Top Gun: Maverick director reveals deleted scene had major Top Gun callback

Top Gun: Maverick
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski has confirmed which scenes didn’t make the cut – including a reference to the 1986 original.

Speaking to Uproxx, Kosinski revealed an overt reference to Maverick’s mission in Top Gun was left on the cutting room floor in the legacy sequel.

"When [ Tom Cruise's Maverick] first gets to the Coronado, every Navy base has an airplane on a stick out front. Like a model, and he pulls up and looks up and it’s his F-14 that he shot down three MiGs with in the first film," Kosinski explained. "So it’s him staring up at that plane. That was a nice little beat."

Tom Cruise wasn’t the only recipient of an editing room change. Kosinski said that there was also "a nice scene in the infirmary with Cyclone and Phoenix and Bob" which was removed because "it would’ve taken a little bit of the tension away when Maverick comes in to tell Rooster they’re going to be okay" after their training exercise went badly wrong. "Maybe we’ll get to include some of that on the Blu-ray," the director added.

That’s not to say Top Gun: Maverick didn’t tug at the nostalgic heartstrings. Val Kilmer’s Iceman made an emotional return, with the actor telling USA Today he was "very moved" by the reunion. Kosinski even told our very own Inside Total Film podcast that there was one Easter egg that aimed for a callback over accuracy.

"There's a moment where Maverick in this film says, 'Too close for missiles, switching to guns,' which is almost an exact copy from the first film," he explains. "We cut to an insert of Maverick switching the switch on the thumbstick from missiles to guns – which is totally fictional. That's not how the F/A-14 is set up."

Top Gun: Maverick is all set to rule the box office for the foreseeable future, grossing close to $800m at the box office at the time of writing. Discover the blockbusters aiming to shoot it down with our movie release dates guide.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.