‘Top Gun: Maverick’: Editor Reveals Why the Sequel Almost Had a Different Opening Sequence

by Megan Molseed

We’ve all waited a long time for Top Gun: Maverick to finally hit theaters. This highly anticipated sequel to the 1986 film, Top Gun, is bringing in both longtime fans of the film and new audiences who are just now getting to know Tom Cruise’s classic character on the big screen.

When fans of the original film sat in the theaters to catch Maverick over the last few days after the film was released, they got a healthy dose of nostalgia. Top Gun: Maverick’s opening sequence is an awesome homage to the original film. A moment that surely brings a smile to the faces of many. However, one of the editors working on the film notes that this opening sequence almost didn’t make it onto the film’s final cut.

It Took A Lot Of Planning – And Editing – To Get This Top Gun: Maverick Opening Sequence Just Right

According to one of the film’s editors Eddie Hamilton, the plan was initially that the opening sequence would be exactly what it is.

“Tom always said we had to start the film the same way with Harold Faltermeyer’s opening and then Danger Zone,” Hamilton explains adding that it was one of the first scenes shot.

“They went on to the USS George Washington in July 2018 and they shot for five days,” Hamilton explains.

“I had over 15 hours of footage activity on deck and that was the first thing I did,” the editor relates. “Break it down and build that opening montage.”

Hamilton adds that the only difference in this scene was that it includes men and women…the first film only included men. Then, Hamilton says, the film crew and Tom Cruise went to another aircraft to film the actor launching off in an aircraft. “I had more shots of people doing thumbs up,” the editor says. “And catapults being loaded and people saluting.

At One Point The Film Explored A More Emotional Opening Sequence

The opening sequence that made it into the film was spot-on for fans of the movie. However, Hamilton says, there was almost a different take on this moment. Hamilton says that they considered a sequence where the cameras would “leave the deck activity and go underneath the deck”

Hamilton notes that we would then see Maverick as he gazes out to sea.

“He would say, ‘Talk to me, Goose,'” Hamilton explains. “In a way, that was us kind of catching up with the beginning of the third act.”

However, this felt like “too much of a downer.” And, the editor says, it was confusing to some audiences. “People were like, ‘Wait, is this as a flashback? What is it?’”

So, the filmmakers scrapped this idea and decided to fade to black in the beginning with “that nice aerial shot of the aircraft carrier,” Hamilton says. “Then we take a moment and fade up on Mav.”

An opening, the editor says, that spoke volumes to the film’s audiences.

“This opening was important that everyone who loved Top Gun, sat down in the theater, and immediately felt like we really cared about their experience,” the editor explains. “That we were treating the original movie with respect, and honoring Tony Scott.”