Top Gun: Maverick 'Risks Angering China' After Tom Cruise Spotted Wearing Taiwan Flag
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People all over the world are currently enjoying the blood-pumping, ear-exploding thrill that is Top Gun: Maverick.
Unless they live in China, that is.
The Top Gun sequel hasn't been released in the Asian superpower and some media outlets have speculated the reason is due to one tiny detail on the back of Tom Cruise's jacket.
In the original '80s classic, Cruise's character, Lieutenant Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell, wore a leather jacket with patches sewn on the back to commemorate his father's tours to Japan and Taiwan.
But, when the Top Gun: Maverick trailer dropped in 2019 those flags were replaced with random symbols. The change wasn't lost on fans.
There’s a new Top Gun movie coming out. And Maverick is wearing the same leather jacket - only this time it’s Communist Party of China-approved, so the Japanese and Taiwanese flag patches are gone (screenshot on right is from the new trailer)... pic.twitter.com/gUxFNFNUKX— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) July 19, 2019
The sequel has finally been released and eagle-eyed fans have noticed a small but major difference to the jacket since the trailer premiered three years ago: the Taiwanese flag is back.
The Daily Mail reports the decision to include the Taiwanese flag could offend Chinese cinema regulators, which may be the reason Top Gun: Maverick is yet to receive a release date in the country.
Beijing sees any recognition of Taiwan as a threat to its sovereignty over the self-ruled democratic island.
China has boycotted companies like Zara and Marriott for implying the island territory is a separate country in their products, Business Insider reports.
According to The Verge, Apple has also kowtowed to Beijing by blocking the Taiwan flag emoji for iPhone users in China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Hong Kong film critic Ho Siu Bun dubbed Cruise's jacket change 'unprecedented'.
"Major film studios have never been shy about pandering to the Chinese market," he told VICE World News.
He added: "And even if it is a simple scene, editing is very costly. So no one knows why they changed it back."
WSJ reports China's Tencent, which signed on to co-finance the Top Gun sequel in 2019, backed out over concerns about CCP officials. WSJ says Taiwanese & Japanese flags on Maverick's jacket were removed after suggestion by Tencent, but are now back on it.https://t.co/z8G0MdBF80 pic.twitter.com/E6NFUz55FA— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) May 27, 2022
At the movie premiere in Taiwan, audiences cheered and clapped at the sight of their national flag, according to reports by the Central News Agency in Taiwan.
Taiwan News reported that fans were so thrilled that copies of the jacket has become a sell-out, must-have item in the island republic.
But why the change and then change back? Well, CBR reckons it may have had something to do with China’s Tencent Pictures.
Tencent Pictures joined Paramount Pictures as an investor and a marketing partner of the sequel, but then backed out of the deal over fears it may upset Chinese leaders.
There were concerns the Top Gun sequel would be seen as US propaganda as it centred around the American military, the Guardian reports.
Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.
Topics: China, Politics, Top Gun, Tom Cruise, TV and Film, Celebrity