Top Gun: Maverick (2022) Detailed Ending Explanation & Meaning of the Plot. Top Gun: Maverick ended with a thrilling ending filled with heroism and confirms that the protagonist is still a great pilot. Let’s take a look at the ending.
The thrilling ending of Top Gun: The Maverick proves definitively that Pete “Maverick” Mitchell ( Tom Cruise ) still has the right qualities and confirms his status as one of the best fighter pilots ever in the US Navy. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the film’s sequel took Top Gun to the next level, surpassing the original in almost every way as a 21st-century action blockbuster while retaining the nostalgia of the original Top Gun, directed by the late Tony Scott in 1986. Top Gun: Maverick also paid homage to the original film’s characters such as Iceman (Val Kilmer) and Gus (Anthony Edwards), while introducing new characters such as Gus’s son Rooster (Miles Teller), who are potentially can move the franchise forward.
Top Gun: Maverick is centered on a mission for which Maverick trained former Top Gun alumni to destroy an underground uranium facility in an unnamed hostile country. It was an impossible mission that involved flying at low speed through a valley, pinpointing a target, and climbing deadly to avoid hitting a mountain and losing consciousness.
The Top Gun pilots then had to face off against technologically superior enemy 5th generation fighters. After the death of Iceman, aka Admiral Tom Kazansky, Maverick lost his protection and was removed as instructor by Top Gun Cyclone (Jon Hamm), who was not a fan of Maverick and hindered him at every turn. But Maverick stole the plane and ran the simulation to perfection, proving to the trainees that their difficult mission could be accomplished because “it’s not about the plane, it’s about the pilot.” Maverick then took charge of the mission himself, resulting in Rooster’s lifelong feud with his late father’s partner finally being resolved.
Top Gun: Maverick boasts some of the most stunning and breathtaking aerial combat footage ever captured on film. The film is gripping and inspiring, but it’s understandable if the many details of Maverick’s mission are overwhelmed by the film’s excitement and visual stimulation. Mission: Impossible Maverick was also likely influenced by Mission: Impossible director Christopher McQuarrie, who co-wrote Top Gun: Maverick. Here’s a full account of how Top Gun: Maverick ended, how the main characters’ stories were resolved, and the possible future of the Top Gun film franchise.
Explanation of the Miracle 1 & 2 mission plan (what went wrong and what was meant to be)
Maverick was assigned to lead a mission to destroy an underground uranium facility. He chose Phoenix (Monica Barbaro) and Bob (Lewis Pullman) as Dagger 1, while Payback (Jay Ellis) and Fanboy (Danny Ramirez) were Dagger 2, with Rooster as his wingman. The executioner (Glen Powell), who was not chosen, was subdued and on standby on the aircraft carrier’s flight deck.
They had 2 minutes and 30 seconds to fly low over the canyons, under enemy surface-to-air missiles, and reach the target. Just as the Death Star was destroyed in Star Wars: A New Hope, the Maverick reached a three-meter target and blasted it to create a hole. Dagger 2 picked up speed and reached the target. Despite the laser malfunctioning, Rooster tested the target and successfully hit it, destroying the underground uranium facility. All the pilots’ training paid off and they made it through the steep climb at 9.5g without hitting the mountain. Then the battle began, when the enemy launched the SAM and raised the fifth generation fighters in the air to intercept the Maverick squadron.
Every Navy F-18 had flares that they used to divert enemy missiles, but the Rooster ran out of them when enemy aircraft targeted it. Maverick used his plane to cover Rooster and was shot down. Pheonix/Bob and Payback/Fanboy returned to the carrier, but Cyclone refused to raise the Hangman to rescue Maverick. He decided that Maverick was dead and did not want to risk the lives of other pilots.
But Rooster did not return home and instead saved Maverick from an enemy attack helicopter. Rooster was then shot down, but he also survived and Maverick was reunited with him. They made it to an enemy airfield that had been destroyed by Navy Tomahawk missiles and found an old spare F-14 Tomcat, similar to the one Maverick flew in the original Top Gun movie. Maverick and Rooster took the F-14s into the air, but were intercepted by two fifth-generation enemy aircraft.
