Top Gun 2 Theory Says Maverick Might Be Killed Off

Top Gun Maverick
Image via Skydance Media

The constantly troubled Mission: Impossible 7 may have recently restarted production, but it was soon followed by the news that it’ll no longer shoot back to back with the eighth installment. Instead, the start of filming has been delayed until November so that Tom Cruise can hit the promotional circuit for Top Gun: Maverick, his other big Paramount sequel of 2021.

This at least confirms that the studio are holding steady on releasing the hotly anticipated aerial action movie into theaters this summer, having resisted the overtures of several streaming services inquiring about the willingness to sell up. Indeed, as a big budget blockbuster starring a proven box office draw in the follow-up to one of his most beloved movies that’s been designed to be seen on the biggest screen possible, there was no chance of Top Gun: Maverick heading straight to streaming.

However, a new theory has put forward the idea that veteran pilot Pete Mitchell might not make it out of the movie alive, and it does make sense in some respects. Of course, Cruise is hardly renowned for being killed off on the screen, and Maverick marks just the third role of his entire career that he’s ever reprised after Ethan Hunt and Jack Reacher, but as per the theory, mirroring the themes of Tony Scott’s classic original, Top Gun 2 could see Mitchell’s constant desire to push the boundaries of his chosen profession come back to haunt him, proving that not even a hotshot pilot with close to four decades of experience behind the cockpit is infallible.

As ScreenRant explains:

It may sound surprising, but considering how much the original Top Gun depicts Maverick’s infamous “need for speed” as a life-endangering obsession that contributes to the tragically early death of Goose, it’s not impossible to picture this drive eventually getting Maverick himself killed too. After all, despite its fun tone, the first movie’s focus on Maverick’s obsessive need for speed and lonely pursuit of perfection does foreshadow the possibility that this “live fast, die hard” attitude will finally catch up with Cruise’s character via the soundtrack’s famous Kenny Loggins track ”Danger Zone”. That hit implies in its lyrics (as does the even more explicit original theme song, Judas Priest’s “Reckless”) that Maverick may well go out, most likely sacrificing himself, in a blaze of glory that proves his single-minded obsession was always going to eventually be his doom. It would be a daringly dark end for the character, but one that would prove thematically fitting for the Top Gun franchise’s recurring themes of obsession and its human cost.

The movie certainly looks a lot more serious than its cheesy predecessor, and such a downbeat ending could also set the stage for more adventures in the same world with a new generation of Top Guns at the forefront. But for now, we’ll just have to wait until later this year to see how it all plays out.