17 Callbacks to 1986’s ‘Top Gun’ to Watch for in ‘Maverick’

Warning: The following contains minor spoilers for “Top Gun: Maverick”.

If you feel the need – the need for nostalgic reminders galore – don’t fret. “Top Gun: Maverick” has you covered.

Tom Cruise is back in the cockpit as US Navy aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, 36 years after flying to stardom in the 1986 hit “Top Gun.” He is now an experimental test pilot hiding from the ghosts of his past while continuing to push boundaries, fly fighter jets and defy authority.

But Maverick is not the only one to return from the past. Along with a crop of new flying aces, it brought with it plenty of fan service and flashbacks to the original film.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski and written by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie, “Maverick” is full of that feeling of love for its predecessor. Although the sequel is isolated and in some ways – action scenes, lack of creepy behavior towards women in bars – is clearly superior to the original, “Maverick” often feels like an homage to the original. Here are some reminders you may have missed.

The film’s opening sequence may seem familiar. Watching the opening minutes of “Top Gun: Maverick,” you’d be excused for thinking you’ve wandered into a time warp. There are the title cards explaining the origin of the Navy Combat Arms School, aka Top Gun. There is the crew that prepares the planes for takeoff. There are the synths of composer Harold Faltermeyer that plunge us into nostalgia. And this font.

Kosinski says he wanted to let people know this is a “Top Gun” movie and – damn yes! – he loves the original as much as you do. (Perhaps more, given all the footage from the 1986 version that it incorporates into its sequel.)

We are still in the “danger zone”. To that end, Kenny Loggins’ hit is back in roughly the same position in the sequel as it was in the original (in that mimicked opening sequence), but not repeated as often as in the 1986 film.

Anthony Edwards as Lt. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. First released in theaters on May 16, 1986.

(Paramount Pictures/CBS via Getty Images)

Maverick still spins around San Diego on a Kawasaki motorcycle. And because he’s Maverick, he doesn’t wear a helmet. Neither did his old lady. Really, it’s more a Tom Cruise thing: he loves riding motorcycles in the movies and hates helmets, probably because if he was wearing one we wouldn’t be able to properly appreciate his Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses. and her flashy smile. Who cares if it’s the law? It’s Maverick/Tom Cruise! As he told Iceman (Val Kilmer) in the original, “I…am… dangerous.”

And he always irritates the admirals. In the first film, we learned that he misbehaved with an admiral’s daughter (more on that later). In the second, he ruffles the hair of another, played this time by Ed Harris, by disobeying orders. We don’t know about you, but when it comes to older film authorities we wouldn’t want to bother, Ed Harris is right at the top of the list.

Jennifer Connelly’s Penny Benjamin was in the original. Kind of. Connelly did not appear in “Top Gun”. But her character in the sequel, a single mother who runs a bar, takes Maverick sailing and gives him all the feels, was only referenced in the 1986 film. The first mention comes at the start of the original when Maverick is chewed for his latest hijinks and we’re told he has “a history of high-speed passes over five air traffic control towers and an admiral’s daughter!” (Wink, nudge.)

Meg Ryan as Carole.  First released in theaters on May 16, 1986.

Meg Ryan as Carole in the original “Top Gun.”

(Paramount Pictures/CBS via Getty Images)

Maverick can’t quite remember his name, so wingman Goose (Anthony Edwards) whispers it to him. Later, Goose’s wife (Meg Ryan) reveals that Goose “told me all about the time you went ballistic with Penny Benjamin.”

Another constant of the two films: Maverick does not deserve this woman in any way.

This time the romance is different. In what could be called an anti-recall, Maverick’s relationship with Penny is apparently designed to contrast his relationships with the women in the original. Back then, we saw the sexy 80s treatment, filled with music video lights and camera angles, as two hot young guys got into it. Here, the bedroom scene is post-coital, with Mav and Penny talking about life. You’ll have to be the judge of whether that says more about Maverick’s evolution or the culture’s evolution.

Jennifer Connelly in

Penny for your thoughts? Jennifer Connelly is the Admiral’s daughter only referenced in the first film that comes to life; in “Top Gun: Maverick”, Penny Benjamin has a history with Tom Cruise’s Maverick – and ownership of the bar the pilots frequent.

