Top Gun

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

Top Gun 3 can tell the missing story of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) and Tom “Iceman” Kazansky’s (Val Kilmer) story. Despite the long wait, Top Gun: Maverick was worth it, becoming the biggest commercial hit of the year and the fifth biggest domestic grosser of all time. Given this, there’s an expectation that it’s only a matter of time before Top Gun 3 is greenlit.

Paramount has yet to officially order the Top Gun threequel despite the clear clamor for it. According to reports, Cruise’s schedule could delay Top Gun 3. Luckily, the proposed film has two potential leads after Top Gun: Maverick set up Maverick’s successors: Hangman (Glen Powell) and Rooster (Miles Teller). Aside from Top Gun 3 continuing their story, putting this new generation of Navy pilots at the forefront of its storytelling could also tell the untold story of Iceman and Maverick.

Like Hangman and Rooster, Iceman and Maverick started as rivals at TOPGUN Academy. After the final dogfight in the original Top Gun film, the pair developed a newfound respect for each other. More than three decades later, Top Gun: Maverick confirmed that their friendship not only stood the test of time but also got stronger. As Iceman climbed the ranks in the Navy, he made it a conscious effort to look after his flying partner, who was still struggling with his personal and professional life as he continued to be haunted by the death of Maverick’s RIO, Goose (Anthony Edwards).

Given the long gap between the films, the burgeoning Paramount franchise wasn’t able to fully show how Maverick and Iceman’s friendship developed over the years. This time, however, they have the chance to delve deeper into the blossoming dynamic between Hangman and Rooster as they are expected to become the new faces of the Top Gun series via Top Gun 3. It can be remembered that at the end of Top Gun: Maverick, the once intense competitors have set aside their differences and acknowledged that both of them are great pilots.

Top Gun 3 Needs Rooster AND Hangman

The Top Gun sequel leaves Maverick in a great place, both personally and professionally. After successfully carrying out the final dangerous mission in Top Gun: Maverick, he restored his image in the Navy and earned him the respect of his superiors and subordinates. The experience also helped him patch things up with Rooster, which led to him eventually rekindling his romance with Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly). Arguably, Top Gun: Maverick could function as the franchise’s ending.

Evidently, there’s hope that he returns for the potential Top Gun 3, but in the event that Cruise is unable to appear or forced to take a reduced role due to his other commitments, Rooster and Hangman should share the burden of carrying the film. This will help the burgeoning franchise to transition from being Cruise’s story to his contemporaries easier as the proposed Top Gun 3 tackles two separate but complementary narratives — something that they could have done with Maverick and Iceman but wasn’t able to.

In an ideal world, the Top Gun franchise would have shown more of Maverick and Iceman’s friendship over the years. The pair’s relationship was one of the emotional cores of Top Gun: Maverick; luckily, the limited screentime they shared was so brilliantly-done, including Kilmer and Iceman’s send-off. Hopefully, Top Gun 3 recognizes that they can make up for this missed opportunity with Hangman and Rooster.


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