Top Gun 2: Why Tom Cruise Wasn't Allowed To Fly An F-18 Fighter Jet

Although he pilots several different aircraft in Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise was denied clearance by the U.S. Navy to fly the F-18 jet.

Throughout Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise’s character Pete “Maverick” Mitchell pilots multiple aircraft, but the US Navy forbade the actor from piloting the F-18 Super Hornet. Set for release, after several bumps in its schedule, on May 27, 2022, Joseph Kosinski’s sequel to the original 1986 hit movie Top Gun promises unmatched and unforgettable aerial combat scenes. The movie has also prioritized practical effects over CGI, adding authenticity to the action. While Cruise is renowned for performing his own stunts for many of his movies, some of the tricks proposed for Top Gun: Maverick were a little too ambitious, even by Cruise’s standards.

In an interview with Empire, Tom Cruise said he told Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer that he agreed to return as Maverick with one stipulation: “I said to Jerry [Bruckheimer], ‘I’ll do it if…’ meaning, I’m not going to do the CGI stuff.” In other words, Cruise signed on for the project only with Bruckheimer’s agreement that the film’s effects not be reliant on hokey-looking CGI. Cruise was so ambitious, in fact, that he had initially hoped to fly a real Boeing F-18 fighter jet. A certified pilot, Cruise is well-accustomed to high-octane aviation stunts. Many Cruise fans will already be aware that many of the more impressive helicopter stunts in 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout were performed by Cruise. However, Bruckheimer maintains that the US Navy ultimately denied Cruise’s requests to fly the Super Hornet, which boasts a price tag in excess of $70 million.

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