‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Star Set to Host Second Season of ‘How Did They Build That?’

by Taylor Cunningham

Top Gun: Maverick star Jay Ellis has signed on with The Smithsonian Channel to host the second season of How Did They Build That?

Ellis will lead audiences through a ten-part unscripted TV series that delves into the most amazing engineering projects from around the globe. The season is set to debut on July 10th.

“I’m excited to host How Did They Build That? season two and bring the work of some of the world’s most innovative architects and engineers to the forefront,” the actor said in a statement. “The series is captivating and eye-opening. Being able to hear first-hand accounts from the genius minds of these architects, and how they came up with and executed these remarkable designs is truly amazing and inspiring.”

The new casting addition will take the series into a completely new format. During its first season, which dropped in 2020, it did not have a host. And the Paramount Global-owned network hopes that Jay Ellis’ presence will bring a new slew of fans to the television.

This summer Ellis will travel the world for the series. But he will put most of the attention on American engineering feats. Some of the episodes will highlight Little Island, Hearst Tower, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Denver Art Museum, and Evergreen Point 520 Floating Bridge.

International episodes will cover La Tete Carree (France), the Guggenheim (Spain), and The Gherkin (UK).

Jay Ellis Stars as New Recruit Payback in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

In Top Gun: Maverick Ellis plays Lieutenant Reuben “Payback” Fitch, a self-doubting pilot who Maverick forces into finding a new identity.

In the film, Ellis eventually realizes that Maverick is the best instructor in the Navy. And during a chat with ET, he added that the feeling translated offscreen to actor Tom Cruise.

To prepare for filming, Cruise put his fellow castmates through an intense flight training program. That way, they could film their own stunts. To do that, he and the cast worked with the Navy and the Top Gun School. Cruise noted that the training was necessary for the film by saying, “because if we’re going to do it, we’re going to fly in the F-18s.”

According to producer Jerry Bruckheimer, in order to film those intense flight sequences, Jay Ellis and the other actors went through three months of training. And the commanders left no stones unturned.

“The Navy says if you eject, you have to be able to survive in the water,” Cruise said. “So we had to go through a challenging underwater program.”

“It’s definitely the most amazing thing I’ve ever done,” Ellis shared of the experience. “All the training 100 percent prepared us.”