The Top Gun: Maverick director recently revealed that a scene nearly sparked an international incident -- but that's nothing new for Top Gun.
A Top Gun: Maverick almost caused an international incident because of the movie's ties to real-world armies -- but that's nothing new for the franchise. Both films focus on the US Navy, specifically the Navy pilots and the TOPGUN training program. Because of this, Top Gun: Maverick was scripted and produced with strong support from the Navy, and it's no surprise that it and the original Top Gun narrowly avoided conflict with other nations.
Top Gun: Maverick is the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 original, returning Tom Cruise's captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell. This time, Maverick returns to the TOPGUN program, leading a group of fresh graduates on a mission to destroy an unsanctioned uranium plant. The film Top Gun: Maverick features a variety of real-world military equipment, including naval aircraft, aircraft carriers and state-of-the-art technology, including the Lockheed Martin SR-72 Darkstar.
Top Gun: Maverick Continues A Trend With Real-World Consequences
Top Gun: Maverick opens with a thrilling action scene in which Maverick attempts to fly an experimental Darkstar jet. After discovering that the military plans to replace fighter pilots with unarmed drones, Maverick tries to prove his worth by flying the Darkstar beyond Mach 10. However, according to Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski's opening scene with a dark star almost caused an international incident.
As Kosinski explains, the Top Gun: Maverick crew decided to shoot the Darkstar sequence in "a hanger that looks really fun". But at Naval Air Station China Lake, the guide told them that was impossible. The determined crew was eventually granted permission, with the only stipulation that top-secret equipment be removed from the hangar a few days before filming. As it turned out, Kosinski spotted satellites from other countries moving to film the device. Although seemingly inconsequential, Top Gun: Maverick almost caused a major US government information breach.
Why The Navy Made Top Gun Change Its Cuban Setting
Top Gun: Maverick continues the Top Gun trend, almost causing real-world problems, since the first film also had near-misses. According to interviews with filmmakers on the Top Gun special edition DVD, the film's exciting opening dogfight was originally intended to take place over Cuba. However, the Navy suggested that the film cut scenes over international waters. This is due to heightened tensions between the United States and Cuba, where In the 1980s, the United States imposed a large number of sanctions on Cuba.
Besides sanctions, there are other issues related to Cuba that made Top Gun reluctant to include the country. At the time, the collapse of the Soviet Union meant Cuba had no supporters, and the Cuban Missile Crisis made the United States hostile to Cuba for decades to come. This is just one of many changes requested by the Navy, which is closely monitoring the film and its sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, to make Top Gun.