The wait is nearly over. After 36 years, the follow-up to Tom Cruise’s Top Gun (1986) movie is finally landing. It’s rare for a sequel to hit theatres so long after the original, but Top Gun: Maverick (2022) has struggled with setbacks and unexpected turbulence.
With its trailer airing three years ago and a release date originally set for July 2019, it’s now tentatively set for take-off on May 27 - just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.
The popularity of Top Gun
The original Top Gun film hit the ground running, quickly catapulting its way to No. 1 at the box office. Ending the year of its release as the highest-grossing film, it took in 177 million dollars in the U.S. alone and 356 million dollars worldwide.
From its memorable catchphrases (“I feel the need…the need for speed”) to the heart-pounding aerial action, it continues to loom large in pop culture. Like Rocky (1977) for boxers or Wall Street (1987) for stockbrokers, Top Gun has come to define fighter pilots.
On one side, it’s brilliantly cheesy with soppy power ballads and over-the-top machismo, yet still ejecting serious themes of redemption, love, bromance, and tragedy.
Not only did the film make Cruise a bona fide action movie star, but the U.S. Navy also state the film's popularity resulted in a 500% increase in the number of recruits wanting to enter their aviation program.
Smoking scenes in Top Gun
Smoking is enjoying a renaissance on the silver screen. Cigarettes and cigars were all but stubbed out in films by the turn of the century, but there’s no denying the clout a simple puff of smoke can bring to a scene. It’s especially synonymous with the black-and-white era of cinema – who can forget John Wayne on horseback enjoying his stogie in the opening scene of Chisum (1970)?
In recent times, iconic movies such as Scarface (1984) and Pulp Fiction (1994) have used cigars to memorable effect. Of course, we can add the first Top Gun movie to this list.
Smoking is prominent throughout its one hour and 50 minutes of action-packed drama. During the first briefing, Lieutenant Charles Piper (known as Chipper) is smoking a cigarette. The cigarette disappears in the next shot, and both his hands are clasped together just under his knee.
Commander Tom “Stinger” Jordan is often chomping on a cigar while aboard the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier. One notable scene sees him spew cigar smoke into Maverick’s face before he scrutinizingly replies “Top Gun!?”, after Maverick expresses that he’s contemplated becoming an instructor.
Towards the end of the movie, after the final dogfight with the MiG-28s, the squadron commanding officer (CO) comes into the pilots' locker room with a lit stub of a cigar to inform Maverick that he can choose his next assignment. During the scene, the cigar becomes significantly longer. When the CO departs, the cigar is a stub again.
Does Tom Cruise smoke cigars?
The Hollywood star has been nicknamed the cigar amigo on several occasions. Throughout the 1990s in particular (during his marriage to Nicole Kidman), Cruise’s infatuation with cigars reached new heights. So much so that when he filmed Jerry Maguire (1996), he requested scenes be shot at the famous Grand Havana Room in LA.
Cuban-style stogies are believed to be his favorite, with the three-time Golden Globe winner reportedly once implementing a standing order for Cohiba cigars with tobacconists in Geneva and London. They’re known for their unique extra fermentation process with wooden barrels, subtle sweetness, and wonderful array of flavors.
Cigars to smoke while watching Top Gun: Maverick
After spending almost four decades circling in anticipation, Top Gun fans at long last get to encounter a perfect storm of nostalgia and full-throttle action. As cigar smoking plays a large part in the original (and we expect the sequel), the only way you can truly enjoy Top Gun: Maverick is with a cigar in hand. It’s what Goose, et al., would have wanted.
We’ve offered a few smoking suggestions to take your viewing experience to the next level.
Choose Cohiba, and go regal with the Cohiba Royale Robusto Royale. Created with the cigar connoisseur in mind, it screams luxury from the outset with its Nicaraguan sun-grown wrapper from the Jalapa valley and eye-catching red and silver band. Once you’ve put fire to foot, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious flavor profile of espresso, earth, black cherries, and chocolate.
It only seems fitting to conclude with lyrics from Kenny Loggins’ 1986 song Danger Zone that early on sets the tone of the original Top Gun. Curiously, the words could even be interpreted as an analogy of smoking cigars - “Anywhere where I burn to be/the further on the edge/the hotter the intensity.”
If you need a smoke to rival Top Gun’s thrills, speed, and extreme G’s of air-to-air combat, visit your nearest Casa de Montecristo lounge and speak to one of our knowledgeable tobacconists.