‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is finally coming to theaters — and Russia may be the villain

Maverick is still, presumably, in the danger zone
Max Hauptman Avatar
Top Gun screenshot
(Screenshot via YouTube)

Like many a Pentagon project, the much anticipated “Top Gun” sequel has seen its fair share of delays. Originally scheduled for a summer 2019 release, that soon became summer 2020, then 2021, and eventually our current year of 2022. But with a new trailer dropping today, it seems like Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, now a Captain, is actually making a return to theaters this summer. 

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The trailer opens establishing Maverick’s, well, maverick bonafides. He’s still a Captain, despite pushing 40 years of service in the Navy, still a pilot and still cruising the flight line on his Kawasaki. 

(Screenshot via YouTube)

He’s got a final mission though, at the behest of Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, now an Admiral. Iceman, Maverick’s old buddy and sparring partner in aviation safety and chomping, is now head of the Pacific Fleet.

(Screenshot via YouTube)

There is apparently a new mission, though, going “against combat, on a level no living pilot’s ever seen.” Where this combat takes place? There are no spoilers here, but it seems to be someplace mountainous and snowy. Could this enemy be China? North Korea?

(Screenshot via YouTube)

Some reporting after the first Top Gun: Maverick trailer noted that the patches on Maverick’s bomber jacket had been updated to remain more compatible with the Chinese movie market. The flags of Japan and Taiwan? Gone, although Maverick’s sartorial choices could certainly have evolved in the intervening 35 years.

The first Top Gun movie revolves around Maverick’s encounters with the Mig-28 fighter, a fictional aircraft standing in for the best of what the  Soviet air force had to offer.

Who Exactly Was The Bad Guy In ‘Top Gun’?

Some early drafts of the first movie had the enemy as North Korea, and the engagements have some similarities to the Navy’s multiple engagements with Libyan aircraft throughout the 1980s. But it’s ultimately left unresolved. Much like their black helmets and opaque goggles, the origin of these pilots remains vague and unknowing. 

From this trailer, though, we see what looks like at least one shot of a Su-57 “Felon,” Russia’s next-generation stealth fighter. 

(Screenshot via Youtube)

The Navy pilots also seem to be flying into a swarm of Cold War-era Soviet-made S-125 low-level surface-to-air missiles.

We do know that Maverick’s love of beach sports while clad in denim remains.

(Screenshot via YouTube)

So is this new mission against Russia? Some kind of snowy, mountain-bound country that operates Russian equipment and will remain unnamed? The answer will, barring another global pandemic, come this Memorial Day weekend. 

Watch the latest Top Gun: Maverick trailer below:

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