The blockbuster '80s classic Top Gun came soaring into theaters over 30 years ago, giving us the best aerial dogfights ever captured on screen, and a story of the camaraderie and bravery of the pilots and NFO's who attend one of the most prestigious training programs in the world. We followed Pete "Maverick" Mitchell into the Danger Zone, as he strove for greatness at the Top Gun school, and flew by his own rules.
Looking back on that raucous display of concentrated testosterone now, we realize that amidst the clouds of jet fuel, there were many plot points introduced that quickly disappear like a Tomcat hitting Mach 10. Maverick gets routinely chewed out for buzzing the tower, but each time, there's never a threat of losing his wings. And what was so heinous about his father's actions that it almost prevented Maverick from getting into the Academy? Read on below for these and other storylines that were never resolved.
10 GOOSE'S FAMILY
When Maverick and Goose take a Tomcat up for a routine training exercise, none of them expect it to end in tragedy. One of their engines goes, and they begin dropping in altitude. Goose goes to eject from his seat, and his head slams against the canopy, killing him.
Maverick blames himself for Goose's death, even though he isn't found to be responsible. What happened to Goose's family? His son is said to be appearing in Top Gun: Maverick, but did Maverick have any contact with him over the years?
9 MAVERICK AND CHARLIE
The relationship between Maverick and Charlie went from grounded to Mach 10, with little in between. He was either sulking to himself and riding his motorcycle really fast, or languishing at her house taking cold showers after intense love making.
What began as a hot-for-teacher storyline between the hotshot pilot and his civilian technical instructor turned into Charlie leaving a cushy post in Washington D.C. for him. She disappeared at the end of the film only to return just as the soaring chords of Berlin's "Take My Breathe Away" began. Will we find out what happened to her?
8 MAVERICK GETTING THAT VOLLEYBALL REMATCH
The volleyball scene is legendary in Top Gun, maybe even more so than the aerial sequences. Even those that haven't witnessed its glory know of its existence. At the time of filming, Top Gun was located at Naval Air Station Miramar, which is right outside San Diego, so there was plenty of beach for the recruits to blow off steam.
Maverick left before he and Goose could have a rematch between Iceman and Slider, with Goose dogging Maverick to play before he waved them on and hopped on his motorcycle. Will a rematch happen? Top Gun was moved to Naval Air Station Fallon in northern Nevada in 1996, so maybe there'll be volleyball in Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe?
7 THE MiGs
Though Top Gun doesn't exactly come right out and say it, the fictitious MiG aircraft are flown by pilots of some nation that America was tangling with at the time. It's not just their design, it's the red star on the pilot's helmets as well as the oxygen masks they wear. This places them as either Russian, Chinese, or North Korean.
After they engaged Maverick, Iceman, and the rest and were properly stomped, they altered course and returned to their carrier or base. What did they report to their superiors? Were there any repercussions? Will we see some version of them again?
6 MAVERICK AND ICEMAN FLYING TOGETHER
Though Iceman and Maverick visibly detested each other onscreen, they each knew the other was a capable pilot. Iceman was a walking FAA regulation handbook, with a strict adherence to protocol, while Maverick was a loose canon, prone to doing barrel-rolls mid-flight and buzzing the tower.
Nevertheless, after Maverick came to Iceman's aid in his time of need against the MiG's, he uttered the famous line, "You can be my wingman anytime" to which Maverick responded, "You can be mine". With the begrudging respect earned, did they continue flying together, maybe the new F-35s? Or did the presence of drone aircraft change all that?
5 MAVERICK BECOMING AN INSTRUCTOR
At the conclusion of the film, Maverick can pretty much have any posting he wants, so elated are the Navy brass with him for what they would have chewed him out for earlier in the movie. He wants nothing more than to be like his buddy Viper and become an instructor.
By now, most Top Gun fans have seen the trailer for Top Gun: Maverick, and we know that Maverick only has the rank of Captain after more than 30 years. While he wasn't busy moving up in the ranks, we can assume that he was fulfilling his dream of being an instructor.
4 MAVERICK'S REP
Throughout the film, there are many occurrences when Maverick should have lost his wings. His reckless method of flying routinely puts himself and others in danger. He almost didn't make it into the Academy because he was "Duke Mitchell's son", implying that his father had a similar reputation for skirting the rules.
Usually having another family member in the military gives a new recruit a leg up, not down. Besides, according to Viper, who flew with his father in Vietnam, he was a hero that flew with distinction until his plane was lost somewhere behind enemy lines. We never really found out why the family reputation was so sullied.
After an unsettling engagement with the MiG early on in the film, one pilot (call-sign Cougar) was so shaken he could barely land his F-14. What was a standard flight drill caused him to understand that the moment the MiG locked onto his Tomcat with the intent to fire, he might never see his family again.
Now this incident was important to the narrative because Cougar's exit helped pave the way for Maverick to take his place at Top Gun. Cougar was said to be an even better pilot than Maverick, so it's interesting that he was never mentioned again.
2 MAVERICK'S CRAZY FLYING
Maverick has a fitness report that states in bold that he's a "wild card" and "unpredictable", yet his superiors still allow him to fly. He's constantly barrel-rolling, inverting, and buzzing the tower (and therefore wasting a lot of good coffee). Why is it that Viper, Jester, or anyone else didn't have his wings?
He's constantly chewed out throughout the film, but never washes out, for reasons the film doesn't exactly explain. Maybe it's because all of his superiors are Vietnam Vets and have seen some things, delighting in the errant chaos he represents.
1 DUKE MITCHELL
We establish early on in the film that Maverick was deeply affected by the death of his father in the Vietnam War. What we don't know, is why the reputation of his pilot father would prevent him from getting a spot in the Academy, considering Viper explains he "flew with distinction".
Apparently, most of his heroic fighting was done across enemy lines, and apparently going down over there didn't sit well with the brass back home. Wouldn't he still be lauded as a hero, no matter the circumstances? If anything, didn't he show extreme valor? We may never know the real story there.