With the Super Bowl just around the corner and rumours of a TV spot premiering during the coveted event, the producers of Top Gun: Maverick  think it’s a good time to meet the six recruits who’ll be flying with Tom Cruise’s  Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, in the upcoming sequel.

With the exception of Miles Teller’s Lt Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw — aka the son of the original movie’s Goose (Anthony Edwards), Maverick’s wingman — the other characters are only known by their call signs.

In an Entertainment Weekly interview, director Joseph Kosinski says the relationship between  Rooster (the Bradshaws sure love poultry) and Maverick “forms the emotional core and spine of the film.” “It was really one of the key reasons Tom felt like that now this is the time to go back and do this.”

Another familiar face returning in the sequel is Maverick’s old rival, Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky, again played by Val Kilmer. “The rivalry and relationship between Iceman and Maverick is one of those things that makes that first film so iconic,” said Kosinski.

“It’s a relationship that is important to the Top Gun franchise and as a fan I would want to see how it’s evolved,” he added. In the interview, the director also mentioned the gruelling training the actors underwent, which you can get a taste in this featurette.

Here are the six new aviators Maverick will be mentoring in Top Gun: Maverick.