Why Top Gun 2 Killing Off Maverick Would Be A Mistake

Director Joseph Kominsky's upcoming Top Gun: Maverick could end with the death of Tom Cruise's Pete Mitchell, but that would be a mistake.

Killing Tom Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick would be a big mistake. After a few decades, the much-anticipated sequel to Tony Scott’s cult classic film, Top Gun, will finally release in theaters. Functioning as the continuation of Maverick’s story, the follow-up sees the character still working as an instructor in the same flight academy he and Nick “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller) trained in the ’80s. But as the storytelling focuses on him, there are theories that Top Gun: Maverick will also function as the character’s swan song, as it could end with his death.

Even with its nearing release, not much is known about plot specifics for Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick. However, based on the film’s marketing, it appears as if the sequel will tackle two main plotlines. Firstly, the film will delve into the brewing tension between Maverick and student, Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, who also happens to be Goose’s son. The second narrative will revolve around Maverick’s personal struggles as he appears to be stuck in his career, with no plans of moving up. Despite being one of the most prolific pilots in the organization, he remains a captain — something that his own boss, played by Ed Harris, doesn’t understand.

Maverick is clearly dealing with internal issues, hence why he’s almost sabotaging his own career. Perhaps, it’s an effort to keep flying instead of being a navy officer behind the desk. But, as Top Gun: Maverick revisits Cruise’s character, it’s curious how this will ultimately be resolved. One possibility is that the sequel will end with Maverick’s death.

Maverick Will Die In Top Gun 2 – Theory Explained

One of the most intriguing moments fromTop Gun: Maverick‘s trailers is a funeral scene, becoming a favorite topic of conversation for fans. Some are convinced that it is for Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), who was Maverick and Goose’s flight school batchmate. Others posited that it could be one of Maverick’s students. Like what happened with Goose in the original Top Gun film, a trainee dies during an exercise, reminding Maverick of the death of his  RIO. But, there have also been claims that it will be the aging test pilot whose body will be in the coffin in Top Gun: Maverick instead.

After years in the service, Maverick has yet to lose his devil-may-care attitude, as if he’s relentlessly courting death. Whether or not that has something to do with still feeling guilt over the tragic demise of Goose is unknown. But dealing with Rooster on a daily basis will undoubtedly bring back bad memories, especially since the younger Bradshaw isn’t exactly fond of Maverick. In any case, it’s clear that Maverick doesn’t seem like he has any intentions of slowing down, which could explain why he refuses to climb up the professional ladder. As revealed in Top Gun: Maverick‘s official synopsis, the titular character will be pulled in a mission that “demands the ultimate sacrifice from those that are chosen to fly it.” Taking it literally, it implies that Maverick will be forced to give up his life to accomplish this mysterious goal. Perhaps, it’s also his twisted way of making up for the death of Goose.

Maverick Needs To Learn From Top Gun 2’S Death, Not Die Himself

Kilmer is confirmed to return as Iceman, but chances are that he will have very minimal involvement. Kazansky wasn’t supposed to be in Top Gun: Maverick but was later added, so fans shouldn’t expect his role to be extensive in the sequel. Perhaps, the film might function as his swan song, with Iceman ending up dying in the narrative to make Maverick realize that his own time is fleeting. But assuming that Maverick also meets his end in the sequel, it would be too tragic for two original cast members to die in a single film. Paramount has a potential sustainable hit franchise in their hands, but it’s far too quick to pass on the baton to the new generation of test pilots and leave them without any mentor figure moving forward.

However, from a narrative perspective, killing Maverick doesn’t also serve his personal arc. In fact, it could be the easy way out since the character seems to have been chasing death with his reckless attitude. Instead, Maverick needs to come to terms with the demons inside of him. By the end of Top Gun, he seemed to have gotten over the accidental death of Goose, but based on what’s known about Top Gun: Maverick, particularly his tense relationship with Rooster, this may not be the case. The sequel needs to ensure that this plotline is tackled properly. This way, Maverick can finally let go of his need for speed, offering him a chance to build a meaningful life outside of flying. Whoever dies in Top Gun: Maverick, especially if it’s Iceman, should ultimately make Maverick re-assess the life he’s lived thus far.

Maverick Surviving Can Give Top Gun A Franchise Future

When Top Gun was first released in the ’80s, it became a commercial hit despite initial mix reviews. Over time, however, its popularity not only endured but also grew thanks to its availability on streaming services, as well as Cruise’s newfound stardom thanks to the Mission: Impossible franchise. Given this, Paramount can build an action franchise with more sequels to come if Top Gun: Maverick becomes a success. If this is the case, no one is better to be its poster boy than Cruise’s Maverick — at least for a while. The upcoming blockbuster will introduce a string of neophytes with Rooster and Glen Powell’s Hangman; both can take over the IP moving forward, but the transition cannot be done in one film. Maverick surviving and learning his lesson means that he could evolve into a well-rounded mentor figure to his predecessors. As the narrative continues, it can grow into something bigger than one character’s arc, but for now, it’s clear that the franchise now has one main character in Maverick. And if Paramount wants to sustain the franchise, they need him to be front and center of their future storytelling.

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