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The Real Reason Jay Ellis Didn’t Regret Missing Top Gun: Maverick's Volleyball Scene

Would Top Gun: Maverick have been a worthy legacyquel to Tom Cruise’s iconic hit without its ‘dogfight football’ scene? The world will never have to ask that question, as the new movie release that’s currently available for digital rental gave the world that very gift. Unfortunately, not everybody in the movie's cast got to take part in the joys of the scene, including Jay Ellis, who plays Lt. Reuben 'Payback' Fitch, but the Maverick star doesn't regret missing that moment, and his reasoning may have helped set up the next arc in his career as an actor. 

The Insecure star has owned up to why he wasn’t heartbroken to skip Top Gun: Maverick’s sporting moment: it all came down to Jay Ellis’ history of nudity on that very HBO hit that helped shape his career, and how he wanted to be recognized while being fully clothed. 

Remembering that statement during my sit down with Ellis for Top Gun: Maverick’s recent press day, I noted that thanks to the insane success of Paramount’s box office juggernaut, the actor could see himself in a new phase as a man in uniform. He seemed to take that as a compliment, as he gave CinemaBlend his thoughts on that prospect: 

We'll see, we'll see. I would not be mad at that. I'd be very happy to do that.

On one hand, Jay Ellis probably got to avoid the bad news given to Top Gun: Maverick’s cast on the day of shooting the sequel's big beach scene. However, the results were so rewarding that Top Gun: Maverick scored a viral win from the sequence, partially thanks to scoring moments such as  Miles Teller’s shirtless dance

That sort of attention can help boost anyone’s career by association, and some might say that Jay Ellis missed out on that perk. But is it really missing out when Ellis looks so damned good in uniform, as seen in this photo from Top Gun: Maverick?

Jay Ellis standing on the fight deck in full flight gear, in Top Gun: Maverick.

(Image credit: Paramount/Skydance)

Almost a decade-worth of episodes of Insecure have already familiarized the world with the impressive physique of Jay Ellis, and no one can blame him for wanting to switch it up. The subject of range isn’t always limited to the sorts of performances an actor can bring to the table, though that’s another advantage that Ellis has on his resume.

Thanks to performances in everything from Grace and Frankie to the Escape Room franchise, Jay Ellis has plenty of directions to take his acting and directing careers in the future. With Top Gun: Maverick added to his credits, Ellis could certainly continue to rock uniforms as characters in other ranks and branches of the military.

It may not be one of the scenes Jay Ellis wanted to direct from Top Gun: Maverick, but dogfight football is a moment that fans are already rallying around. Of course, that’s not the only thing to love about this summer’s biggest hit, and Ellis certainly gets his moments to shine throughout the film. Those who want to experience this intense cinematic experience can either head to a local theater, or rent this year’s reigning box office champ through PVOD. 

There’s still more options that are going to arrive in the near future. Those with a Paramount+ subscription and some patience can also wait for the eventual-but-still-undated streaming debut of Captain Pete Mitchell’s airborne antics. Meanwhile, physical media collectors will have to wait until Top Gun: Maverick’s November 1 release date to take to the skies on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD formats. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.