Top Gun 3 Needs To Leave Maverick Behind (For The Franchise’s Future)


Top Gun 3 should leave Tom Cruise’s Maverick behind to ensure the franchise’s future. Almost four decades since he debuted his most iconic role in Tony Scott’s Top Gun, Cruise reprises his role as the daredevil pilot, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick. The sequel focuses on Maverick’s professional and personal arc and ends with the perfect happy ending for the character. Due to Top Gun: Maverick’s impressive success, it’s only a matter of time before Top Gun 3 is officially ordered, but despite being the face of the franchise, the threequel needs to intentionally keep Cruise’s Maverick from appearing in the film.


While Top Gun: Maverick effectively revives that film series, Top Gun 3 will be a transitional film, and to fully get it off the ground, it needs to move beyond Cruise’s Maverick and position his contemporaries as the next big players of the franchise. Aside from revisiting Mitchell’s story, Kosinski’s sequel also introduced a new generation of capable Navy pilots led by Goose’s (Anthony Edwards) son, Rooster (Miles Teller), and Maverick’s real successor, Hangman (Glen Powell). Crafting a story that focuses on them is imperative to ensure that the burgeoning Top Gun franchise has the legs to continue for the foreseeable future and it’s difficult to do that if Maverick will play the leading role in the proposed threequel. Instead, Top Gun 3 can sideline Mitchell temporarily and center on developing Rooster and Hangman’s relationship, as well as, individual arcs. Once they are properly established characters, the Top Gun universe can bring back Maverick as some sort of mentor. This ensures that Cruise continues to have an important place in the franchise even as he grows older.

Related: Top Gun: Maverick Has One Very Important Untold Story

Maverick Skipping Top Gun 3 Is Good

Aside from benefiting the franchise as a whole, Mitchell skipping Top Gun 3 is also good for the character. While it’s uncertain if Maverick retired in Top Gun: Maverick, the film gave him the perfect send-off. After successfully carrying out the almost impossible mission, he has effectively repaired his image in the Navy. He also rekindled his romance with Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly) and his relationship with Rooster couldn’t be any better. Bringing him back right away in Top Gun 3 risks undoing his great ending in Top Gun: Maverick. By delaying his return to the franchise, Paramount can let his story breathe before he inevitably deals with new chaos in the threequel.

Can Top Gun Survive Without Tom Cruise?

Cruise is synonymous with the Top Gun films being the face of the franchise, not to mention the primary creative force behind it. Admittedly it would be difficult to move forward without him. Just because Maverick will be sidelined in the inevitable Top Gun 3, however, doesn’t mean that Cruise won’t be totally involved in the movie. Instead, he can work behind the camera as a producer to make sure that the burgeoning franchise is on the right track. He can also lead the stunts team the way he did with Top Gun: Maverick.

Suffice it to say, there’s no Top Gun franchise without Cruise, but to ensure its future, it needs to let go of him, at least for now. At the very least, Top Gun 3 should limit Maverick’s involvement if Paramount isn’t comfortable doing an installment without him, In any case, this also works in terms of Cruise’s schedule since he is all booked up for the next few years. If they wait for him, it might be too late to capitalize on Top Gun: Maverick’s popularity with a follow-up.

Next: Top Gun 3 Can Continue Maverick & Iceman’s MissIng Story


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