Top Gun 2 is now deep into production and shooting has moved to the Lake Tahoe area for a somewhat puzzling series of action scenes with Cruise fully outfitted for flight while running around in the snow.
See Details: Tom Cruise Runs In Flight Suit through the snow in Lake Tahoe for intense Top Gun 2 scenes
Four interesting things surfaced:
- Tom Cruise as “Maverick” photographed in flight costume running through the woods in snowy Lake Tahoe during filming- along with what looks like an old Eastern Bloc tank.
- Earlier photos show a sweaty Tom Cruise in real U.S. Navy flight gear (not costume) at the crew ladder of an F/A-18 after what may have been an orientation flight from NAS China Lake.
- Photos of Cruise in Tahoe show him climbing around an old F-14.
- And most interestingly, photos have surfaced of the special paint scheme F/A-18F nose number “00” with Maverick’s name on it flying through Star Wars Canyon suggesting the area may be featured in the upcoming movie.
The F-14 Tomcat that was towed into the Tahoe area was indeed intended for the production, with shots emerging of Cruise and the production crew crawling over the retired fighter as it sits in what appears to be a military-like hardened aircraft shelter. The photos are quite nostalgic as it is the first time we have seen a Tomcat being part of the production in any way, let alone one that Cruise is hands-on with.
The second set of photos from the Lake Tahoe location are more interesting. They show Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell running around in the snowy forests of the Lake Tahoe wilderness wearing full flight gear. Other photos that showed up on Instagram from the same set show what appears to be a movie prop Russian or Chinese tank. Moreover, “Mav” is using his old HGU-33 helmet.
A series of photos showed Tom Cruise wearing actual U.S. Navy flight gear as he chatted with what appears to be a senior officer while a maintenance man with hearing protection is servicing an F/A-18 Hornet. The second photo in the series shows the specially painted black/blue two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet
Two F/A-18F two-seat Super Hornets at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake flown by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 31 (VX-31) the “Dust Devils”:
About a week after the first photos showed up of the special paint scheme “00” nose number F/A-18F Super Hornet with black and blue markings and “Maverick” on the cockpit rails, photographer Paul Massey of Manchester, England caught images of the same aircraft flying through Star Wars Canyon in Death Valley, California. Massey posted the photos on Twitter and on his excellent website, lowflyimages.com. He was kind enough to allow us to share them. The appearance of the Top Gun painted F/A-18F Super Hornet in the Canyon seems to reinforce rumors that Star Wars Canyon will be a location for “Top Gun: Maverick”.
With the volume of social media images surfacing from the set of “Top Gun: Maverick” you have to wonder if some of the “leaks” are intentional.