Controversy has erupted online over Tom Cruise’s jacket in the Top Gun: Maverick trailer. The actor was a surprise guest at the Paramount Comic-Con panel last Thursday, where he unveiled the first trailer for the highly anticipated sequel. Overall, the first footage relies heavily on nostalgia and has a lot of familiar scenery along with teases of the iconic theme song.
One of the scenes from the Maverick trailer seems to have gotten more attention than others and it has to do with Cruise’s iconic leather jacket and some changes that have been made to it.
The Top Gun: Maverick trailer reveals two patches on Maverick’s jacket that had originally featured the Japanese and Taiwanese flags. They have been swapped out and replaced with two generic symbols in the same color scheme. Some social media users believe this was done to avoid alienating Chinese authorities and fans. It has been revealed that China’s Tencent is co-financing the sequel and some are speculating the patch swap to be pandering to Beijing. Taiwan and Japan, represented in the original patches, don’t have the best relationship with Beijing. Journalist Mark MacKinnon had this to say.
“There’s a new Top Gun movie coming out. And Maverick is wearing the same leather jacket – only this time it’s Communist Party of China-approved, so the Japanese and Taiwanese flag patches are gone (screenshot on right is from the new trailer)…”
China’s Tencent is also a part owner of Skydance, which is co-producing Top Gun: Maverick with Paramount. Hollywood has generally avoided subjects that might offend Beijing authorities or certain segments of the Chinese audience. China has become a huge market for Hollywood over the years. For instance, Avengers: Endgame, which is now the highest grossing movie of all time, made $614.3 million in China alone. The movie has made $854.2 million domestically in comparison.
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While some people are under the impression Top Gun: Maverick is pandering to China, there may be another reason for the switch in patches. Those original patches were from Maverick’s father’s “Far East Cruise 63-4.” The new patch says, “85-86” along with “Indian Ocean Cruise.” This is the area where the dogfights took place in the original Top Gun movie, so this seems to point at Maverick’s own accomplishments. This does not explain the new designs though. Perhaps Paramount will comment on the decision.
Regardless of leather jacket patches, Top Gun: Maverick was easily the biggest trailer of San Diego Comic-Con this year. The response has been overwhelmingly positive from fans who have been waiting over 30 years to see Tom Cruise return to the Maverick role. There’s healthy doses of nostalgia mixed in with state-of-the-art camera work for the fire jet scenes. Cruise is definitely trying to get as many fans as he can to see the sequel on the big screen with the first footage. You can check out what Mark MacKinnon’s Twitter account noticed about the jacket changes below.