(USA TODAY) - We've all got the need for "Top Gun: Maverick."

Tom Cruise returns to his role as hotshot pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in one year, screaming into theaters on July 12, 2019.

Talk about the much-anticipated sequel to 1986's "Top Gun" exploded last year when Cruise announced, "It's definitely happening."

But details about director Joseph Kosinski's film have been maddeningly difficult to come by, even for Martin Blair, who owns the Kansas City Barbeque restaurant in San Diego where key scenes from the original were shot.

"We only hear different snippets – they are filming here or there," Blair says. "There's so much interest. People have been talking about this for decades, and it's finally happening."

Here's what we know so far:

Filming has started, stopped and resumes in September

Cruise, 56, tapped into his 23-year-old Tom Terrific self, signaling on May 30 that filming had begun with a Twitter post featuring the Ray-Bans, the Maverick helmet and a #Day1 "Feel the need" message.

The Department of Defense, no less, confirmed that "Maverick" was shooting at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

After two days of filming away from prying eyes, Cruise jetted off to promote "Mission: Impossible – Fallout" around the world. Shooting resumes in September.

Cruise summed up the story to E! News: "It's about a guy who flies jets."

Maverick will team up with Goose's son

"Top Gun" focused on risk-taking pilot Maverick and his family-oriented wingman, Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards). The bromance ended tragically, with Bradshaw dying after ejecting from their stalled jet.

The new film will feature Maverick, now a flight instructor, mentoring Goose's grown son (we caught glimpses of the boy in the first movie during the "Great Balls of Fire" performance in the barbecue joint).

News of the intense auditions for the coveted role leaked out. Miles Teller beat out a field that included actors Glen Powell and Nicholas Hoult.

Already showing he's following in Cruise's footsteps, Teller tweeted, "I feel the need ..." to confirm the casting.

While there are no points for second place, Powell's Twitter reaction after losing out was pretty fantastic.

Iceman makes a return

Cruise's main "Top Gun" adversary, Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer), will be back. Kilmer, who has battled throat cancer, has been playfully campaigning to face off with Cruise on social media and was spotted in "Maverick" headquarters in San Diego.

Kilmer, 58, confirmed the news on Facebook, saying he was "officially in the sequel." He even hinted at a fan's request to see a replay of the infamous beach volleyball game.

"I can’t comment on the screenplay, but we all know what we want to see!" Kilmer wrote.

Cruise told "Extra" July 11 that working with his former screen rival was “special," adding that Kilmer is in good health. “He’s doing really well.”

Cruise also teased a "Top Gun 2" volleyball game. “There could be a beach scene," Cruise told "E.T." on July 12. "That's all I can tell you."

Maverick is gunning the bike, but it's a new one

Cruise was spotted by TMZ riding a motorcycle on the air base "Maverick" set. So watch out for a homage to this classic scene.


Maverick has traded in his Kawasaki GPZ900R for a Ninja H2R. List price: $55,000.

As the motorcycle enthusiast site Ride Apart noted, "Maybe Cruise's character also got a pay raise?"