This year’s San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) opened with the trailers for some of the most anticipated movies of the near future, one of which is Top Gun: Maverick – the long-awaited follow-up to the beloved ‘80s action movie about fighter jets and beach volley ball. The sequel will follow an older Maverick (Tom Cruise) as he trains a new generation of fighter pilots in a time when his profession seems to be on the way out.
Besides Maverick, some familiar names such as Iceman (Val Kilmer) have been confirmed to return for the sequel, though some have yet to be announced or are not involved in the movie at all. Here are seven characters that we want to see come back in Top Gun: Maverick and three who we’d prefer not to return.
10 Don’t Want: The MiG Pilots
Top Gun is best remembered for the tense dogfights between the American pilots and their nameless counterparts from some unnamed country (read: the Soviet Union), but this antagonistic force belongs in the ‘80s.
The thinly-veiled Russian air force is an undeniable sign of the times that the first movie was released in, and their inclusion in Maverick would only make it look like a lost piece of Cold War-era media. Unless the MiG pilots also grapple with the new world where they could be phased out, they’re better left in the past.
9 Want: Top Gun Class of 1986
While it has yet to be confirmed, it seems that Maverick is the last man standing from the original group of pilots from the first movie. So far, only Iceman has been confirmed for an appearance, leaving the fates of the likes of Slider, Hollywood, Wolfman, and Rising Sun up in the air.
Since Maverick looks like it’ll pass the torch to a new generation of fighter pilots, it would be nice to know what became of the original group before moving on. After all, famous scenes like the dogfights or the volley ball game wouldn’t happen without them.
8 Want: Cougar
Early in Top Gun, the promising fighter pilot Cougar gets spooked by his close encounter with a hostile MiG that could’ve turned deadly in a heartbeat. Realizing that his newborn child could’ve become an orphan in a second, he quits the navy and presumably focuses on being a family man.
Now decades after he quit, it would be nice to see what Cougar’s been up to and how he’s been coping with his life-changing decision. It would also be interesting to see if he’s come to regret his choice or if he found his true calling outside the navy.
7 Want: Viper
Maverick wouldn’t be who he is today without his commanding officer Mike “Viper” Metcalf, who also served with his father back in the Vietnam War. Thanks to Viper, Maverick finally learned what really happened to his father and regained the confidence to fly after Goose’s unfortunate accident.
Given how much of an impact Viper had on a young Maverick, it would be a shame for him not to return or at least be mentioned in the upcoming sequel. Currently, Ed Harris seems to have taken the mentoring role so only time will tell if Viper comes back.
6 Don’t Want: Goose
Long-gestating sequels like Maverick are made with old-school fans in mind, and it’d be tempting to many of the old cast back for nostalgia’s sake. In the case of Top Gun, this was inevitable but one character who shouldn’t return is Goose.
This may seem implausible, but remember that Harry Hart returned in the Kingsman sequel despite being shot in the face. Outside of contradicting Top Gun’s grounded tone, reviving Goose would also nullify Maverick’s growth. Goose’s death was a pivotal tragedy in Maverick’s life and his return would just revert Maverick to who he originally was.
5 Want: Goose’s Family
On the other hand, Goose can in return in spirit through his family. This seems to be the case, since Miles Teller has already been cast as the co-pilot’s now adult son Bradley but the Bradshaw family won’t be complete without Goose’s wife Carole.
It would be a welcome sight for fans to see Goose’s fun-loving personality live through his son and (hopefully) wife, plus it’d be sobering to find out how they’ve moved on in the decades since his death. Most of all, it’ll provide some closure for Maverick’s irreplaceable second half.
4 Want: Charlie
Thanks to the civilian contractor Charlie, Maverick was able to ground himself and find someone to genuinely care for when he’s not risking his life in the Danger Zone. Charlie not only humbled Maverick but she was there for him when he needed someone the most.
Top Gun also ended with Charlie and Maverick reconciling, hinting that they rekindled their relationship after the pilot rediscovered his passion for flying. Leaving Charlie out of Maverick wouldn’t just be strange but ill-advised as well, since she’s as important to the story as Maverick’s co-pilot.
3 Want: Iceman
The cold and calculating Iceman may have started as Maverick’s rival but he quickly became his best wingman by the end of the movie, after both pilots proved their worth and respect to one another.
Top Gun wouldn’t be the same without Iceman and it’d be great to see Val Kilmer revisit one of his iconic roles. Maverick confirms that Iceman will be back, so hopefully he’ll be a wiser and respectful version of his once arrogant self. How he’ll interact with Tom Cruise is something to look forward to.
2 Don’t Want: Maverick The Hotshot
When he first entered Top Gun, Maverick was a cocky ace pilot with the skills but none of the experience. His character arc was learning how to be a wingman for his fellow pilots while also putting his ego aside. If the sequel brings back this side of Maverick, it would render the original movie a waste.
It also doesn’t help that Maverick – like Tom Cruise – is most probably in his 50’s by the time the sequel begins. Having him act like an overconfident playboy pilot at such an age wouldn’t just be backwards but oddly pathetic as well.
1 Want: Maverick The Veteran
By the end of Top Gun, Maverick was a changed man who was willing to be a better pilot’s wingman instead of leading the charge. Top Gun: Maverick has the unique opportunity to show an icon of the 80s action genre grow up, continuing where the original ended.
Hopefully, this is exactly what Maverick has planned. Learning why Maverick was repeatedly denied promotions (or why he turned them down) despite his experience would make for an interesting arc, especially since he closed Top Gun by saying that he wanted to become the flight school’s next instructor.