(Paramount Pictures)

The Top Gun Bar is back! The original filming location of the pilots’ dive bar hangout, Kansas City BBQ, is still in operation in downtown San Diego, but it’s getting a canonical update in the new film with a much larger area. spacious and penny behind the bar. This is called the Hard Deck.

And you to know Maverick still has issues with hard decks. One of Mav’s first skirmishes with authority in the original came when he violated the “hard deck” (the minimum altitude allowed) during a training exercise. Although he presumably matured in other ways for about 36 years, he didn’t address those issues in the latter. And it’s kind of funny that he didn’t, actually.

The buzz is back. One of the supposedly endearing examples of Maverick’s incorrigible Tom-foolery was his delight in buzzing control towers. It’s also back in the sequel, with an air training crash to up the stakes for Maverick’s risky business.

Val Kilmer as Lt. Tom 'Iceman' Kazansky.  First theatrical release May 16, 1986

Val Kilmer as Lt. Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky. First released in theaters on May 16, 1986.

(Paramount Pictures/CBS via Getty Images)

Don’t quit your wingman. Rule number one from the original movie is also rule number one from the sequel – a lesson that comes back decades later with big emotional payoff.

The Iceman returns. Kilmer is back as Maverick’s former rival-turned-winger, in a touching appearance that will leave many in the mist of eyes. After working his way up to Admiral, Tom “Iceman” Kazansky is now Mav’s only high-ranking friend in the Navy – and, ironically, the only person whose advice he could listen to. He is also the only original supporting cast member to appear in the sequel. Well, him and an F-14.

Incidentally, the famous moment when Ice and Mav cement their friendship also has a clear callback in the sequel, but to be specific about it would be saying too much.

Goose didn’t leave. Maverick’s best friend, who died while flying with Mav in the first, casts a shadow over the sequel. Whether it’s in many of the original’s photos or the main conflict between Maverick and Rooster, Goose’s son (played by Miles Teller), Goose’s ghost haunts the house. You could say his spirit almost possesses Rooster, who practically cosplays his dad, complete with tan highlights, a Hawaiian shirt, aviator sunglasses and that signature ‘stache’.

“Talk to me, Goose.” The first line from the original movie, which makes more sense at the end of this story, comes up several times in the sequel. We hear it first during the thrilling test flight sequence that’s the new movie’s inciting action, and then it pops up later in strategic locations – perhaps more effectively in a slightly modified form.

Big balls of fire, Goose is all over this thing. Remember that moment in “Top Gun” when Goose did his best Jerry Lee Lewis on the piano standing in a restaurant, singing “Great Balls of Fire” with Maverick as the future Rooster sat on the instrument? How could you forget – your ears are probably still bleeding. Well, that moment is back, bigger than ever, in the sequel. And while his group of shouts can barely be called singing, it does provide Mr. Cruise with a good acting moment.

Miles Teller (center) plays the piano in

Large scoops of deja vu: Miles Teller (center) in one of many scenes from ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ that recalls the original film. Also pictured: Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman and Jay Ellis.

(Paramount Pictures)

Bad behavior at the bar is rewarded in class. In the original, a brash young pilot gets a little too personal (well, nagging and disrespectful) with someone at a bar, only to find out the next morning in front of the class, much to their embarrassment, that this person is their Top Instructor. Gun? This time around, some brash young pilots also find themselves blushing at their previous night’s behavior in class, though the overtones aren’t quite as problematic.

When it comes to beach sports, they still don’t care. Pseudo shirtless beach soccer is the new shirtless beach volleyball! And “I Ain’t Worried,” the perfect track for a small One Republic beer commercial, really, really wants to be Kenny Loggins’ new “Playing with the Boys” — it even has its own billboards in Los Angeles. .

Lady Gaga will take your breath away. With a powerful, epic ballad fueled by enough female ferocity to offset the macho energy of “Top Gun: Maverick,” Gaga delivers a thunderous new earworm with her end-credits theme song. Its lyrics are more about emotional vulnerability and human connection (“So cry tonight / But don’t you let go of my hand”) than the sensual desire of the Berlin Oscar-winning “Take My Breath Away”, written by an Italian synth legend Giorgio Moroder. But in a bomber jacket and aviators, Gaga makes her own nods to the past, paying homage to Berlin’s Terri Nunn walking through a fighter jet graveyard with her own music video that has already racked up more than 17 million seen…before anyone had seen it. the film.

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