When Top Gun: Maverick made its theatrical debut in May 2022, many were excited to see some of the original cast from the first film, including Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, return to the sequel. Someone that was notably missing from the project was Meg Ryan. Although it made headlines when Top Gun: Maverick was initially released, it has been brought up again now that the movie has started streaming on Paramount Plus on Dec. 22.
In 1986’s Top Gun, Ryan, a new actress, played Carole Bradshaw. Carole was the wife of naval flight officer Nick Bradshaw and the mother to Bradley Bradshaw. Actor Anthony Edwards portrayed Nick. In the movie, Nick would ultimately pass away after he and his pilot Daniel Oxley had to get out of their tomcat plane because of an engine failure.
Despite the tragedy, Carole didn’t die in the first movie, but in Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel revealed that she did pass away years before it was shot. This was because Ryan had stepped away from the entertainment industry in 2016 and didn’t reprise her role. Ryan made this decision after her son Jack Quaid, whom she shares with ex-husband Dennis Quaid, graduated from high school. It is reported that Ryan decided to leave because she was overworked and burnt out. The 61-year-old has since moved to New York City. Ryan’s last starring role was in The Woman, released in 2008. The last movie she appeared in 2016’s Ithaca.
Top Gun: Maverick follows test pilot Pete Mitchell (Tom Cruise) as he trains Top Gun graduates for a mission when he is faced with Nick and Carole’s son Bradley Bradshaw who makes the assignment a bit challenging. Since the movie’s release, it has grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide, producing four times more than the original. Top Gun made $357 million following its 1986 debut.
To watch Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick, fans can stream it on Paramount Plus.