Tom Cruise flies onto aircraft carrier to launch new 'Top Gun' movie

STORY: Cruise, who is no stranger to stunts, arrived via helicopter onto the retired Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego, California, Wednesday (May 4).

'Top Gun: Maverick' was originally scheduled for release in July 2019 but was initially delayed because of production issues. Then its release was pushed back numerous times because of the global pandemic.

Speaking at the premiere, Cruise said, "I'm seeing faces again. This is humanity back, you know, and it's an honor to be here for me."

The sequel returns 36 years after the iconic first film, which saw Cruise propelled to superstardom.

Although rumored to be having a sequel for decades, Cruise only agreed to sign on when he was happy with all the elements.

Speaking to Reuters, he said, "I wanted the audience to know you're in safe hands, but it's also, how do you measure how much is too much? We're not going to do a cover of the first one. It has to have its own story."

He added, "Doing the second one was incredibly daunting, make no mistake about it, but it was also artistically very fascinating to do because you're constantly going... measuring how and what's going to work and what's working and it was really interesting. It was challenging, and I like a challenge."

In the film, Maverick (Cruise) is forced into teaching a new generation of fighter pilots, including Bradley 'Rooster' Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of his best friend Go

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