'Top Gun: Maverick': Every Character Who Dies

Top Gun: Maverick finally hits theaters this weekend, 36 years after the original Top Gun solidified Tom Cruise's status as a blockbuster star. The new movie relies heavily on the audience's familiarity with Top Gun, as a major death in that film plays an important role in the new movie. Are there other deaths to worry about in the pulse-pounding Maverick? Spoilers for Top Gun: Maverick follow.

In Top Gun, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) questioned his reckless ways after his best friend Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) died in a plane crash. Maverick blamed himself for Goose's death, even after a Navy investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing. Maverick remains guilt-ridden though in Top Gun: Maverick, which features Miles Teller as Goose's son, Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw.

Through dialogue between Maverick and Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly), we learn that Rooster's mother, Carole (Meg Ryan), died sometime after the events in Top Gun. Carole's last wish was for Rooster not to fly. Instead of giving Rooster a reason to hate his late mother, Maverick lets Rooster think he was the one keeping him on the ground by blocking his first application to flight school. That's why Rooster and Maverick aren't on good terms at the start of the movie.

Carole isn't the only original Top Gun character whose death is confirmed in Maverick. After a heartbreaking scene between Maverick and the now-Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer), Iceman later dies. His funeral comes at a major point in the film, helping Maverick and his students put their differences aside for a moment.

Maverick does not kill off any of the new characters introduced in the film. Lt. Robert "Bob" Floyd (Lewis Pullman) and Lt. Natasha "Phoenix" Trace (Monica Barbaro) crash their plane during a training exercise, instantly reminding audiences of Maverick and Goose's crash. However, they both survive and take part in the final mission. The movie also teases Maverick's death during the finale, but he survives the crash and Rooster saves his life. That way, if Paramount wants to make a Top Gun 3, the studio will not have to worry about the franchise surviving without Cruise.

Maverick is expected to earn Cruise his first-ever $100 million-plus opening weekend. The movie will open in 4,732 North American cinemas, the widest launch in movie history, reports Variety. It is estimated to make up to $130 million through Memorial Day. Incredibly, Cruise has never had a movie open with more than $64 million, the mark War of the Worlds reached in 2005. Even Mission: Impossible – Fallout started with $61 million in 2018.