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Rooster’s Maverick Hatred Must Go Beyond Goose’s Death

Rooster clearly harbors a grudge against Maverick in Top Gun: Maverick, but his anger should go beyond Goose’s death, in the original film.

Rooster (Miles Teller) is clearly mad at Maverick (Tom Cruise) in Top Gun: Maverick, but his anger should go beyond the death of Goose (Anthony Edwards). After more than three decades, not to mention countless release delays, the sequel to Top Gun is finally releasing in theaters this May. As suggested by its title, Top Gun: Maverick will be an introspection of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell as he’s haunted by the past, particularly regarding the tragic demise of his former RIO, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw.

The important scene in the original Top Gun film saw Maverick and his rival, Iceman (Val Kilmer) alongside their respective RIOs locked in an intense training session when a freak accident happened. Mitchell flew directly through a jet wash, resulting in his aircraft suffering a flame out of both engines, ending in a fatal flat spin. Unfortunately, while Maverick was able to safely eject from his aircraft, his RIO didn’t. He hit the canopy on his way out, with the intense impact causing Goose’s death. The tragedy haunted Mitchell for the rest of the film, and decades later, it continues to do so as he encounters his late flying partner’s son.

Related: Top Gun 2 Trailer’s Iceman Role Reveal Makes The First Movie Better

Top Gun: Maverick‘s central conflict is highlighted in its new trailer. As Maverick attempts to coach Rooster about the dos and donts of flying, the young Bradshaw responds by saying that he isn’t going to commit the same mistake as his dad did in trusting him, implying that Bradley thinks that Maverick is to blame for the death of Goose. But while this makes sense – after all, there was a time that Maverick also thought it was his fault – this seems pretty weak to be the movie’s emotional core. For starters, Maverick has already been absolved of any responsibilities for what happened. Secondly, even Carole Bradshaw (Meg Ryan), Goose’s wife and Bradley’s mom didn’t have any ill-will towards Maverick. In the original Top Gun film, she even consoled her late husband’s flying partner after seeing how grief-stricken he was. Given this, it’s best if Top Gun: Maverick reveals more about the strained relationship between Maverick and Rooster beyond the tragic death of Goose. 

There’s a chance that Mitchell promised that he would keep in touch to make sure that the young Bradshaw and his mom were okay and Bradley counted on that only to be disappointed. It isn’t outside the realm of possibility that Maverick flaked out, knowing how emotionally immature he can be. Otherwise, it’s also possible that he simply got too busy to keep in touch regularly until they totally lost ties with each other. In this case, it could be a simple case of miscommunication that they never got to address until they reunite at TOPGUN. Whatever the case may be, what’s important is that Top Gun: Maverick establishes a better reason for Rooster’s anger towards Maverick. 

In the end, it’s safe to say that Rooster and Maverick will be able to get past their differences, whatever they indeed are. Depending on how Paramount and Cruise’s plans, Top Gun: Maverick can be the launching pad of a brand-new franchise. The sequel could function as Maverick’s swan song as Rooster – or any other younger pilot – takes over the story moving forward. But, since the upcoming blockbuster is meant to focus on its titular character, it’s important that it deals with all his lingering issues from the first Top Gun film. 

More: Top Gun 2 Trailer Proves Maverick Hasn’t Learned His First Movie Lesson

  • Top Gun: Maverick/Top Gun 2 (2022)Release date: May 27, 2022

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