‘Top Gun: Maverick’ has brought the 1986 action-drama back into the public eye. Since their previous trip to the Danger Zone, the cast of the first film has been keeping busy.
Since the release of the first teaser, it has been obvious that the long-awaited follow-up to 1986’s high-flying blockbuster Top Gun will evoke warm feelings in viewers with nostalgic imagery imitating the original movie.
Top Gun: Maverick is a sequel to the Tony Scott-directed original, which had a worldwide gross of $356 million as of Box Office Mojo. It has many of the same heart-pounding aerial combat techniques and shirtless volleyball matches.
Top Gun will always be regarded as the movie that transformed Tom Cruise from teen heartthrob to true leading man, one death-defying sequence at a time. The original movie had a cast of well-known performers whose careers would primarily develop in the years after release.
By the time he was cast as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Tom Cruise’s star was rising. When he stepped into the cockpit of an F-14 Tomcat and faced off against Russian MiGs in Risky Business, Cruise had already established himself as a leading actor and was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.
Rain Man, Eyes Wide Shut, and Collateral are just some of the films in which he has appeared as a leading man in the years after his breakout appearance in The Godfather.
For his major roles in Born on the Fourth of July and Jerry Maguire, as well as his supporting part in Magnolia, he has received three Academy Award nominations for his work as an actor. In Top Gun: Maverick, he reprises his role as the renegade stick jockey, and in Mission: Impossible, he plays the enigmatic spy Ethan Hunt.
Kelly McGillis’s role as an Amish woman alongside Harrison Ford in Witness led to her being cast as Charlie Blackwood in Top Gun by Jerry Bruckheimer.
McGillis appeared in a few films after the popularity of Top Gun, including The Accused in 1988, but he remained primarily a stage actor even after becoming a major star in the late 1980s. Since then, she’s appeared in a slew of independent films, appeared on irregular TV shows, and performed in the theatre.
Val Kilmer was one of several of Top Gun’s stars who was haunted by the film, and he was not an exception. Kilmer was selected to play the role of Iceman, a level-headed and meticulous adversary, after achieving success leading the cast of the teenage science fiction comedy Real Genius.
Iceman, who plays the role of Maverick’s relentless tormentor throughout the movie, eventually thaws into the rebellious attitude of the movie’s hero in a moving sequence of wingmanship toward the close of the movie. Kilmer went on to act in a variety of films after leaving Willow, such as True Romance, Tombstone, Heat, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and The Doors (in which he played frontman Jim Morrison).
Kilmer, who has been sidelined in recent years due to health issues, had a small role in the most recent movie directed by Kevin Smith, which was called Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. In Top Gun: Maverick, he makes a brief appearance as an Iceman in the capacity of a cameo.
His first prominent performance in the boisterous college comedy Revenge of the Nerds in the early 1980s solidified him as a true leading actor in the industry. The role of Goose, a radar intercept officer and Maverick’s constant buddy whose story takes a fatal turn midway through the film, was a huge hit for Edwards in Top Gun.
In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Edwards acted in a variety of TV movies before landing on the medical drama ER, where he played Mark Greene and was nominated for four Emmys for his performance. Billions, Law and Order, and Netflix’s Inventing Anna are just some of the shows he has been in recently. Miles Teller plays Goose’s kid, a rookie pilot who is being mentored by his father’s former wingman in Top Gun: Maverick.
Tom Skerritt had been acting since 1962’s War Hunt when he was cast as the wise instructor pilot Viper. In the 1960s, he appeared frequently on television as a soldier or cowboy, most notably in Combat!, The Virginian, and Gunsmoke.
In Robert Altman’s 1970 satire MASH, he recurred as a soldier alongside Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould. For his role as Capt. Dallas in Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror Alien, is perhaps best remembered.
On television, Skerritt appeared on Cheers and Steel Magnolias as well as won an Emmy for his role as Sheriff Brock in Picket Fences after Top Gun. East of the Mountains, starring Mira Sorvino, will be released in 2021.
Michael Ironside, a native of Canada, began his acting career in the late 1970s, but he became a household name after starring in David Cronenberg’s 1981 sci-fi horror Scanners. Before being cast in Top Gun as Viper’s No. 2 instructor, Jester, he had a string of terrifying roles in low-budget films.
His career was unaffected by the shift in focus, as he proceeded to appear in science fiction films like Starship Troopers, Total Recall, and Highlander II: The Quickening. Acting roles include Tales from the Crypt; Walker, Texas Ranger; ER, and Desperate Housewives in his extensive television career. He has also starred in Hulu’s The Dropout in the past few months.
Despite graduating from UCLA with a degree in Drama in 1982, Tim Robbins was already appearing on the television show St. Elsewhere as a regular cast member. Before he was cast in Top Gun as Merlin, Maverick’s backseater at the end of the film, he had a string of minor roles.
The Shawshank Redemption, in which he played the restrained but brilliant prisoner Andy Dufresne, was Robbins’ big break in the mainstream in the 1990s, although he didn’t really break out as a star until 1988 with Bull Durham.
Mystic River garnered Robbins an Oscar in 2004, and his acting career hasn’t slowed down since; he recently starred in Castle Rock and Dark Waters, both adaptations of Stephen King’s works.
Meg Ryan had starred in only a handful of television shows prior to her role as Carole in Goosebumps, including Rich and Famous and Amityville 3-D. When Harry Met Sally… followed, followed by Sleepless in Seattle, Courage Under Fire, You’ve Got Mail and Kate & Leopold were just a few of the many hits she starred in after Top Gun. With the 2015 release of Ithaca, Ryan made her directorial debut in the film industry.