'Top Gun: Maverick' Director Reveals Why Meg Ryan and Kelly McGillis Weren't Invited Back for Sequel

When Top Gun: Maverick debuts in theaters, fans will see Top Gun (1986) actors Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer reunited on-screen as Maverick and Iceman. However, two other Top Gun stars, Meg Ryan and Kelly McGillis, weren't invited back for the sequel. While fans will surely wonder why this is, Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinsk has already explained the reason.

"Those weren't stories that we were throwing around," Kosinski told Insider when asked about the actresses being absent. He added, "I didn't want every storyline to always be looking backwards. It was important to introduce some new characters." Notably, back in 2019, McGillis spoke with ET about not being part of the film, and had her own guess as to why she was not asked to join the cast of Top Gun: Maverick. "I'm old, and I'm fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is," McGillis quipped. "And that is not what that whole scene is about."

In Top Gun, the 62-year-old actress played Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood, the love interest for Tom Cruise's LT Pete "Maverick" Mitchell. Ryan portrayed Carole Bradshaw, the wife of Anthony Edwards' LTJG Nick "Goose" Bradshaw, who was Maverick's best friend. In Top Gun: Maverick, Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) was cast as a new love interest for Maverick, playing Penelope "Penny" Benjamin.

In her continued conversation with ET, McGillis explained that even if she was asked to be part of the new Top Gun film, there was no guarantee she'd be available. "You know what, I don't know how to answer that because one, it hasn't happened," she replied after being asked if she'd consider participating in promotion for the movie. "Two, if and when it did happen, I would have to assess where I am, what I'm doing, what's going on ... I can't project what I would or wouldn't do in the future. I have no idea because I don't know where I'll be."

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"Movies are odd things. I don't really keep in touch with anybody," she went on to say, then revealing that at the time of her conversation with the outlet she had not yet seen the recently released trailer for the sequel. McGillis continued, "I think I've spoken to a couple of people occasionally, but the truth is, movies are very odd work situations because you have a lot of people who come together from all different parts of the world." Top Gun: Maverick opens in theaters on Friday, May 26.