It Finally Happened: Cruise Reunites With An F-14 Tomcat In New Top Gun 2 Set Photos

The images confirm the return of the mighty Tomcat in the long-awaited sequel to the 1980s cult classic air combat flick. 

Paramount

Top Gun 2 is now deep into production and shooting has moved to the Lake Tahoe area for a somewhat puzzling series of action scenes with Cruise fully outfitted for flight while running around in the snow. In addition, it appears that the F-14 Tomcat that was towed into the Tahoe area was indeed intended for the production, with shots emerging of Cruise and the production crew crawling over the retired fighter as it sits in what appears to be a military-like hardened aircraft shelter. The photos are quite nostalgic as it is the first time we have seen a Tomcat being part of the production in any way, let alone one that Cruise is hands-on with. 

Check out the photos of Cruise running around on the snowy set and checking out the Tomcat with the production crew in Tahoe at this link.

So yes, a grand reuniting of sorts between Mav and his beloved mount is going to happen in this movie. Think Han Solo walking into the cockpit of the Millennium Falon in Star Wars The Force Awakens, but with a lot of fake sweat, brown hair dye, toothy smiles, and cheesy catchphrases. 

Youtube Screencap

We have already seen Maverick's baby blue striped Super Hornet, but the inclusion on an F-14, and in this alpine setting, in particular, makes one wonder what the plot for this movie is really going to look like. This set of scenes almost seems as if it is part of a caper of sorts, with Cruise and Miles Teller—who plays Goose's son—possibly stealing the Tomcat in question. We really can't be sure, but the jet also has what looks like a phoenix painted under its canopy, so exactly who owns this F-14 and where the setting is supposed to take place in relation to the greater plot is puzzling. We can say one thing for certain, that bird logo has meaning to the film as the F-14 didn't have it when it was towed to the set. 

Earlier set photos showed cruise in some sort of a black pressure suit, so maybe Mav executed a very high altitude skydive into the area to steal the Tomcat. Cruise, an avid skydiver, loves to incorporate jumps into his action films, so that pressure suit being more about skydiving than flying a high-altitude aircraft could make some sense. 

Here was my take on what a Top Gun 2 plot should look like back in 2015:

As far as a good Top Gun II plot goes, I think the best one possible is obvious: It is 2015, and tensions are rising between the US and Iran, which has recently sent its F-14 Tomcats to China (or even better, Russia) for an extreme upgrade. Now, through an ironic turn of events, US Navy pilots flying Super Hornets may have to take on the legendary Tomcat in a more potent form than ever before. One retired fighter pilot knows the Tomcat better than anyone else and has applied it to great success in combat. That one pilot is Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Will Mitchell, who left the Navy under negative circumstances, accept their urgent request for his Tomcat expertise? Can Maverick teach the young gun “Rhino” drivers how to defeat the very steed he learned to master and love?...

Iran would be an ideal foe as its air force still flies a couple dozen Tomcats and has upgraded them over the years, so it is not a completely unfounded plot device. As far as peer competitors on the high seas go, China would be the obvious choice, but that would mean missing out on the lucrative Chinese box office, so that surely isn't happening. 

Iranian Air Force

A division of upgraded Iranian Tomcats.

Could Mav be stealing an F-14 from Iran because the U.S. doesn't have any that can be rapidly put in the air for dissimilar training? Or maybe a 'live specimen' is needed in order for the U.S. intelligence community to evaluate upgrades to the jet so that they can be countered? It could also be that Maverick gets shot down while flying a high-altitude aircraft over Iran and steals the Persian Tomcat to escape enemy territory? The F-14 could have also been 'sold' by Iran to another country, like North Korea, to help get the Tomcat to the bad guys that the scriptwriters wanted to include in the film.

All these plot points seem pretty silly, which makes them perfectly viable for a Top Gun sequel. 

We will keep you up to date as more about the particular Tomcat that is staring in the film surfaces.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com