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SYFY WIRE Top Gun: Maverick

'Top Gun: Maverick' nigh-impossible third act mission was conceived by the actual U.S. Navy

If you want the scariest mission possible, ask the guys who actually go on the missions.

By Josh Weiss
Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick

When in doubt about your Hollywood blockbuster, turn to the experts! During a recent Zoom interview with SYFY WIRE, screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff revealed that the ultra-freezing air in Roland Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow was based on a hypothetical, albeit entirely feasible, scenario concocted by a veteran scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Something similar took place amidst the production of Top Gun: Maverick, whose nigh-impossible third act mission (the time-sensitive bombing of an underground uranium enrichment plant guarded by surface-to-air missiles and fifth generation fighter jets) came directly from the good folks currently employed by the United States Navy.

"The whole third act sequence, actually the whole movie, the structure of the movie, the whole mission that they go on, all came from a conversation we had with them about what is the most difficult, gnarliest, scariest mission you could ever imagine being put on as an aviator? And that is it," director Joseph Kosinski — who previously worked with Tom Cruise on 2013's Obliviontold Collider.

The Navy also suggested that the daring set piece take place at night for added danger, but Kosinski didn't think it would carry the same impact if the audience was forced to watch the entire run through night vision technology.

"I said, 'We'll do it at dawn. It'll look much better,'" he explained. "But yeah, without the Navy helping us not only in the script and providing us with all the fun toys, every sequence that you see in there is flown by a Naval aviator or real Top Gun pilots are flying the jets. So, what you're seeing is real Naval aviation, which is pretty amazing."

While the original Top Gun (helmed by the late Tony Scott) faced pushback and skepticism from the government, things could not have been more different with the long-awaited sequel. "The people that are in power at the Navy, the admirals and people of that level, a lot of them joined the Navy because of Top Gun," Kosinski added. "So, yes, once we described the movie we wanted to make and how we were going to make it, how we wanted to make it, they were very, very helpful and instrumental and invaluable."

Top Gun: Maverick is now streaming on Paramount+.

Looking for more blockbusters that will make your spirit soar? True Lies, NOPE, Speed, Night at the Museum, and The Legend of Tarzan are all streaming on Peacock alongside plenty of other classics.