Deciding to fight his way home, Maverick took the enemy by surprise: he swept behind one of the aircraft and opened fire, knocking it down. The second enemy gave chase, but Maverick flew very low, knowing that the terrain would confuse the enemy targeting computer. Maverick then used the classic Top Gun maneuver, flipping his F-14 over and shooting down the enemy aircraft. But they were still not free.
The Mavericks were out of weapons, and a new enemy fighter was approaching in front of them. Fearing that they would not survive, Maverick urged Gus to eject, but the old plane’s visor would not open. At the last second, an enemy fighter was destroyed by the Executioner, who was called in to help his friends after Goose’s relay signal was detected by the carrier.
Maverick, Goose, and Executioner returned to the carrier, where they were met by heroes (with the Navy using a net to catch Maverick’s F-14, which had lost its nose gear), but not before Maverick made his signature illegal overflight of the flight deck to deliberately disturb the cyclone. The Executioner and Rooster’s rivalry ended much like Iceman and Maverick’s at the end of Top Gun, and Maverick and Rooster finally make up. Maverick also becomes the first pilot to shoot down five enemy aircraft, counting the three Russian MiG fighters he destroyed in Top Gun.
Maverick proves the Navy still needs him (but he’s out… for now)
Maverick’s arc in Top Gun: Maverick was supposed to show that he still had a place in the Navy – though Pete himself wasn’t always sure. While his Top Gun peers such as Iceman became admirals, Maverick remained a captain and was an exception to the fleet for 35 years. After finishing the first Top Gun, Maverick returned to Miramar to become a flight instructor, but only lasted two months.
For the next three decades, Maverick brought down one admiral after another, and Captain Pete Mitchell, being in the truest sense of the word Maverick, made promotion in the Navy impossible, despite his awards and achievements. As the film “Top Gun: Maverick” begins, Maverick is a test pilot for the Darkstar program and has become “the fastest man in the world”, proving he can reach Mach 10. Maverick reached a record speed of Mach 10.3 before his plane exploded. Instead of being a hero, Admiral Kane (Ed Harris) wanted to kick him out of the Navy.
At the beginning of Top Gun: Maverick, Admiral Kane tells Maverick that his plan is to eventually replace pilots with drones. While this plan may yet come to fruition, Maverick’s work with the Top Gun trainees has proven the worth of pilots who can make decisions on the fly and are guided by instinct. Maverick taught the Top Gun trainees to think outside the box and push themselves and their equipment beyond their limits.
However, Maverick’s success in the climactic mission to destroy the uranium facility did not earn him the promotion he did not want. Maverick “belongs” to himself in the cockpit and is still a brilliant pilot, despite being decades older than his trainees and compared to his former colleagues, who are now all flag officers. Maverick has proven that he still has something unique to offer the Navy, but the Navy still doubts his value and probably always will, despite his accomplishments.
Maverick and Rooster reconciled (as Gus wanted)
Rooster’s feud with Maverick was due to the fact that his father, Gus, died in 1986 at Maverick, but there was a second reason. Maverick withdrew Rooster’s Naval Academy application, which cost the young pilot four years of his career. Unbeknownst to Rooster, Maverick did this because his mother, Carol Bradshaw (Meg Ryan), now deceased, didn’t want Rooster to become a pilot like his father. Maverick complied with Carol’s wishes and took all the blame so Rooster wouldn’t blame his mother. Maverick confessed this to Penny, but not to Rooster.
Of course, Gus’ spirit hovers over Maverick and Rooster in Top Gun: Maverick. In moments of uncertainty, they both say, “Talk to me, Gus/Dad”, evoking the dead mustachioed pilot. Rooster even plays “Great Balls of Fire” on the piano, just like his father did when Rooster was very young. After Maverick and Rooster survived the ordeal when they were shot down and flew home in a stolen F-14, Rooster finally saw in Maverick and his flying ability what his father saw.
