequel nearly an entire year, assigning it a new release date of Jun. 26, 2020.

While Paramount dind’t provided an official reason for the delay, it was said that the added production time was required to enable the filmmakers to properly coordinate and design the many breathtaking aerial sequences planned to be part of the sequel.

But now the source hints that the release date change for Top Gun 2 may have been because of Tom Cruise’s desire to learn how to fly a fighter jet. Obviously, this has not been verified by anybody officially, but it does make sense, especially considering how long the delay is, and the weird reasoning that the studio gave.

The source explains.

“He won’t film all the flight sequences, it’s too dangerous, but he will fly some, making him the first actor in cinema history to do so. The producers would prefer not to put their leading man, not to mention their whole film, at risk. They also wouldn’t choose to have their long-awaited sequel delayed nearly a year, but despite the huge insurance costs they are willing to do what it takes to ensure Tom is happy.”

We’ve seen set photos of the actor on his motorcycle, so we might end up seeing some pictures and video of Cruise down in San Diego learning to fly a fighter jet. This news was first reported by The Sun U.K.

Noteworthy as already reported Maverick’s rides for Top Gun sequel will be a cool special painted F/A-18F Super Hornet (which experienced a mid-air issue while it was flying with Tom Cruise on board in September) and a new motorcycle that Tom Cruise already drove around airfield (as he did on a Kawasaki Ninja in the 1986 original) as shown in first pictures from Top Gun: Maverick set.

Top Gun: Maverick will likely feature the Navy’s new Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters alongside older Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

In August in fact, a film crew from Paramount Pictures was aboard aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) the same time the Navy began launching F-35C jets off the ship interchangeably with F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as an integrated air wing.

Tom Cruise teased the start of filming on the long-awaited Top Gun sequel on May 31, 2018 with a tweet featuring an image of an older Capt. Pete Mitchell standing in a flight suit with his famous HGU-33 helmet (that wore to fly his F-14A Tomcat) in hand.

Top Gun: Maverick will also see Kenny Loggins re-recording ‘Danger Zone’ for the movie as well as Harold Faltermeyer and Hans Zimmer joining forces on the score for the movie.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18F Super Hornet VFA-103 Jolly Rogers, AG201 / 166621 / 2007

Photo credit: Revenge Of The Fans

Artwork courtesy of

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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