WATCH: Tom Cruise Flies by Helicopter to San Diego’s ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Premiere – NBC San Diego

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San Diego went full-throttle Wednesday when the long-awaited "Top Gun" sequel premiered aboard the USS Midway Museum.

"Top Gun: Maverick" is making its debut 36 years after the original film spotlighted San Diego's Naval aviators who had a "need for speed," competing to become the best in their class at the elite fighter weapons school in Miramar, San Diego.

A red carpet rolled out on the Naval aircraft carrier-turned-museum for what was a star-studded premiere. Members of the cast in attendance included Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell and Lewis Pullman, as well as director Joe Kosinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Photos: ‘Top Gun: Maverick Red Carpet Event at USS Midway Museum

A lucky group of fans secured tickets to the event before they sold out in minutes, but Paramount also live streamed the event across about 150 YouTube channels.

NBC 7 San Diego was there as Tom Cruise flew in by helicopter, landing right on the flight deck. He took off from the USS Nimitz after attending a special screening at NAS North Island for the military and their families.

Afterward, the stars began making their way down the red carpet. NBC 7 asked them about their experience working in San Diego.

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"It was incredible to just be surrounded by the energy of the military. You don't have to do as much pretending when you're around the people you're representing," said Monica Barbara, who plays Pheonix in the movie.

Tom Cruise is back in San Diego for a red carpet event on the USS Midway for the premiere of 'Top Gun: Maverick!

"I'm just amazed at how committed they are at every task," said Charles Parnell who plays Adm. Solomon "Warlock" Bates. "For instance, if you are lost on the ship, they don't say, 'Go that way,' they say, 'I'll take you there.'"

Nearly four years ago, NBC 7 cameras spotted the "Top Gun" team filming portions of the film outside Naval Air Station North Island, and there are sure to be other recognizable locations in the film. San Diego, like the original, plays a starring role.

"Coming back to where they shot the original — it’s iconic and that’s why we’re doing the premiere here," said Teller, who plays Rooster in the film. "Honestly, it really is. San Diego — Miramar — it’s like a character in the film itself, so couldn’t be happier to be down here.”

"Top Gun: Maverick" actors Miles Teller (Rooster), Monica Barbaro (Phoenix), Jay Ellis (Payback) and director Joe Kosinski were in San Diego ahead of the movie's premiere at the USS Midway Museum and sat down with NBC 7's Audra Stafford to discuss the city and the military community that inspired the film.

"'Top Gun,' you know, is San Diego," said Kosinski, the film's director. "The world of 'Top Gun' is the beach and the sunsets and so it was important that, you know, just as Maverick is going back to Top Gun in the film, we wanted to take the audience back to the world of 'Top Gun.' So, San Diego seemed like the perfect place.”

San Diego's military community not only makes appearances in the movie, but also helped train the cast to withstand the same G-forces as real fighter pilots, since many of the stunts were filmed live and without the use of computer graphics.

The sure-to-be blockbuster film was set to premiere in 2020 but was delayed repeatedly by the coronavirus pandemic. But fans of the original "Top Gun" will say it was worth the wait.

The film follows Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Cruise) as he trains a group of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it. During the training, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Teller), the son of Maverick's late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka "Goose."

"Top Gun: Maverick" lands in theaters on May 27.

NBC 7 reporter Joe Little searches for Tom Cruise who was rumored to be shooting the sequel to Top Gun in Coronado on Monday.

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