Top Gun: Maverick Used an Old-Gen Subaru WRX Thanks to Release Delays

The newest generation of the legendary Subaru WRX is certainly the topic of many hot debates. The drastic styling changes as compared to the previous model has a lot of people up in arms. It’s easy to see why, too. The plastic fender flairs are, at best, a questionable design feature. So, fans of the older generation WRX will be happy to know that it made an appearance in Top Gun: Maverick, thanks to release delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and filming delays.

Top Gun: Maverick was originally supposed to release in Summer 2019

A blue Subaru WRX rally car, covered in sponsorship stickers, races along a dirt track. The Subaru WRX started as a homologation car.
Subaru WRX STI | Ross Land/Getty Images

According to The Drive, the sequel to the iconic 1980s staple was supposed to come out in the summer of 2019. However, producers were forced to delay the film’s release thanks to the complexity of the aerial dogfighting scenes. Initially, the delays were set to push the movie until 2020. However, you’ll likely have a good guess as to why that didn’t happen.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the movie’s release to stray further away from its original summer 2019 target. Now, here we are, nearly three years later. Now, though, Top Gun: Maverick is in theatres, and it’s crushing the box office. According to Variety, the film set a new Memorial Day weekend record with $124 million.

Don’t worry, either; this story doesn’t come with any spoilers. According to The Drive’s article, the scenes where Top Gun producers used the WRX didn’t even make it to the movie’s final cut. Likely, because of the shift in model design. However, when shooting, one of the fighter pilot’s car of choice was a 2018 Subaru WRX.

Red Subaru WRX sports sedan, one of the many Subaru models with standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
Subaru WRX with standard all-wheel drive | Subaru

Subaru of America spokesman Dominick Infante confirmed that Subaru themselves provided the vehicle for use in the film. Of course, there’s no way that peachy-keen 2018 individuals and execs could have seen Covid coming.

“This goes back several years now,” Infante said. “We wouldn’t have had the new car ready back then. It’s good for the brand in terms of brand-building. It doesn’t matter that the model changed, as long as it’s something fast and fun to drive.”

There’s no bad publicity, right?

At the end of the day, the WRX on-screen would still have been a decent placement for Subaru. However, as mentioned above, the car apparently didn’t even make it into the film’s final cut. Who’s to say whether that had to do with the outdated model or Subaru backing out of the deal.

At any rate, there’s a bit more interesting information about that 2018 WRX. Infante says that when they work with film companies, WRX and STI models are most commonly requested because many stunt drivers have a history with rally driving. Interestingly enough, though, he also stated that the model used in Top Gun: Maverick was a CVT automatic version. The Drive’s Patrick George states that this is because many Hollywood stars, “as with many Americans now,” don’t know how to drive a manual transmission vehicle.

You’d think, though, that stunt drivers would be the exception to that rule. After all, it’s rare that any actors will drive a car more than a few feet on set. Unless, of course, that actor is Tom Cruise. We have a suspicion, though, that he probably knows how to drive a manual.

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