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The Navy loves Tom Cruise, is letting him film the latest ‘Mission Impossible’ on an aircraft carrier

It's a relationship that keeps on giving.
Nicholas Slayton Avatar
nato aircraft carrier operations mediterranean sea 2
The Italian Navy aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (CVH 550), the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), and the Spanish Navy amphibious assault ship-aircraft carrier ESPS Juan Carlos I (LHD 61) sail in formation during multicarrier operations in the Adriatic Sea, Feb. 24, 2023. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samuel Wagner)

Tom Cruise just cannot get enough of naval life. And apparently the U.S. Navy can’t get enough of Tom Cruise. After bringing back Pete “Maverick” Mitchell for one last flight in last year’s Top Gun: Maverick, Cruise is once again climbing aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, just not as a naval aviator.

Variety reported that Cruise is filming the eighth Mission Impossible film onboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea. Antonio Parente, the head of the Apulia Film Commission in Italy, told Variety that Cruise was heading to a carrier, “which is probably the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush, but we are not sure,” to film flight sequences for the movie.

As of press time, Task & Purpose has not heard back yet from the Navy about what specific carrier Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part Two is filming on.

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The USS George HW Bush would be the fourth aircraft carrier a Tom Cruise film has shot footage on. The original Top Gun used the USS Enterprise as the carrier in the film’s beginning and end. For the sequel, the opening sequence showing flight crews at work and planes launching was filmed on the USS Abraham Lincoln. For the final mission, Maverick and his fellow aviators deployed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. 

Despite its reputation for big action and stunts, the Mission Impossible franchise has not significantly incorporated U.S. military elements. At least until these two upcoming films. The trailer for the upcoming seventh film, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One shows Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys in action — the Marine Corps initially made such participation public before removing the notice — and that looks to increase with the eighth film.

There is both a military element and aviation role in the upcoming Mission Impossible films. Actor Nick Offerman is set to play the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in both Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One and the eighth film. Alongside this aircraft carrier footage, behind the scenes elements shared by Dead Reckoning director Christopher McQuarrie have seen Cruise both flying and standing on the side of a World War I-era biplane while it’s midair. Plot details on both films are thin, but the military is at least a major player of equipment in the movies.

The USS George HW Bush is currently sailing through European waters. The carrier and its support group were in the Adriatic Sea recently, taking part in NATO Vigilance Activity Neptune Strike 2023-1, which featured more than 30 vessels. The operation saw the George HW Bush sail alongside carriers from Italy and Spain, among other ships.

MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters assigned to the USS George HW Bush recently deployed to Turkey to help with relief efforts following the devastating earthquake there last month, which has killed at least 45,000 people.

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One is in theaters July 14, 2023. The eighth film is currently filming and due for release in 2024. 

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