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Top Gun: Maverick Director Reveals A-Lister That Could Have Taken Jon Hamm’s Role

 Jon Hamm (Vice Admiral Cyclone) in Top Gun: Maverick.
Jon Hamm (Vice Admiral Cyclone) in Top Gun: Maverick.

Top Gun: Maverick has been one of the biggest movies of the decade so far, so it’s no wonder people can’t seem to stop talking about it. The film captured the high-flying action of the original film, while also infusing a lot of heart with its new characters. Director Joseph Kosinski had big shoes to fill when taking on the project, especially considering the 1986 film was so beloved. Luckily, many of his frequent collaborators hopped on board, including big names like Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, and of course, Tom Cruise. Apparently, one of his former collaborators even almost appeared in Jon Hamm’s part before the Mad Men actor was cast in the supporting role.

Kosinski recently sat down with Josh Horowitz on the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast to do a watch-along of Top Gun: Maverick with the host. He opened up about what it was like shooting such a film on a massive scale, and shared some behind-the-scenes stories from the movie. Considering Kosinski had worked with many of the actors in the film, previously, the filmmaker was asked if any other actors almost made it into Top Gun 2, like Josh Brolin. He revealed that Brolin was in talks to play Jon Hamm’s role, Cyclone, in the film, but scheduling conflicts made it impossible. He said:

Absolutely. Brolin was on my mind. For me, you know, you always have to – you can't put all your eggs in one basket – so for me it was Brolin and Hamm were the top two ... Yeah, Josh would have done this role. We did actually talk about it, but he was having a baby literally the moment we were going to start photography, so I knew it just wasn't a possibility. Brolin and Hamm, both guys I'd be thrilled to work with again.

Thankfully, Jon Hamm was available and eager to take on the role in the blockbuster film. He is great in the part, creates friction as a juxtaposition to Cruise’s rebellious, risk-taking “Maverick” character. Hamm also has previously opened up about how much he loved working on Maverick, and how excited he was to be cast in the Top Gun sequel. Now that Hamm has appeared in one of his films, the Baby Driver actor is officially part of the Kosinski-film family, so audiences may be lucky enough to see Hamm appear in another film from the director in the near future.

As great as Hamm was in the Cyclone role, it’s hard not to wonder what Josh Brolin could’ve brought to the role. Brolin is known for having a tough-guy persona on screen, so he could’ve brought an even harsher aspect to the character. The Sicario actor led Kosinski’s 2017 film, Only The Brave where he brought a high level of intensity to his firefighter character. I wonder if he would’ve brought the same energy to Top Gun: Maverick, or something totally different. We probably will never know, but this casting “what-if” is still fun to ponder about.

It may not be long at all before both of these actors ended up in another Joseph Kosinski project. The director has been teasing a potential Top Gun 3 since the film came out, and recently it was reported that plans for a third Top Gun are well underway with the director involved. While casting for the film has yet to be announced, fans would love to see Hamm reprise his role as Cyclone for the follow up film. In addition, maybe Brolin’s schedule is more freed up and he could also potentially come on board for at least a cameo. There's currently a lot of speculation about the highly anticipated threequel, and a lot being kept under wraps, but fans know when it comes to Top Gun, the sky's the limit.

We may have to wait a while for Top Gun 3 news, but in the meantime, you revisit Jon Hamm’s performance as Cyclone in Top Gun: Maverick, which is currently streaming for Paramount+ subscribers. You can also see Josh Brolin in Kosinski’s Only the Brave, which is now on Starz.