He may feel the need … to appease China.
In the Paramount Pictures trailer for “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster, Tom Cruise’s character is seen wearing his iconic bomber jacket — with two key changes.
Two patches that had originally shown the Japanese and Taiwanese flags have been replaced with two ambiguous symbols in the same color scheme, leading to speculation that the swap was meant to appease the People’s Republic.
Maverick’s first jacket sported a large patch that read “Far East Cruise 63-4, USS Galveston,” commemorating an actual US battleship’s tour of Japan, Taiwan and the Western Pacific.
The patch featured the US, UN, Japanese and Taiwanese flags.
In the new flick, the jacket still includes the American and UN flags, but the Japanese and Taiwanese flags are nowhere to be seen — and the Galveston is not mentioned, according to Business Insider.
One possible reason for the difference is that “Top Gun: Maverick” is partly produced by Chinese film distributor Tencent Pictures, the Japan Times reported.
China and Japan have long had a fraught relationship, including over territorial matters.
Regarding Taiwan, Beijing deems the self-governing island nation a renegade province that is one of its “core interests.”
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Paramount Pictures and Tencent Pictures did not immediately respond to requests for comment by the Japan Times.
But some also speculated that the move was merely due to changes in the storyline.
The original patch is from Maverick’s dad’s Vietnam tour, while the new patch appears to say “85-86” with the words “Indian Ocean Cruise,” which was where the dogfights in the first movie occurred.
And still others chalked up the change to a simple misunderstanding among the filmmakers, the Japan Times reported.
“The patch assortment on flight suits and jackets in the Top Gun franchise has always been a running joke (among running jokes) for those in the #NavyAir business,” Ward Carroll, a former F-14 Tomcat pilot, said on Twitter. “They are random in where they are placed and commands they represent. Seek no meaning because there is none.”