You Have Edgar Wright To Thank For One Of Top Gun: Maverick's Best Needle-Drops

"Top Gun: Maverick" features sequence after sequence of bravura action filmmaking that has helped it become a true money-making phenomenon, reaching nearly $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office. Generally speaking, these are the scenes that separate it from the common Hollywood blockbuster, and Joseph Kosinski, Tom Cruise, and everyone involved should be commended for raising the bar on what audiences should expect out of big budget moviemaking. However, the action scenes alone do not make for a fully satisfying moviegoing experience. Spectacle can only get you so far. You still need to care and understand the characters at the center.

This particular movie features a lot of characters. Cruise's Maverick is its center, yes, but the ensemble stretches far and wide. Most importantly are the Top Gun recruits which Maverick must mentor: Rooster (Miles Teller), Hangman (Glen Powell), Phoenix (Monica Barbaro), Payback (Jay Ellis), and Bob (Lewis Pullman) don't even cover the full swath of the team. Introducing this many characters within the span of one film results in a staggering degree of difficulty that the filmmakers need to overcome.

They decide to introduce them and set up all of their motivations in one efficient, extended scene inside the Navy bar about a half-hour into the picture. In terms of construction, it's as dazzling as any of the action set pieces. Because the tone of these folks has to be set quickly, utilizing music as shorthand is an invaluable tool. In this scene, the song used to convey the hard edge and arrogance of Powell's Hangman is Foghat's "Slow Ride," a staple of 1970s rock 'n roll. They needed some help finding the perfect song, and they turned to someone synonymous with expertly placing songs within his movies: "Hot Fuzz" and "The World's End" director Edgar Wright.

Give him 45 minutes

Whether it's the choreographed fight scene set to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" in "Shaun of the Dead" of basically the entirety of "Baby Driver," Edgar Wright has always featured loads of music through his entire filmography in incredibly creative ways. Sometimes they are incredibly popular songs. Sometimes they are songs you haven't thought about in decades. He is one of the first names you think of regarding needle drops, alongside Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and Paul Thomas Anderson. Naturally, he would be someone to contact about picking a song for a movie, which is what writer and producer Christopher McQuarrie did for "Top Gun: Maverick." Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Wright recalled how he was approached:

"I didn't have any [other] notes on 'Top Gun: Maverick.' I first watched that in 2020. Chris McQuarrie and Tom Cruise showed it to me, and it was pretty much the film that got released, minus the Lady Gaga song. And in terms of the Foghat thing, they needed a song. My dream text to get was Chris McQuarrie saying, 'Hey, we need a new song for the bar scene in "Top Gun: Maverick." What can you think of that's like ...?' And it was like, 'Oh, give me 45 minutes!' I think I still have that playlist on Spotify; it was 'Maverick Bar.' So that stuff is just fun to me."

Not only does the hard rocking sound of "Slow Ride" fit perfectly with Hangman's whole vibe and act as perfect underscoring for his passive aggressive confrontation with Miles Teller's Rooster, but it also makes sense as a song that would be in this jukebox which has been around for decades. Now, Edgar, please share your "Maverick Bar" playlist.