Maverick tried to be a surrogate father to Rooster when he was growing up, but by the end of Top Gun: Maverick, Bradley and Pete are more like their peers, as Maverick and Goose were. Rooster even decided to help restore Maverick’s vintage P-51 Mustang into his hangar, where he is surrounded by pleasant memories of his father.
Like Top Gun: Maverick Honors Iceman (and Val Kilmer)
Top Gun: Iceman and Val Kilmer’s Maverick was one of the best parts of the movie. In Top Gun, Tom “Iceman” Kazansky won the Top Gun trophy and was first in his class in 1986 (Maverick was second). Iceman turned this success into a distinguished career in the Navy, where he became a four-star admiral and commander of the US Pacific Fleet.
However, Iceman and Maverick remained close friends, and Admiral Kazansky never forgot how Maverick saved his life at the end of Top Gun. Iceman became Maverick’s guardian angel, protecting Maverick and restoring his reputation every time the Navy demanded that Captain Mitchell be put on trial or removed from the crew. It was Iceman who forced Maverick to return to Top Gun as a trainee instructor, because since the end of Top Gun in 1986, he believed, “The Navy needs Maverick.”
Unfortunately, Iceman died of throat cancer in Top Gun: Maverick, and Val Kilmer’s real-life battle with the disease was woven into the film, though the actor is now cancer-free after a six-year battle. However, cancer left Kilmer unable to speak, which is why the moment Iceman decided to talk to Maverick and ask him “Which of us is the best pilot?” was so touching.
Otherwise, Iceman corresponded with Maverick throughout the film. But when Iceman died, Maverick lost the protection of his biggest and strongest protector. Kilmer is the only “Top Gun” main character to return for the sequel, and “Top Gun: Maverick” gave Iceman (and Kilmer) their due as the most important people left in Maverick’s life after Top Gun.
Maverick and Penny got a happy ending
Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly) is Maverick’s longtime sweetheart who returned to his life when he returned to Top Gun. Penny and Maverick lost touch for years after he asked her out aboard a hijacked fighter jet and Mitchell nearly got kicked out of the Navy. Penny seems to understand Maverick and their mutual attraction is palpable, but given Pete’s insecurities, she wasn’t sure she could commit herself to him, and vice versa. However, Penny also admits that Maverick has matured and that he still wants something back in Top Gun because he is far from over with his career as a fighter pilot.
When the triumphant Maverick returned to Penny’s The Hard Deck after the film’s climactic mission, Penny was gone because she had taken her teenage daughter Amelia (Liliana Wray) away for the holidays. This was not explicitly stated, but most likely Penny left because she was afraid that Maverick would not return from this assignment. When she was informed that Maverick fell in love and returned home, Penny returned and reunited with him. Maverick only had one previous love interest in Top Gun, Charlie (Kelly McGillis), but that was 35 years ago. Maverick and Penny seem to be more even, and she may be the one to get Pete Mitchell into a long-term commitment.
Will there be Top Gun 3 (and will Maverick be in it?)
Top Gun: Maverick has left the door open for the return of Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. The possibility of Maverick dying heroically at the end of Top Gun: Maverick existed, although after Iceman’s death it became unlikely that both remaining Top Gun icons would die in the sequel. Maverick also showed that he was still as skilled and daring in the cockpit of a fighter as ever, and deservedly earned the respect and admiration of his trainees. By no means did Maverick finish the Top Gun sequel as if he needed to be put out to pasture. Top Gun: Maverick has already received critical acclaim, and depending on its box office performance, Top Gun 3 could certainly be made. There could also be a spin-off featuring Rooster Miles Teller and other Top Gun trainees, with Maverick without him.
One of the main reasons why a Top Gun sequel hasn’t been filmed for 36 years was that Tom Cruise wanted to wait for the technology to be available to realize his idea of breathtakingly realistic flight scenes in which actors actually fly fighter jets. But now that the technology is out there, it might be wiser to pull off a third Top Gun sooner rather than later.
