Theaters of War director Roger Stahl recently wrote an op-ed that came out in the Los Angeles Times today, looking at Top Gun: Maverick and the bigger picture of the US military’s secretive but pervasive influence on what they call the ‘global entertainment environment’. The article highlights how the story of our small band of researchers is one of success and failure – while we have charted and revealed much of the history and present-day operations of the Pentagon’s entertainment liaison offices, we have also faced obfuscation and obstructionism.
What exact changes did the Pentagon make to the new “Top Gun: Maverick”? We don’t know, and that’s part of the problem. While we have script change details for hundreds of other productions, such as “Godzilla” and “Fast and Furious 8,” the military has repeatedly invoked a “trade secrets” exception to block our Freedom of Information Act requests when it comes to its most high-value assets.
While he’s right – we know the Pentagon were involved throughout the scriptwriting process for Top Gun: Maverick, but not the specifics of their influence on the finished film – I did see the movie last night and can make a few educated guesses. A full analysis of the Top Gun soft reboot/sequel is coming this week, but for now please enjoy Roger’s feature in the LA Times.