All Maverick Easter Eggs and References to the Original Top Gun

One of the most interesting aspects of Top Gun: Maverick this is how he bridged the generation gap so well. With the return of Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, he significantly evolved the franchise as his Navy crew had to destroy a uranium enrichment facility that used more advanced fighter jets than the ‘America. However, the movie didn’t ignore the past at all, sticking to what made the franchise’s first entry so successful in the ’80s. With that in mind, let’s break down the Easter eggs and references made to the first movie.


Maverick’s opening credits are a nod to the original Top Gun

maverickThe opening title sequence of High GunThe opening scene of, where American jets prepare for the skies. In addition to the same font, the same music was used: Harold Faltermeyer’s theme song, which switched to “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins. The opening also began with the Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films lightning bolt logo. It was a tribute to them producing High Gun and a tribute to Simpson who died in 1996.

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Maverick’s old gear remained intact

The opening went to Maverick with all of his gear from the previous film, including his aviator goggles, bomber jacket, and that iconic Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle. Maverick always rode without a helmet, something he was called out for in the 1986 film, showing early on that he wasn’t one to follow the rules.

Penny was the Admiral’s daughter

Jennifer Connelly’s Penny is Maverick’s new love when he returned to the Top Gun program in Los Angeles. But she’s also a callback to the first movie where Goose taunted Maverick about “a story of high-speed passes over five air traffic control towers and an admiral’s daughter!” Goose referred to this girl as Penny, so Connelly’s role came full circle.


Pete always buzzed the tower in Maverick

“Tower hum” occurs when an aircraft flies close to the tower, usually for visual inspection and at slow speeds. However, Maverick repeatedly did this at high speed to annoy flight control and his superiors in his youth. The sequel had Maverick starting all over again, once again leaving superiors like Jon Hamm’s Admiral Cyclone angry that Pete wasn’t growing up.

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Goose’s ghost haunted the cast of Maverick

The Superior gun the sequel had many shots from the original of Goose’s death, as well as him singing Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire” to his family with Pete at a bar. Ironically, Goose’s son, Rooster, took the piano and sang that song at the bar as well. The movie also had Rooster looking at lots of footage of Goose and Pete, as well as his dead mother. Plus, Rooster rocked his dad’s mustache, not to mention he and Maverick talked to the ghost of Goose for inspiration. To top it off, Pete continued to relive the heartbreak of Goose’s poor ejection, compounded by some accusations doing the same after their jet was damaged in practice.


Iceman makes a tragic return in Top Gun: Maverick

The sequel also featured plenty of photos and flashbacks to Pete and Val Kilmer’s Iceman. Their rivalry drove the 1986 film, but this time Ice was a mentor. He inspired Pete to train new pilots, even joking with him about being the best pilot. Sadly, Iceman died in this off-screen film, nodding to Kilmer’s real-life battle with cancer. The closing credits also referred to him as “Ice”, nodding to his shortened nickname at the end of the first film.

The teachers were incognito at Maverick’s Bars

In the original version Superior gun, Maverick flirted with Charlie at the bar, without realizing that she was his teacher. It made him red in the face the next day, but they would get over that bump and start a relationship. maverick remixed this by having the new recruits kick Pete out of Penny’s bar after he couldn’t pay the bill, not realizing he would be mentoring them in the next few weeks.


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Maverick still hates hard decks

The “hard deck” is the lowest altitude the jets can fly for missions – a rule that Pete flouted a lot in the first movie, often getting him in trouble. He did the same in the new movie, but this time with better purpose. Maverick descended to 300 feet to show Cyclone and the trainees how low they had to be to bombard the enemy installation and that the mission was feasible.

Top Gun: Maverick Brought The Sport Back

The first one Superior gun the cadets showed off hot beach bodies and bonded via volleyball. Good, maverick had the new generation of riders doing the same, but this time the chiseled crew played “dogfight football” on the sand. This annoyed Cyclone, but Pete made it clear that it would make them family.

The Wingman Rule Repeats in Top Gun: Maverick

Not giving up on your wingman is crucial in dogfighting and something Pete struggled to grasp in the first film. Luckily, the sequel had him conveying that message a lot to the new breed of pilots. This is why he took Hangman off the mission, realizing he would make the same mistake Pete had made in his youth.

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Final Harkened to Top Gun Mission Quotes

In the sequel, Maverick would constantly tell his juniors, “Don’t think, do it!” — a retread of his dialogue from High Gun: “You don’t have time to think up there. If you think, you’re dead.” This helped Rooster save Pete in the final act. They came full circle when they were shot down behind enemy lines, but stole an F-14 to escape. When Rooster said that jet was a relic, Pete was adamant: “I shot down three MiGs in one of those things!” which referred to his heroism at the end of High Gun. Also, this F-14 had the button to switch between missiles and guns in the first movie, but it doesn’t exist in the actual version of the jet.

Maverick continued with Top Gun’s unnamed enemy

High Gun never specified which nation America was at war with. The fighters simply used the term “enemies” and “MiG”. The sequel followed suit, without naming the country or organization targeted. As for enemy aircraft, they’re called “fifth-generation fighters,” to help keep things vague.

Payback shot and burned in Top Gun: Maverick

Another line that was repeated from the original is “Let’s spin and burn!” Payback said so during the final mission, instilling a sense of urgency in Maverick’s support team. The timing was also opportune, as Rooster needed to speed up as they were falling behind when it came to bombarding the enemy installation.

To see those nods to the original film, Top Gun: Maverick is playing in theaters now.


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Alicia R. Rucker