Top Gun 2’s Maverick Director Explains Why It Isn’t An Action Film

Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski discusses why he didn’t see the sequel as an action film. Top Gun: Maverick recast Tom Cruise as Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, repeating his role from the original 1986 film. The film picks up 30 years later, with Maverick charged with preparing a crew of inexperienced pilots for an impossible mission. The film was a hit with both viewers and critics, grossing about $1.5 billion worldwide and earning an Oscar Award nomination for Best Picture.

Kosinski told Vulture that he never considered Top Gun: Maverick to be an action film. Although being advertised as a big-budget action film with the stunts that have become synonymous with Cruise, the filmmaker prioritized storyline, ensuring that the action supported the characters. While Top Gun: Maverick is clearly an action film, Kosinski prioritized emotion, which he feels helped the film connect on such a large scale. Check out Kosinski’s thoughts on Top Gun: Maverick below the jump:

I still stand by the original intent of film, which was to tell an emotional, relatable story about a guy going through a rite of passage at a later point in his life. The first film, I always said, was a drama wrapped in an action film. And that’s why when I heard we’d won Best Action Film, Best Stunts, I thought, ‘Would I ever describe it that way?’ Did I ever think of it as an action film when I was making it? I didn’t. The drama was always at the forefront. The execution of the flying sequences was in support of that. Every action sequence, we’re always telling a story, pushing the narrative forward, learning something about the character’s state of mind. We tried to do that not only in every sequence but every shot of every sequence. So, sure, it’s the action that got people in to see it the first time, but it was the emotion that brought them back for viewings two, three, four. Some guy came up to me other night, said he had seen it 32 times! It’s the emotion that brings people back. And that’s, I think, the key to giant hits. I don’t know if you saw Avatar 2, but I felt like that with that film, the spectacle was one part of it, but there was a real emotional through line that got me. So emotion is key, but you need to make something that the audience knows they have to see on the big screen to get the full experience.