Tom Cruise may have a 40+ year movie career, but the actor is still arguably one of the last remaining movie stars. In an era ruled by franchise reboots and remakes, Cruise has been playing Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible franchise for nearly 30 years. Is at Top Gun: Maverickhe revisits Pete “Maverick” Mitchell for the first time since 1986. But what about some of the original’s other stars? top gun, including future protagonist Meg Ryan? The sequel reveals exactly why her character isn’t in it.
Which ‘Top Gun’ Actors Return to Star in the 2022 Sequel?
From a sequence of top gun development began, Cruise would always be a part of it. Of course, the shape of this project has changed a lot over time and not just due to the death of the first film’s director Tony Scott. Cruise’s Maverick was originally slated to have a minor role, but in the end the focus shifted more to his character. This makes sense, seeing how top gun cemented Cruise’s A-list status in the past.
Top Gun: Maverick sees the title character still haunted by the death of his friend Goose (Anthony Edwards). Maverick’s return to Top Gun to train a new team of pilots – including Goose’s son Rooster (Miles Teller) – forces him to face his pain and guilt. As such, the sequel primarily features a new cast. Only Cruise and Val Kilmer return from the first film, with the latter reprising his iconic role as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky.
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What happened to Meg Ryan’s character Carole Bradshaw?
As the death of Goose is such an element Top Gun: Maverick, it seems logical that Ryan would return as Goose’s widow Carole Bradshaw. After all, Carole could have stepped in to advise Rooster as he faces this deadly mission, with Maverick instructing him. Unfortunately, director Joseph Kosinski confirmed on CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend why Ryan and other original actors – like Kelly McGillis – are not returning for the new film.
“Clearly, [Ryan and McGillis’] spirits hover over the film in certain ways. … But it was important that we wanted to make sure we were telling a new chapter in Maverick’s life. We didn’t want to be looking back all the time. So we have his relationship with [Jennifer Connelly’s character] Penny Benjamin (who) is the focus of this story. Which, you know, for die-hard fans is fun because she was only mentioned briefly in (top gun). Just that line (of dialogue) was a great starting point for this whole new character.”
Top Gun: Maverick includes a ton of callbacks to the original film, including brief flashbacks with Ryan. However, throughout the films, it is revealed that Carole died years earlier. This story decision not only gives fans a clean entry point into a new era of Maverick’s life – as Kosinski mentions – but also adds to Galo’s sense of isolation and the pressure he feels to make his parents proud.
Will ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ help ‘Top Gun 3’ take off?
The way Top Gun: Maverick ends – no spoilers here – certainly leaves the door open for another installment. Much like the original film, the sequel features many notable characters that fans are already responding well to. And its box office performance – the biggest opening weekend of Cruise’s career – certainly cast aside any doubts that the actor was making a mistake with the sequel.
For now, Cruise is shifting his focus to Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part Onedue for release in 2023. This seventh film in the series – and its now-filmed sequel – will presumably mark the end of Mission Impossible. If that’s the case, Cruise could return to some of his other fan-favorite roles. Of course, some fans are still waiting for him to come back as tropical Thunderby Les Grossman. There is still time.
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