Tom Cruise may seem ageless, but he’s actually almost 60 years old, and the window for his role as Maverick as the protagonist of the Top Gun action movie will close sooner or later. Of course, Cruise is still filming the next two “Mission: Impossible” stunt films, and they must be completed before the movie star can move on to ” Top Gun 3 ,” if, of course, Tom Cruise wants to do it at all. But with “Top Gun: Maverick” going to be an unqualified success, now is the time for Tom Cruise to step on the gas and make “Top Gun” a trilogy.
Top Gun: Maverick – The Biggest Unanswered Questions
The biggest unanswered questions from Top Gun: Maverick, including what happened to the missing characters from the original movie, enemy planes, and more.
Top Gun: Maverick is a huge hit at the box office, but the sequel still leaves a few big questions unanswered. Director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) directs Top Gun: Maverick returns Tom Cruise to the role that launched his career as a rogue Navy pilot who overcomes many trials while training in the Naval Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program USA Directed by Tony Scott in 1986, “Top Gun” became a global phenomenon that is still celebrated today, creating characters that have stood the test of time and built a legacy that is often referred to.
The sequel follows the thread of the original in many ways, bringing viewers back to the saga they fell in love with 36 years ago, reminding them of what made the original such a beloved classic, while introducing new characters and situations to steer the action in a new direction. New stars, new characters, new settings, new enemies and new situations make Top Gun: Maverick a fresh take on the franchise that still delivers on the promise of what made it special from the start. Real jets, a catchy soundtrack, interesting characters and a breathtaking spectacle – Top Gun: Maverick takes off to the heights of its predecessor.
With all that said, Top Gun: Maverick still leaves behind a list of unanswered questions, including the fate of some of the original characters. All of these unanswered questions deserve an explanation. Here is a list of the biggest questions left unanswered in Top Gun: Maverick .
What happened to Viper, Jester and the rest of the Top Gun in 1986?
Both Jester (Michael Ironside) and Viper (Tom Skerritt) were not the last in the first Top Gun movie as mentors, but Top Gun: Maverick is about what happened to them in their subsequent careers. Viper in particular had several key scenes with Maverick that helped turn the tide and get him back in the cockpit after Gus’s death.
The jester of Ironside is an equally important character who in the original has influence on the pilots. Both Skerritt and Ironside could potentially appear in a sequel, but it may have been too difficult since they played their roles well enough to bring all the closure that was needed in the first Top Gun.
However, other pilots, including Slider (Rick Rossovich), Merlin (Tim Robbins), Cougar (John Stockwell), Teen Wolf (Barry Tubb), Sundown (Clarence Gilyard Jr.) and Hollywood (Whip Hubley), will not appear in the sequel, and only Iceman Val Kilmer will appear in a small but significant episode. It would have been easy enough to have at least some of these actors cast for a cameo reappearance, but the focus had shifted mainly to Maverick and the new pilots, so it was hard to fit everyone in.
What happened to Rooster’s mother (how did she die)?
Maverick reveals that Rooster’s mother has died, but the cause of death is not revealed. Meg Ryan played Carol Bradshaw, Rooster’s mother/Gus’s wife, in Top Gun, showing up at one point to visit her husband. Rooster appears in the first Top Gun movie as a child who is revisited in the sequel, most notably in the scene where he plays “Great Balls of Fire” in the Hard Deck bar.
But his mother is not mentioned until the very end of the film, when Maverick, in a conversation with Penny (Jennifer Connelly), reveals that Rooster’s mother did not want him to become a pilot after his father’s death. She apparently asked Maverick “before she died” to keep Rooster from becoming a pilot, causing Maverick to withdraw Rooster’s papers from the Naval Academy, setting him back four years in his career.
Nothing more is said about Carol’s death, but the way it is worded suggests that she died of some sort of terminal illness, as she was able to convey to Maverick what she wanted to do before her death. Rooster never mentions his mother in the film, and Meg Ryan only appears in a flashback, leaving the cause of her death unclear.
