Most of the characters in Top Gun: Marverick are new, but not all. Here’s what you need to know about the returning cast members and characters.
WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS for Top Gun: Maverick.
Several original Top Gun characters return in Top Gun: Maverick. Over 30 years after the first movie, the Top Gun sequel is finally here, with Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski at the helm. Those not keen on catching it at the cinema can stream Top Gun: Maverick on Paramount+ online, and fans of the first movie will find that some of the original characters are also in Top Gun: Maverick.
The Top Gun sequel was developed over the course of ten years. Christoper McQuarrie, who has worked with Top Gun star Tom Cruise on a long list of movies, was hired to pen the script. The project hit a few snags early on, but eventually moved forward, with it being decided that the new Top Gun movie would be a proper sequel with Cruise once again in the lead role. The realistic dogfights and flying sequences that made Top Gun so popular continue to be prominent in Top Gun: Maverick. Moreover, Kenny Loggins has recorded a new version of “Danger Zone” especially for the sequel, because as Tom Cruise once said to Loggins, “It wouldn’t be Top Gun without ‘Danger Zone.”
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Related: Top Gun 2: What Jet Maverick Is Flying In The Trailer
Top Gun released all the way back in 1986. It’s no surprise that Top Gun 2 boasts a mostly new cast. Here are all the original characters returning for Top Gun: Maverick.
Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell
Fresh off his role in his highest-grossing film yet, Mission Impossible: Fallout, Tom Cruise is back in the cockpit as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick. Despite how much time has passed, Maverick is still flying, thanks to his efforts to avoid a promotion that would have seen him permanently grounded. In Top Gun 2, Maverick’s job is to train a new groups of pilots for a dangerous mission.
Val Kilmer as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky
Val Kilmer’s Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, the cocky pilot in Top Gun, is back in a brief unannounced cameo as a four-star admiral. Iceman plays a short but crucial role in Top Gun: Maverick. Aided by advanced AI voice technology Val Kilmer reprises his beloved role as the rival to Cruise’s Maverick.
Jennifer Connelly as Penny Benjamin
Penny Benjamin doesn’t appear onscreen in Top Gun, but she is discussed by characters in the original movie, most notably when Carol names her while teasing Maverick about the time he “went ballistic with Penny Benjamin.” In Top Gun: Maverick, Penny is Maverick’s love interest. No stranger to action movies, Connelly is a screen veteran known for her roles in A Beautiful Mind, Alita: Battle Angel, and Snowpiercer.
Related: Was Jennifer Connelly In The Original Top Gun?
Jean Louisa Kelly as Carole Bradshaw
Carole Bradshaw, the widow of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, also returns in Top Gun: Maverick. However, instead of Meg Ryan who originally played Carole, the character is played by Jean Louisa Kelly. Bravely stepping into a role that was originally brought to life by a beloved ’80s movie icon, Kelly also appears in The Malignant and The Fantasticks.
Every Top Gun Character NOT Returning In Maverick
There are several original Top Gun characters not returning for Maverick. As it’s been over three decades since Top Gun was first released, many of the original actors are simply too old to reprise their roles. Here are all Top Gun characters who aren’t in the sequel:
Kelly McGinnis as Charlotte BlackwoodTom Skerritt as Mike “Viper” MetcalfMichael Ironside as Rick “Jester” HeatherlyJohn Stockwell as Bill “Cougar” CortellTim Robbins as Sam “Merlin” WellsMeg Ryan as Carole BradshawWhip Hubley as Rick “Hollywood” NevenRick Rossovich as Ron “Slider” KernerBarry Tubb as Leonard “Wolfman” WolfClarence Gilyard Jr. as Marcus “Sundown” WilliamsAdrian Pasdar as Charles “Chipper” Piper
Next: Why Iceman Doesn’t Speak In Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick/Top Gun 2 (2022)Release date: May 27, 2022
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About The Author
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Nicholas Raymond is a staff movies & TV features writer for Screen Rant. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Montevallo, and is the author of the psychological thriller and time travel novel, “A Man Against the World.” Nicholas’ love for telling stories is inspired by his love for film noir, westerns, superhero movies, classic films, and ancient history. His favorite actors are Tyrone Power and Eleanor Parker. He can be reached by email at email@example.com and on Twitter at @cnraymond91.
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