Top Gun: Maverick was a work of passion for Joseph Kosinski. He had to retain some of the previous film’s enchantment and bring back favorite characters while balancing the script’s new, more serious tone.
He traveled to aircraft ships and other areas. He also got too near to Navy secrets. Kosinski talked about working with Val Kilmer, stunts, and having the actor’s film themselves in the planes. The hypersonic Darkstar plane that Maverick tests flies — and obliterates at high speeds — in the opening prologue was inspired by genuine aircraft in development and resembled Lockheed’s upcoming SR-72. According to director Jerry Bruckheimer, the full-sized fake plane made for Top Gun: Maverick was so lifelike that China apparently repositioned spy satellites to attempt and photograph it.