The Navy's top admiral has access to some of the most highly-classified intelligence in the world, but not even he's gotten a sneak peek at the much-anticipated sequel to the movie "Top Gun."
Despite the Navy's significant help in producing the feature film, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday told The Virginian-Pilot he's only seen the same trailers for "Top Gun: Maverick" on YouTube as everyone else.
"I've not been privy to that yet," Gilday said during a recent visit to Norfolk. "I hope to be."
The Navy is in negotiations with Paramount Studios to get some advanced screenings of the film in "select locations" before it hits theaters June 26, according to Cmdr. Ron Flanders, spokesman for Naval Air Forces.
It's unclear how many screenings there might be or where, but there will be considerable interest in Hampton Roads. Virginia Beach is home to F/A-18 fighter squadrons like those featured in the film, as well as real-life Top Gun graduates. Also, Norfolk is home to about half of the nation's aircraft carriers.
While most aerial filming took place in training ranges in the West, a production crew spent time aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2018 off the coast of Virginia. The film crew's visit to the Lincoln coincided with training that was occurring with F-35 and F/A-18 aircraft.
When the Navy worked with other filmmakers, advanced screenings were typically held in relevant locations. Screenings for the 2018 feature film "Hunter Killer" starring Gerard Butler and Virginia-class submarines were shown locally and in Groton, Connecticut. A screening for the 2019 film "Midway" about the World War II battle was held in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The original "Top Gun" featuring Tom Cruise was a runaway success at the box office and for Navy recruiting. It inspired an entire generation of Navy fighter pilots like those based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.
The popularity of the 1986 film has endured, and lines from the movie are still commonly referenced in popular culture. Even official Air Force Twitter accounts occasionally reference the film, which is focused entirely on the Navy. The Navy is hopeful that the sequel will have a similar, mutually beneficial impact.
The newest trailer for the movie was shown before kickoff at the Super Bowl and immediately after a televised flyover by Navy fighter jets. Miles Teller, who plays the son of the original character "Goose" in the sequel, met with the real-life pilots before the big game.
Previews of the movie have also garnered tens of millions of views on YouTube.
In the sequel, Tom Cruise's character, "Maverick," is now a test pilot who is chosen to train a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a special mission.
Those pilots include the character played by Teller, whose father "Goose" in the original movie died during training.
"Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it," promotional material from Paramount Studios says.
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