When Top Gun soared its way into theaters in 1986, summer crowds cheered for the movie’s young stars and addicting soundtrack of top 80’s hits. Directed by the late Tony Scott, the film about a US Navy fighter school took over the box office, eventually grossing over $350 million worldwide, and made stars of Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Meg Ryan, and Kelly McGillis. With the upcoming release of Top Gun: Maverick later this month, director Joseph Kosinski is defending his position as to why the sequel doesn’t feature the return of Kelly McGillis.
The original Top Gun featured actress Kelly McGillis as Charlie Blackwood, the main love interest to Tom Cruise’s Maverick and an instructor of the flight school he attends. As Variety reports, McGillis was never asked by Joseph Kosinski or producers (which includes Tom Cruise) to reprise her role and return in Top Gun: Maverick. In addition, the filmmakers also didn’t ask Meg Ryan to return, in spite of her starring in the original film as Goose’s (Anthony Edwards) wife. Kosinski explains that, “I didn’t want every storyline to always be looking backwards. It was important to introduce some new characters.” With Goose dying in the first film, Kosinski expressed his interest in making this newest film for a new generation. The sequel will feature a much narrower storyline that involves the relationship between Maverick and Kilmer’s Iceman, as well as introducing Goose’s son Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, played my Miles Teller. According to an interview that Cruise gave with Entertainment Tonight, Cruise fought for Val Kilmer to reprise his role as Iceman. You can watch that interview below.
Kelly McGillis has had a steady career outside of the realms of sequels like Top Gun: Maverick. Starring in critically praised and successful box office draws such as 1985’s Witness and 1988’s The Accused, McGillis took a break from acting but has recently been featured in episodes of The L Word and Dirty John. In an interview she gave in 2013 that was detailed by Yahoo Entertainment, McGillis expressed her love for filming Top Gun and the experiences she had on set.
Rather than McGillis returning to Top Gun: Maverick, Jennifer Connelly is stepping in the shoes as the love interest to the hero. Joining Connelly, Cruise, and Teller, the sequel will feature an all-star cast that includes Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Monica Barbaro, and Glen Powell. In an interview with Texas Monthly, Austin-native Powell originally said no to Cruise to take on his role as Hangman, but now hopes that this newest film will be his big break into stardom.
The original film had many iconic moments, but maybe none more than the infamous volleyball scene. This time around, Top Gun: Maverick will feature a shirtless beach football scene of shirts versus skins, as reported by Cinema Blend. Also, there’s very little doubt that anyone can forget the original movie’s epic love ballad, “Take My Breath Away” sung by Berlin, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. This time around, we have Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand,” which might just be the song of the summer as the sequel’s main theme song. Top Gun: Maverick finally opens in theaters to eager audiences everywhere on May 27, 2022.