‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Director Speaks Out About the Movie’s Enemy

by Samantha Whidden

Although the key enemy was never officially identified in Top Gun: Maverick, director Joseph Kosinski opens up about the undisclosed villains.

“We had that great guidance from the first movie,” the Top Gun: Maverick director explained to the New York Times. “It’s this faceless, nameless bad guy, which is perfect because, again, we didn’t want to make a movie about politics.”

The Top Gun: Maverick filmmaker further explained that the audience couldn’t really connect the villain to actual real-world enemies. “The mirrored, masked pilots Laos contribute to this feeling of this being a little bit in an alternate reality. That was a fun exercise as a director, to create a non-traceable enemy.”

Spoiler Alert for those who haven’t seen the film. Los Angeles Times previously reported that the villain in Top Gun: Maverick is described to the pilots as being a “rogue nation.” The enemy possesses a fleet of fifth-generation fighter planes. They were also attempting to enrich uranium to develop nuclear weapons. This was taking place at a fortified site hidden in forbidding mountainous terrain. 

In an effort to stop the nameless enemy, Top Gun: Maverick’s Pete Mitchell was brought in to train a group of the “best of the best”. They have to go and take care of the situation. During his more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Mitchell continues to dodge advancement in rank in order to avoid being grounded. 

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Director Reveals How He Convinced Tom Cruise to Return for the Sequel 

While speaking to Polygon earlier this summer, Top Gun: Maverick director Joe Kosinski spoke about how he managed to get quickly get Tom Cruise to return for the highly anticipated sequel. 

“So I read the script, I had some ideas, and Jerry [Bruckheimer] liked those ideas,” the Top Gun: Maverick filmmaker explained. “He said, ‘You know what, you gotta go pitch this to Tom [Cruise] directly.’”

The Top Gun: Maverick director decided to approach Cruise in Paris as he filmed the latest Mission: Impossible film. “We got about a half hour of his time between setups. And I basically had 30 minutes to pitch this film, which I didn’t realize when we were flying over.”

However, Kosinski admitted that Cruise wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of doing a Top Gun sequel. “It’s one of those moments as a direct, you have one on every film,” he explained. “Where you’re on the spot to make a case for why this movie should be made. I had 30 minutes to do it.”

Those 30 minutes were a huge key part of the film’s process, Kosinski shared. “At the end of the pitch, [Cruise] picked up the phone, he called the head of Paramount Pictures and said, ‘We’re making another Top Gun.’ It’s pretty impressive to see the power of a real movie star in that moment.”