Top Gun: Maverick continues to be a hit at the box office. You may be interested in the film but also find it daunting to go into a sequel if you haven’t watched the original.
So, should you give in and watch Top Gun? Or is it okay to not watch it before watching Top Gun: Maverick?
It is not absolutely necessary to watch Top Gun before watching Top Gun: Maverick as the story is not a direct sequel, does not feature most of the main cast and takes place 30 years later with new characters. However, watching the first film would be good for context.
In case you don’t have time to watch Top Gun but want to give Top Gun: Maverick a try, I definitely think you should go ahead! To make things easier for you, here’s what happens in the first film.
A Brief Summary of Top Gun
The film introduces us to the US navy pilot school, Fighter Weapons School, which is more popularly referred to as Top Gun. It was established in 1969 and aims to make pilots experts in aerial combat.
After disobeying some orders, best friends Maverick and Goose are sent off to Top Gun where they meet other elite pilots like themselves and even find competition in a duo called Iceman and Slider.
Before their training officially commences, the pilots head for a night out and Maverick makes a move on a lady he meets at the bar. This is Charlie, who turns out to be one of his teachers.
But, of course, that doesn’t deter him and the two pursue a sort of secretive-casual romance.
The first half deals a lot with how Maverick despite being the ace he is, can also make moves that come across as reckless or irresponsible. At one point, even Goose tells him to call it off and act seriously.
But there is a rude awakening right around the corner for Maverick. All this while, pilots have also been trying to score points in order to win the Top Gun trophy. Maverick has been doing everything in his power to win, including leaving his wingman hanging during a hop.
Maverick forgets that when he focuses on him winning, he can end up hurting those closest to him. Yup, you read that right—during the next training session, Maverick makes some moves to jeopardize Iceman’s score but inevitably it backfires, leading to Goose’s death.
Although he is cleared of any accountability, Maverick quits Top Gun after the incident. During this time, one of Top Gun’s officials, Viper, tells Maverick how he fought alongside his father in Vietnam. He uses this anecdote to convince Maverick to graduate.
But at the graduation, Maverick and a few other pilots are picked to go on a mission that suddenly crops up. In the skies, Maverick seems to have lost all his charm and skill. There comes a decisive moment where he must act quickly or risk losing his teammates in combat.
Fortunately, he seems to get a grip of himself, saves Iceman and shoots down three enemy MiGs. Mission successful! It’s the perfect ending, as Maverick flies into the sunset with his girl, Charlie.
About Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick is a Paramount film (and sequel) starring Tom Cruise who reprises his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell from the 1986 Top Gun. It is directed by Joseph Kosinski, with a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie and a story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks.
Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer are part of the cast.
The film sees Maverick’s return to the US Navy pilots as he trains a new squad of aviators, preparing them for a dangerous mission. Upon release, the movie was a massive success and became the highest grossing film of Tom Cruise so far.