How Top Gun: Maverick Recreated An Exact Shot From The Original Top Gun, 35 Years Later

Tom Cruise pumps his fist in excitement in Top Gun: Maverick.
(Image credit: Paramount)

Top Gun: Maverick has been in theaters for a month, and its need for speed has propelled the film into becoming one of the most successful theatrical releases since the pandemic. Part of that success has to do with the attention to detail from director Joseph Kosinski, who both paid tribute to the original 1986 film and made Maverick something new and groundbreaking on its own. In terms of the former element, while shooting the sequel, the filmmaker actually went to an exact location from the original Top Gun

Joseph Kosinski, who previously helmed Oblivion with Tom Cruise and Tron: Legacy, among other movies, spoke about the making of Top Gun: Maverick in depth with CinemaBlend’s own ReelBlend Podcast. During the episode, which is also available on YouTube, the director shared the amazing connection between the original and new Top Gun films. In his words: 

I did have a couple of the camera operators who worked on the original film. I had a number of crew members who worked on the original film on our film. And one of them was the ground-to-air operator. And he told me a lot of their ground-to-air stuff was shot on a specific mountain peak in Nevada, looking down into the training valley. So we went back to that exact peak. I stood up there with him and our four cameras with our really long lenses. And we shot our ground-to-air stuff from the same place, 35 years later. Which was pretty awesome.

While the original Top Gun director Tony Scott passed away in 2012, Joseph Kosinski said he had a couple of camera operators from the 1986 movie. One of them actually remembered an exact filming location and brought the production there to pay homage the original film. It’s certainly rare for a sequel filmed with over 30 years later to not only have some of the same crew, but end up featuring an exact location. Top Gun: Maverick accomplished that.

This will be a fun element to compare when watching the two films back to back. While Maverick continues to make box office cash in theaters, the original Top Gun is currently available to view with a Paramount+ subscription. We’ll be watching both and on the lookout for the matching locations filmed for the movies. 

Maverick recently surpassed $900 million at the worldwide box office and has remained a top viewed theatrical release since hitting theaters in late May. The movie has received positive responses from both critics and audiences alike, especially for its immersive experience on the big screen. 

It’s safe to say that Joseph Kosinski has become a major name in directing since Maverick. After recently releasing his Netflix movie Spiderhead, the filmmaker has a movie with Brad Pitt heading to streaming next. We’ll keep you posted on what’s next for Kosinski and the Top Gun property here on CinemaBlend. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.