Top Gun: Maverick ending explained - does Maverick die?
Tom Cruise is back as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in the blockbuster sequel **SPOILER WARNING**
Tom Cruise has taken our breath away once again.
Top Gun: Maverick has finally arrived in cinemas as we join Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Cruise) decades after the original 1986 film, Top Gun.
Still a masterful pilot who doesn't follow the rules, Maverick is tasked with training a team of the best pilots in the United States Air Force to prepare for one of the most dangerous missions in its history.
However, Maverick did not expect to come face to face with the son of his late friend "Goose", Lieutenant Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (Miles Teller).
Amidst this fresh tension, Maverick also rekindles a romance with an old flame, pursuing passion with bar owner and single mother Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly).
Does Maverick manage to help his team succeed and does he survive the dangerous mission?
**Spoiler warning for Top Gun: Maverick**
Top Gun: Maverick ending explained
Does Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell die in Top Gun: Maverick?
No, Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell survives the events of Top Gun: Maverick.
Despite facing his most dangerous mission yet, Maverick leads a team to destroy a uranium enrichment facility of an unnamed rogue nation and against all odds they succeed.
Despite crash-landing in enemy territory, the son of Maverick's late friend LTJG Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards, appearing via archive footage), Lieutenant Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, goes back to rescue his father's friend and the pair manage to make it back in one piece.
At the final hurdle returning to their ship, the pair are attacked after stealing an enemy aircraft but are rescued by shots from their comrade, Lieutenant Jake "Hangman" Seresin (Glenn Powell).
What happens to Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky, played by Val Kilmer?
In emotional scenes late in the film, Maverick learns that his old friend Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky has died.
The pair had been shown in consistent communication with each other via text messages in the film, with Iceman looking out for Maverick in his career and offer advice.
In a key scene of the film, Maverick pays a visit to Iceman's home and we see that the admiral is suffering from throat cancer and must type his words out to communicate with Maverick.
However, towards the end of the conversation, Iceman speaks with difficulty but verbalises that Maverick needs to help and stick with their all-important mission.
The pair say a heartfelt goodbye and, not long after, Maverick is informed that Iceman has died.
Maverick and other key characters go on to attend Iceman's funeral, with Maverick tearfully saluting his late comrade in arms.
Why did Maverick and Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw fall out?
Maverick had previously sabotaged Rooster's attempts to go to flight school as he feared he was not ready and would die in a similar manner to his father, Nick "Goose" Bradshaw.
Additionally, it is revealed that Rooster's late mother and Goose's wife, LTJG Carole Bradshaw (Meg Ryan, appearing via archive footage) had made Maverick promise to look out for her son and stop him from following in his father's footsteps to protect her son.
Maverick had kept this from Rooster and the pair lost touch until Rooster ends up on the team of selected pilots for the special mission with Maverick as his instructor after he was hired with help from Iceman.
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Does Maverick end up back with Penny, played by Jennifer Connelly?
Top Gun: Maverick reveals that Maverick had engaged in an on-off romantic relationship with bar owner Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly) for years.
It is revealed that Maverick has consistently broken Penny's heart when he ends up leaving her as part of his cyclical behaviour, with Penny's teenage daughter Amelia Benjamin (Lyliana Wray) warning him not to do it again.
Penny proves great support to Maverick throughout the film and by the end of the sequel, the pair are in a serious relationship with Maverick promising to be different this time.
Does Kelly McGillis appear as Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood in Top Gun: Maverick?
The lead female character of the 1986 film Top Gun and the love interest of Maverick, Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood, does not return.
Actress Kelly McGillis was not asked to reprise the role and Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski has revealed that returns for McGillis and fellow female co-star Meg Ryan were never considered.
Speaking to Insider, Kosinski said: "Those weren't stories that we were throwing around."
"I didn't want every storyline to always be looking backwards", he added, continuing: "It was important to introduce some new characters."
Meanwhile, speaking to Entertainment Tonight in 2019, McGillis herself confirmed that she had not been asked to return for Top Gun: Maverick.
She said: "I'm old and I'm fat and I look age-appropriate for what my age is. And that is not what that whole scene is about."
Charlie is not mentioned in the film, so we will never know what happened between her and Maverick...for now.
- Read More: Top Gun: Maverick director explains why female characters didn't return
- Read More: Meet the cast of Top Gun: Maverick
- Read More: Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack – All the songs in the sequel
Top Gun: Maverick is out now in UK cinemas. While you're waiting, visit our Movies hub for more news and features or find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide.
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