What happened to Charlie?
Maverick’s love interest in the first Top Gun, Charlie Kelly McGillis, is not mentioned in the sequel. It’s likely that the two characters just broke up at some point, but in Top Gun: Maverick, as their relationship was an important part of the original movie. Since the release of “Top Gun,” McGillis has been working in Hollywood irregularly and in a recent interview bluntly stated that she was not invited to star in the sequel, saying, “I’m old, fat, and I look my age. And this whole scene is not about that.” However, the question of what happened to such a passionate relationship between the two characters – Maverick and Charlie – will always remain, especially after decades of watching the original film and wondering how it will end.
Who was Penny’s ex-husband/Amelia’s father?
Penny Benjamin, played by Jennifer Connelly, is the owner of the Hard Deck bar in Top Gun: Maverick and turns out to be the same character mentioned in the first film who had an affair with Maverick. In Top Gun, Penny is referred to as “the admiral’s daughter”, meaning she is a military brat, which is how Maverick undoubtedly met her in the very beginning.
It was revealed that Maverick and Penny had several recurring romantic relationships over the years, but they never lasted. However, at some point, about 13 or so years prior, Penny met another person, as she has a daughter, Amelia (Liliana Wray) in Top Gun: Maverick. At one point, Maverick asks Amelia about her father, and she replies that he’s in Hawaii with his new wife, which doesn’t sound like the best situation for her.
Because Penny is deeply connected to the military despite not serving in the military, her ex is almost certainly in service, whether active or retired, but his identity remains a mystery. It is possible that Maverick is personally acquainted with the former Penny, especially if he is or has served in the Navy, but his identity remains unclear.
Why did Rooster want to be a pilot?
While Maverick’s career trajectory is explored in depth in Top Gun: Maverick, very little is said about why Rooster followed in his father’s footsteps and became a pilot as well. Rooster is angry with Maverick for taking his papers from the Naval Academy, setting his career back years, but he never explains or reveals why he wanted to be a pilot.
Much is assumed about Rooster, but almost nothing is explained about his ambitions other than that he simply followed in his father’s footsteps. As a result, the film lacks a few scenes to understand his character, such as why he doesn’t want to push his boundaries. While not everything needs to be talked about directly, Rooster’s choice to become a pilot (like his personal life) in Top Gun: Maverick leaves some of the main character’s key motivations under the radar.
Did Maverick retire at the end of Top Gun 2?
While it is explained that the Top Gun 2 mission will be Maverick’s last (and the Navy’s last flight), there is no definitive answer as to whether he retired or not. Maverick flies as the team leader in the final mission “Top Gun: Maverick”, leading the team to a mostly successful outcome. However, nothing is said about the fact that Maverick actually retired, which is usually a gala event/award in the army, and a more open ending was chosen in the sequel.
The relationship between Maverick and Penny is complete, with both heroes reunited at the end, with Rooster reconciling with Maverick as well. But Maverick’s status in the Navy is not so clear. It’s also possible that Maverick’s status was left in such a way that his story could be continued in a possible third film without having to unravel the issue of resignation.
Who were the enemy fighters in Top Gun: Maverick?
As with the first Top Gun, the enemy remains ambiguous, but a lot can be guessed based on the locations and aircraft used. In the first Top Gun, the Soviet Union was assumed to be the enemy, as the planes used in the film, the MiG-28s, were produced in the Soviet bloc during the Cold War. “Top Gun: Maverick” is following the same ambiguous scheme, this time using Russian 5th generation Su-57 stealth fighters, which are high-tech aircraft, used primarily by Russia and China. The setting is also snowy and mountainous, which also indicates the possibility that this is one of these countries. There are two reasons for this: the producers did not want to portray any one country as a specific villain, as this could lead to a deterioration in diplomatic relations, as well as hurt international box office performance, especially in China. While it is possible to designate aircraft and locations, Top Gun: Maverick doesn’t ultimately leave the viewer with an answer to the question of who the American pilots are fighting.