Top Gun sequel: Did Chinese producer censor flags on Tom Cruise’s jacket?

by WorldTribune Staff, July 21, 2019

Some observers noted that, in the first trailer for Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the ’80s classic Top Gun, the patches on the iconic leather jacket worn by Maverick, portrayed by Tom Cruise, no longer bear the Taiwanese and Japanese flags.

Mark MacKinnon, senior international correspondent for The Globe and Mail, tweeted: “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”

Maverick’s jacket from Top Gun, left, and Top Gun: Maverick

Paramount debuted the trailer on July 18.

A report by the Japan Times noted that the movie is being produced, in part, by Tencent Pictures, a Chinese film distributor and production company.

Some are speculating that the Chinese Communist Party intervened and had the flags of Japan and Taiwan removed from Maverick’s jacket since the CCP has final say over any projects Tencent invests in.

“Beijing wields an ever-growing amount of influence over how it is depicted in movies Americans make and watch and has pushed for the portrayal in films and other media of a friendlier, less menacing image of China,” the Japan Times noted.

In a notable example, in 2010 the script for the re-make of Red Dawn was leaked to the media. The leaked script featured China instead of the Soviet Union as invaders of the continental U.S. Chinese state-run media slammed the script’s attempts to “demonize” Beijing. In the end, MGM spent some $1 million digitally erasing evidence of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, frame by frame, and substituting in North Koreans and Russians.

China and Japan “have long had a tumultuous relationship, and though bilateral ties have improved in recent months, the two wartime enemies continue to have grievances over historical and territorial issues,” the Japan Times noted.

“As for self-governed and democratic Taiwan, Beijing calls the island one of its ‘core interests’ and views the island nation as a renegade province that must be brought back into the fold — by force if necessary.”

While some said the missing flags were the result of an attempt to placate China or a demand by the communist party, others said the move was likely due to changes in the storyline for the sequel.

According to the original movie, the original jacket patch is from Maverick’s father’s Vietnam tour. The new patch appears to say “85-86” with the words “Indian Ocean Cruise,” which was where the dogfights in the original Top Gun occurred.

Still, others chalked it up to simply a misunderstanding among the filmmakers.

Author and former editor of Military.com Ward Carroll, who during a 20-year Navy career served in four different F-14 Tomcat (the jet featured in Top Gun) squadrons, tweeted: “The patch assortment on flight suits and jackets in the Top Gun franchise has always been a running joke (among running jokes) for those in the #NavyAir business. They are random in where they are placed and commands they represent. Seek no meaning because there is none.”


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