Top Gun: Maverick was the box office phenomenon no one saw coming. Sure, the original was a beloved hit in the ’80s, and made Tom Cruise a megastar. So everyone expected the sequel to do well. But no one saw it becoming the sixth highest-grossing domestic film of all time. But what was the real reason for this huge success? Could it be that it just reminded everyone a whole lot of Star Wars?
As the folks at YouTube channel Star Wars Explained pointed out in their new video, Maverick took a lot of inspiration from George Lucas’ saga. Especially the original film, A New Hope. You can watch their video Watch Top Gun: Maverick Be Star Wars For 3 Minutes Straight down below:
As the video illustrates, sequence after sequence in the final aerial dogfight against mysterious foreign adversaries in Top Gun‘s final act echoes A New Hope almost beat for beat. Everything from the mission briefing scene, to the surprise “final save” by a cocky pilot, to actual bits of dialogue. At least the young female lead in this movie gets to fly a plane this time, something Princess Leia never got to do.
Although A New Hope is the bulk of the Star Wars references in Top Gun, there’s a good amount of The Phantom Menace and The Force Awakens in there too. And as Star Wars Explained tells us in a companion video, there’s a fair bit of The Clone Wars as well. Rooster and Maverick’s relationship seems a whole lot like Anakin’s and Ahsoka’s.
Frankly, we shouldn’t give too much grief to director Joseph Kosinski for lifting so much from Star Wars. George Lucas’ original film is easily the most influential film of the last fifty years. Who hasn’t been influenced by it? J.J. Abrams remade A New Hope twice, pretty much. First with the Star Trek 2009 reboot, and then with The Force Awakens. Besides, Lucas himself drew inspiration from the fighter plane dogfights he saw on film in his youth. So think of Top Gun now referencing his work as a “full circle” moment.