Tom Cruise finally filming 'Top Gun: Maverick': Everything we know about the sequel

Thirty-two years after he achieved Hollywood superstardom with his lead turn in Tony Scott’s Top Gun, Tom Cruise is returning to the cockpit for a long-awaited follow-up dubbed Top Gun: Maverick. And on Thursday morning, he announced the beginning of production via social media, with a post sure to get fans’ hearts racing.

Tom Cruise in Top Gun. (Photo: Courtesy of Paramount)

Making good on his promise from last May to get the sequel airborne in 2018, Cruise made it clear on Instagram Thursday that Top Gun: Maverick (named after his Navy pilot protagonist’s call sign) is now officially underway, via a photo that teases the original’s most famous line:

Other than that shout-out, this initial look at Cruise in front of a fighter jet while decked out in full military gear (with “Maverick” visible on his helmet) doesn’t give much away about the forthcoming film, which will be directed by Cruise’s Oblivion collaborator Joseph Kosinski from a script by Justin Marks and Peter Craig. Plot specifics are vague at this point, although last year Variety reported that the film — which might involve the participation of Val Kilmer as Iceman — will focus on drone warfare, and how that modern technology threatens to make traditional dogfighting a thing of the past. Moreover, we know that Cruise wants to avoid using computer-generated imaging for its aerial action, and that the project has been in the works for years, as evidenced by the below tweet (from producer Jerry Bruckheimer) dating all the way back to January 2016:

With production having now begun, more substantial details should be forthcoming in the near future. Top Gun: Maverick lands in theaters on July 12, 2019 — and before that, you can next see Cruise in Mission: Impossible — Fallout on July 27.

Watch: The moment Cruise’s Mission: Impossible castmates thought he really died while shooting Fallout:

Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: