This week, Tom Cruise finally dons his flight suit once again after two years of delays when Top Gun: Maverick hits cinemas.
The sequel to the 1986 action original, will see Cruise, 59, back in the pilot’s seat as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and Val Kilmer reprise his role as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky.
Here is everything you need to know about it.
What happens in Top Gun: Maverick?
Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell is where he belongs after more than three decades as one of the Navy's greatest aviators.
He’s happy pushing the envelope as a brave test pilot, dodging a promotion that would see him advance in rank but no longer be able to fly, comfortably secluded in a hangar in the Mojave Desert and burnishing his reputation as the only fighter pilot to shoot down three enemy planes in the last 40 years.
Suddenly, Admiral Kazansky, the new commander of the United States Pacific Fleet - played by a returning Val Kilmer - invites Maverick to a mission briefing.
A surface-to-air missile-guarded subsurface uranium enrichment plant on enemy soil poses a serious threat to US national security.
Maverick is tasked with teaching the Navy's brightest young pilots - including “Rooster", the son of his late best friend “Goose” - how to fly under the radar and deliver an explosive payload.
Who stars in it?
As mentioned above, Tom Cruise is back in the pilot’s seat as “Maverick”, while Val Kilmer reprises his role as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky.
Alongside them are some new faces, including Miles Teller (Whiplash, Fantastic Four) as “Rooster”, a pilot trainee and the son of Maverick's late best friend "Goose”.
Jennifer Connelly (Requiem for a Dream, Hulk) plays Penny Benjamin, Maverick's new love interest, while Jon Hamm (Mad Men) is Vice Admiral Cyclone.
Then there is Glen Powell (Hidden Figures, Everybody Wants Some!) as pilot trainee “Hangman”, Lewis Pullman (Catch-22) as Bob, Ed Harris (Apollo 13, The Truman Show) as Rear Admiral, and Monica Barbaro as Natasha "Phoenix" Trace.
What songs are on the soundtrack?
With Berlin's song ‘Take My Breath Away’ winning the 1987 Academy Award for Best Original Song, the original Top Gun's soundtrack became legendary, and the sequel hopes to have the same impact.
Lady Gaga released the title song for Top Gun: Maverick earlier this month, while Hans Zimmer composed the remainder of the film's original score.
Other songs included on the soundtrack include OneRepublic's new song ’I Ain't Worried’, as well as songs returning from the first film, such as Kenny Loggins' ‘Danger Zone’ and Jerry Lee Lewis' ‘Great Balls of Fire’.
For more on the Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack, head to our dedicated explainer.
How long is it?
Top Gun: Maverick’s running time is 2 hours 17 minutes.
Did Tom Cruise fly the planes in Top Gun: Maverick?
Cruise really is at the controls of practically every flight sequence, and his co-stars were intensively schooled in flying F/A-18 Super Hornets in order to act convincingly while in the cockpits.
The 59-year-old actor, who is a licensed, did fly a P-51 propeller-driven fighter plane and a few helicopters, but the Navy denied him permission to fly an F-18 fighter jet.
The F-18 Super Hornet boasts a price tag in excess of $70 million (£56 million), so it’s easy to see why the Navy may not have been keen on a Hollywood star taking to the controls - that’s roughly half of the film’s $152 million (£122 million) budget.
Cruise developed a three-month bootcamp for the actors, which included training in underwater evacuation and aerial aviation, and preliminary training to build spatial awareness within the plane, as well as flying itself.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has also said the performers also had to learn how to use the cameras, because they had to direct themselves while in the planes; they also needed to be trained about lighting, cinematography, and editing.
For more on how the flying scenes in Top Gun: Maverick were shot, head to our dedicated article.
What is Top Gun: Maverick’s age rating?
The British Board of Film Classifcation (BBFC) has given Top Gun: Maverick a certificate of 12A, meaning anybody under the age of 12 can view the film, but they must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18.
“There is infrequent strong language (‘f**k’), a rude middle finger gesture, and milder terms,” says the classifications board.
“There is also mild violence and associated threat, including undetailed sight of planes being shot at and blown up. There are also references to illness, upsetting scenes, and a brief mild sex scene.”
When can I watch it?
Top Gun: Maverick will be released on 27 May 2022.
The film had to grapple with setbacks and delays to its scheduled release even before the Covid-19pandemic struck in 2020.
It was originally scheduled to be released in July 2019, but was delayed by nearly a year to June of 2020.
Then coronavirus hit, and Top Gun: Maverick was pushed back to 23 December 2020.
That release date became July 2021, then November, but eventually the film settled on its current release date of 27 May.
When will it be released on streaming?
Paramount has announced that Top Gun: Maverick will be streamed on Paramount+ 45 days after its theatrical release - that means it will be available online from 11 July 2022.
Paramount+ is not yet available in the UK, but it will become available to British audiences on 22 June 2022, it has been confirmed.
Last August, Sky confirmed it was partnering with ViacomCBS (now rebranded as Paramount) to offer Paramount+to its Sky Cinema subscribers and Sky Q customers at no extra cost.
Paramount+ will still be available to those who do not have a Sky Cinema subscription via the Paramount Plus app for iOS and Android, as well as across supported connected TV devices and platforms.
Paramount+ will cost £6.99 monthly, or £69.90 yearly, with a seven-day free trial available - Sky Cinema customers will be able to access Paramount+ for free.
When it first launched in the US in March last year, two different prices were available, and viewers could opt for a budget plan at $4.99 (£3.68) per month and this option includes advert breaks.
Alternatively, viewers could get an ad-free version if they selected the premium plan priced at $9.99 (7.37 per month).
At the moment, it doesn’t appear that Paramount+ will follow a similar structure in the UK.