Neil DeGrasse Tyson And Elon Musk Talked About How Tom Cruise Should Have 'Splattered' In A Specific Top Gun: Maverick Scene

Neil Degrasse Tyson in Cosmos/Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick/Elon Musk TED
(Image credit: Fox/Paramount/TED)

Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s official job is the director of the Hayden Planetarium; however, most people on social media probably know Tyson as the guy who is a total buzzkill about movies. He spends a lot of his time on Twitter explaining why your favorite movie doesn’t make scientific sense, and now he’s turned his sights on the biggest movie of the year Top Gun: Maverick, and he’s getting help from Elon Musk.

The fact that Neil DeGrasse Tyson is only just now getting around to tell us what was wrong with Top Gun: Maverick would seem to indicate that he is one of the few people who never got around to watching it in theaters when it was busy becoming one of the biggest box office successes of all-time

The particular issue that Tyson has decided to tweet about is the scene at the beginning of the movie, where Tom Cruise’s Maverick is test piloting a supersonic jet. IN the end the plane breaks apart and Maverick has to eject. However, according to your favorite movie buzzkill, Maverick would never have survived the ejection.

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I mean, I’m not an astrophysicist, but once that’s said out loud, it certainly makes some sense. Maverick has exceeded the speed of sound by a factor of 10, and it’s not hard to believe that an unprotected human body is going to have trouble moving at that speed, and then stopping suddenly, which is essentially what happens when Maverick pulls the ejection handle. Even jets themselves can have trouble with those speeds, which is something Tyson explains in a follow-up tweet.

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It’s enough to make one wonder why Maverick’s plane even had an ejection option, since technically at the speeds the plane was designed to go, it would never have been much use. It seems that Elon Musk had a similar feeling, as he replied to one of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s tweet’s to suggest a different mechanism should have been used for ejection, as it might have meant actual survival. 

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s movie criticism encompasses Gravity and more (there is a lot of it), is at least interesting. It does often make you consider things in movies from a scientific perspective that most people probably don’t usually take into account. Sometimes, however, the guy can just get picky at a  CinemaSins level of ridiculousness. Tyson doesn’t stop his critical comments with the supersonic light, he also goes after the end of the movie, being critical of the plan for no real reason.

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In the end, I doubt Neil DeGrasse Tyson is going to ruin Top Gun: Maverick for anybody. Knowing the science is interesting, but I’m not sure anybody was expecting perfect scientific accuracy from the action movie.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.