There’s an alternate universe where Twenty One Pilots might have been the musical face of the Top Gun: Maverick sequel instead of Lady Gaga. At least according to singer Tyler Joseph, who told KROQ that he and drummer Josh Dun had been tapped to appear on the soundtrack to the follow-up to the beloved 1986 fighter-pilot drama before the movie’s star allegedly hit the ejector-seat button on them.
“I was working with the music placement person for the new Top Gun on writing a new song for them and then I believe Tom Cruise just came in and just fired everyone,” Joseph said of the long-gestating movie’s star-producer. A spokesperson for Cruise could not be reached for comment at press time.
Noting that the trailer has been around for “a few years” (it first dropped in July 2019) and that the film has gone a series of overhauls as it was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Joseph said his band was “a part of that.”
However, a source familiar with the situation tells Billboard that Twenty One Pilots were never officially involved in the soundtrack.
Coincidentally, the week before Maverick opens wide, 21P will be screening their one-night-only Cinema Experience on May 19, with the extended cut of their 2021 livestream featuring 20 extra minutes of never-before-seen footage. “We’re the only movie that can reference any sort of airplane or pilot,” Joseph joked about the long-con he teased his band has been planning for more than a decade in order to thwart the Cruise project.
“I saw some scenes. They brought me in to show me some scenes and stuff, and I actually don’t think I started writing,” Joseph added about how far along he got in the process before 21P got scrubbed. “It was actually pretty soon after they brought me in to show me parts of the movie of what they were looking for and stuff then I kind of got word that there was a wholesale swap.”
And while it sounds like 21P won’t be on the Maverick jukebox playlist, for now we can enjoy Gaga’s heart-swelling, Cruise-approved soundtrack ballad, “Hold My Hand.” An Amazon listing for the official soundtrack album contains the original movie’s hype anthem “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins, as well as several score pieces by Gaga with Harold Faltermeyer and Hans Zimmer, co-star Miles Teller singing a live version of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire,” as well as OneRepublic’s “I Ain’t Worried.” Top Gun: Maverick is slated to hit theaters nationwide on May 27 via Paramount Pictures.
Listen to the interview below.