TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Despite trailer images showing the Taiwanese and Japanese flags censored on a flight jacket worn by Tom Cruise's character in "Top Gun: Maverick," the theatrical release in Taiwan is displaying both flags as it hits cinemas across the country on Wednesday (May 25).
In July of 2019, a scene that included the back of a leather bomber jacket worn by Tom Cruise's character Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell showed a patch with the flags of Japan and Taiwan edited and replaced with nonsensical symbols. The change to the patches was interpreted by many to be another example of Hollywood censorship geared to please the Chinese government, particularly because Chinese internet giant Tencent was one of Paramount's partners on the film.
Three years later, with the long-awaited release of "Top Gun" approaching in May, many netizens began to speculate on whether the Taiwanese and Japanese flags would appear in the film. Taiwanese-American Christine Lu announced that she had seen the flags restored at an advanced screening at Naval Base San Diego on May 22.
As the opening credits scene of the film commences, Maverick can be seen examining his jacket in his old locker as he slowly puts it on. The original version of the naval patch with the Taiwan and Japan flags is clearly visible, as confirmed by Liberty Times.
Maverick's jacket seen in worldwide release of "Top Gun: Maverick." (Screenshot from "Top Gun: Maverick.")
The patch is actually meant to commemorate the USS Galveston's tour of duty with the 7th Fleet from 1963 to 1964, when it performed missions off Japan and Taiwan.
Taiwanese audiences were heartened to see the Taiwan flag restored, but many Chinese internet users were angered:
"You won't make money off of us by showing it, we can just watch pirated copies."
"Brother Tom, the Chinese market won't have anything to do with you in the future."
However, other Chinese netizens pointed out that the patches are simply based on history.
"The Republic of China did in fact exist in the past, and it exists now, so what's the sensitivity?"
"When did the background of this movie take place? If it was during the Republic of China era, why not show the Republic of China flag from that era?"
"I don't think there is anything wrong with the flag itself, it's just that its meaning is uncertain."