It’s official! Producer Jerry Bruckheimer recently confirmed the sequel to the 1986 hit movie, Top Gun. The film, tentatively titled Top Gun: Maverick, will head back into the danger zone for a July 12, 2019 theatrical release.
But will Top Gun: Maverick live up to the original? Here are 4 possible storylines for the Top Gun follow-up, and we think they may just be good enough to avoid the dreaded sequel curse. Hollywood, are you listening?
Return of the Son of Goose
Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is now the main instructor at Top Gun in Miramar. His hands are full training Ava Hernandez, a reckless, rough-around-the-edges young pilot with a rocky record who reminds him of himself at that age. But Maverick’s rogueish instructional methods have attracted some negative attention. Nathan Riley is a brilliantly book-smart, arrogant young pencil-pusher who rose quickly through the bureaucracy and is hell-bent on ending Maverick’s career. Tension sizzles between straight-laced Riley and hotheaded Ava; Riley sees the young pilot as a dangerous “Maverick Jr.”
When Riley’s conniving causes Maverick’s wife Charlie to lose her job, Maverick is furious, but his hands are tied as a national security crisis mounts. In the thick of the crisis, Ava attempts a risky flight on her own and gets in trouble. Riley realizes he cares for her, and he gets aboard Maverick’s aircraft as they attempt a daring rescue. When it looks like the two won’t make it out alive, Riley reveals his truth: he is the son of the deceased “Goose” Bradshaw (he changed his surname when his mother remarried) and always resented Maverick and Top Gun for “taking” his real father. They rescue Ava by a hair, but she is badly hurt. In the chaos, Maverick is incapacitated and Riley must land the aircraft on his own, which he miraculously does. In the end, with the crisis successfully averted, Maverick awards Riley with a nickname of his own, and there is the suggestion that Riley and Ava will be together.
Maverick (Tom Cruise) feels like the world is slipping away from him. The camaraderie and devil-may-care spirit that characterized the Top Gun Maverick once knew has gone. People with strictly by-the-book technical knowledge are in charge now, and they insist on populating Miramar with a slick new aircraft model. Maverick doesn’t trust the new model, but no one listens to him.
Matters worsen when he runs into his old flame, Charlie Blackwood–now Charlotte Bruner. Their paths diverged years ago, and Maverick learns that Charlotte married Steven Bruner, a bullish, high-ranking naval officer. She gave up her career to be his housewife and raise their daughter, Frances “Frankie” Bruner. Maverick is stunned that the bright, inimitable “Charlie” has assimilated into a clique of prim, social-climbing military/politician wives. But to the Bruners’ chagrin, Maverick and Frankie bond immediately. Maverick takes Frankie on joyrides in his old aircraft, and Frankie dreams of becoming a Top Gun instructor like him. Charlotte is upset at first, but her daughter’s joy is contagious, and she begins to warm to Maverick.
But just as the two are becoming friends again, one of the socialite wives (who secretly covets Bruner) convinces Bruner that his wife is cheating with Maverick. One day, when Maverick is in the air with Frankie, a bloodthirsty Bruner sends him on a bogus “emergency mission” that will direct him right into an oncoming hurricane–not knowing his daughter is in the aircraft too. When Charlotte realizes what’s happening, she becomes frantic. She reignites her old flight instincts and takes off in one of the new aircrafts. But just as Maverick predicted, the new model is untrustworthy, and soon it is Maverick who must save Charlotte–with Frankie by his side. They rescue her by the skin of their teeth.
In the end, Bruner tries to humiliate his wife in front of their stuffy social circle, but Charlotte proclaims that she is “Charlie” again and rides off into the sunset with Maverick and Frankie.
Maverick and the Top Gun-derdogs
“Top Gun Maverick” has become something of a celebrity at Miramar, where he is still an instructor. But Maverick’s new boss, Sarah Gear, worries that he has become too big for his britches, and that his star power is usurping the solemn purpose of the school. Gear assigns him to training a motley crew of young, inexperienced pilots with questionable records. Their squad will challenge a squad of Miramar’s top flyers in a pre-graduation competition. The odds don’t look good. The pilots in Maverick’s squad each have their own personal demons, and they don’t get along at all.
There’s pretentious legacy pilot Michael “Swing” Julius, rebellious Shay “Duckie” Ramirez, and Eric “Circus” Hobbs, a class clown type. Alex “Freshamn” Yang is quiet but tough as nails and gets into fights. Nina “Phase” Lewis is a strong leader and fiercely competitive. Slowly but surely, Maverick’s charisma and expertise helps the ragtag group bond and increase their flying skills. They choose their nicknames, which cements the feeling of being part of something important, a new sensation for most of the group. Maverick himself feels renewed purpose as a pilot and instructor. But he gets over-confident and takes the group on a dangerous exercise where Circus gets injured as he barely escapes dying. Maverick flashes back to Goose’s death and loses confidence in his abilities as an instructor. Sarah Gear feels vindicated and fires Maverick. But then Circus recovers and the squad defeats the elites in the exciting year-end competition, so Maverick is reinstated in a blaze of glory.
Old Maverick, New Tricks
“Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) has settled into a comfortable life at Miramar. Over the years, he rose through the ranks of instructors, and now he basically runs the whole operation from behind a desk. And he’s at peace with it…until he encounters Logan “Stick” Bradshaw, a prodigious young pilot who earned his nickname for having a stick up his rear end. Maverick learns that Stick is the son of his late friend Goose Bradshaw. Though Stick’s fellow pilots find him stuffy and tease him behind his back, Maverick suspects that Stick’s cautiousness comes from a fear of dying like his father did. So Maverick breaks free from his desk on a mission to teach Stick the true thrills of flight–and maybe help him find love along the way.
What are your brilliant plot ideas for Top Gun: Maverick? Chime in below!