HomeThe “Felon” of Top Gun: Maverick

The “Felon” of Top Gun: Maverick

The fans are finally in for a treat after eagerly waiting more than 35 years for the sequel of Hollywood’s blockbuster Top Gun. With Tom Cruise starring as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, his Top Gun: Maverick is all set to hit the theaters globally this year on May 27, nearly three years after the release of the first trailer and facing successive delays.

This has been also formally confirmed with the premiere of the third and final trailer on Tuesday, which also brought along some new sneak peeks from the movie.

Among the clips reflecting chemistry between pilots and splendid action scenes, dogfights, chases; we also get a maiden look at the antagonist jet in the movie, which is apparently engaged in a dogfight against our “good guys”. Though a 2-second clip, the silhouette of the hostile (as being judged from the trailer) aircraft gives it away like none other than Sukhoi Su-57 “Felon”, Russia’s standalone fifth-generation fighter aircraft, regarded as the most sophisticated aircraft active in the west.

Screenshot from the trailer showing Su-57 ‘Felon’
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Another interesting sighting from the same clip was that the aircraft from the cockpit of which the shot has been taken, is an F-14 “Tomcat”, twin-engine aircraft which was the megastar in the first installment but retired 20 years later, in 2006. The makers, however, confirmed that the F-14 will make a comeback in the new movie and set photos and behind-the-scenes images arriving in 2018. The Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) shown in the cockpit of the featured F-14, is Lt. Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw, the son of late Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, Maverick’s who was killed in action during Fighter Weapons School training in the 1986 movie.

Overall, the scene included in the recent trailer unveiled the new fighter, saving fans from the dilemma as there are no speculation and theories of drones and prototype aircraft featuring as adversaries.

Earlier, in 2020, officially affiliated die-cast models, produced by Matchbox started arriving, offering a closer look at the aircraft cast to feature in the movie, including F/A-18, F-14, an “Enemy Strike Jet” and even “Darkstar”. The last two were believed to be just fictional units created specifically in the movie, with a design inspired by Su-57 and SR-72 (a spy plane alleged to be in development by Lockheed Martin) concept respectively. While the first two trailers already featured Maverick flying the Darkstar for a flight test or clandestine operation, the Enemy Strike Jet speculation now appears to be sorted out.

Previously, due to a lack of proper computed graphics, or Visual Effect (VFX) technology, the makers had to rely on disguising a friendly platform as an enemy “aggressor”, which was F-5 “Tiger”, with a new designation MiG-28. Now with a big budget, high hopes, and better VFX tech available to exploit, the appearance of Russia’s stealth jet does appear genuine.

When released in 1986, Tony Scott’s “Top Gun” featuring Tom Cruise as young US naval aviator “Maverick” proved itself a sensation not just for the Hollywood industry by creating the buzz of military aviation but also for the United States air arm, by increasing the number of applicants aspiring to join the elite club of fighter pilots. It is no doubt that even when this 36-year-old movie was produced at a time when wonders of VFX were not much explored, it established itself as a benchmark for every movie maker planning to make content featuring fighter jets going head-to-head in intense dogfight scenarios. However, even in modern times when VFX has excelled itself and outperformed the traditional method of shooting explosive action, we are yet to see any title in the genre of aerial action to match the quality of classic and original Top Gun. French “Sky Fighters”, South Korean “R2B”, Pakistani “Sherdil”, Chinese “Sky Hunter”, or any other title, none managed to offer enough to the audience that their American counterpart do even today.

But now as fans are hyped to explore the continuation of Maverick’s journey in search of “Need For Speed”, and that too in just two months, it will be worth seeing what the director Joseph Kosinski will bring on the big screen. Furthermore, as the days to release come closer, we can also expect to see quite more reveals in TV spots that are likely to come on air soon.