Tony Scott’s Top Gun is one of the definitive Hollywood movies of the 1980s, establishing a look that many associate with the decade today, as well as the superstardom of Tom Cruise. Cruise is coming back in late 2020 for Top Gun: Maverick, so it might be interesting to take a look at how the original trailers for these films, separated by almost 35 years, and compare to one another.
Here’s the original trailer for Top Gun:
One interesting thing about the original trailer is that much like trailers of today, there’s no voiceover narration until the very end. It's just music and dialogue from the film, which gives it a deceptively modern feel.
Now, for comparison’s sake, take a look at the trailer for the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick:
One difference between these two trailers reflects Cruise’s relatively recent obsession with performing dazzling physical feats, more or less, for real, as in the Mission: Impossible sequels or even The Mummy. That means shots of Cruise in the cockpit of a real fighter jet, performing barrel rolls and other stunts show up in Maverick. But it simply wasn’t possible in the first movie, since all the flying in the original was done by stunt fliers. The trailer shows not just Cruise but the rest of the cast doing some flying of their own, without any of the telltale fakery you might expect to see in a movie about fighter pilots (rear-projected backgrounds or spinning the image in post-production to simulate a mid-air flip). So from the perspective of stunt flying, Maverick has the potential to be an upgrade, since it promises to have much more authentic-looking flying sequences with Tom Cruise and his co-stars.
But there’s really no mistaking the fact that these two trailers are part of the same franchise. Maverick appears to have gone all-in on Top Gun’s distinctive visuals, with a lot of slick silhouettes and gleaming military hardware. There are even some shots repeated, like a familiar one of jet engines roaring into action. Here they are in the first trailer:
And here they are in the trailer for Maverick:
And would it really be Top Gun without some choice shots of an aircraft carrier?
And here’s Maverick:
Then there’s Top Gun’s famous (or possibly infamous) beach volleyball scene, which interestingly enough doesn’t get a visual shout-out in the original trailer. But since Top Gun has become a classic, the volleyball scene has become one of the most famous sequences in movies, so you just know they had to include a reference to it in Maverick. Sure enough, there’s some beach sports going on in the newer movie, but it appears to have been changed from volleyball to football instead:
Co-Star Val Kilmer Featured heavily in the original Top Gun trailer. Back in the 80s, he was on his way to movie stardom almost comparable to Cruise’s. Here’s Val facing off with Tom in the original trailer:
Kilmer is reportedly returning for the sequel, but you won’t see him in the trailer for Maverick, and the precise nature of his role in the new film’s story is yet to be seen. So unfortunately for Kilmer fans, you’ll have to wait until this December to see what the Iceman’s up to nowadays.
All in all, Top Gun: Maverick looks to be a worthy followup to one of the most enduringly popular films of Tom Cruise’s entire career -- at least as far as the trailers are concerned.