"I wanted that opening sequence to just tell you, this is a Top Gun movie," says director Joseph Kosinski.
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The folks behind Top Gun: Maverick (out May 27) are hoping to give audiences a shot of welcome nostalgia thanks to returning Top Gun cast members Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer.

But even before those actors arrive on screen, viewers will get a strong sense of déjà vu with an opening credit sequence that director Joseph Kosinski modeled closely on that of the original film. Yes, fans will see pilots and support crew members readying planes for take-off on an aircraft carrier, and, yes, they will hear first Harold Faltermeyer's opening theme and Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone." In fact, when EW recently saw the film at a press screening, it seemed possible the movie being projected was the original until Kosinki's own credit appeared.

TOP GUN: MAVERICK
Tom Cruise in 'Top Gun: Maverick'
| Credit: Scott Garfield/Paramount

"The title sequence and the music is the same, but the moment you get on the carrier, those are all new jets," says the director. "So on the original movie it was A-6s and F-14s, now it's F-18s and, F-35s. That was all shot on the USS Lincoln and the USS Teddy Roosevelt."

So why did Kosinki decide to so faithfully recreate the first film's opening sequence?

"I wanted that first few minutes to just tell you, this is a Top Gun movie, we love it as much you do," he says. "From there, our story goes in a very different direction, but I wanted the first few minutes to let the audience know: Don't worry, we love it too, this is going to be a Top Gun movie."

In Top Gun: Maverick, Cruise's character returns to the Top Gun training program to prepare a batch of pilots for a seemingly impossible mission. The cast also includes Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, and Miles Teller, who plays the son of Anthony Edwards' character "Goose" from the 1986 film.

"So just like Maverick going back to Top Gun in the film, I wanted the audience to feel like we were going back to Top Gun," continues Kosinski. "It had to have that same feel, but at the same time I knew we'd have to tell our own story, and I'd have to find a way to innovate on my own."

Top Gun Maverick
Tom Cruise in 'Top Gun: Maverick'
| Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Top Gun: Maverick credit sequence also acts as a tip of the hat to the late Tony Scott, who producer Jerry Bruckheimer chose to direct the original movie after Scott made the 1983 vampire tale The Hunger.

"His direction of that first film [is] so much of what made it what it is," says Kosinski.

Scott would go on to direct Beverly Hills Cop II, the Cruise-starring Days of Thunder, True Romance, Crimson Tide, and Unstoppable, among other action-filled films, before his death by suicide in 2012.

"He was a true artist," says Kosinski. "Jerry gave him a giant blockbuster and it just looked so different from anything that came before it, [and] obviously changed the way that movies are shot."

Watch the opening credit sequence of the original Top Gun below.

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