Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is back, and as usual, our hero is all too eager to follow his desire for speed into danger! Maverick still has little regard for authority in this sequel to Tony Scott's original.
The film begins with him defying orders and flying a prototype plane to prove that human pilots can achieve Mach 10 (flying at 10 times the speed of sound) in the air just as well as pilotless drones. He accomplishes his goal, but when he crashes his plane, his future in the military is jeopardized.
Fortunately, Maverick is not forced to retire early (it would have been a very short movie otherwise). Instead, he is sent back to the Top Gun facility from the first film to train a new batch of recruits.
Maverick is displeased because he believes he belongs in the cockpit, not the classroom, but he quickly adjusts to his new role when he learns of the seemingly impossible mission for which the pilots will be trained. Is Maverick able to complete the mission? Or will he and his pilots perish too soon?
Does Maverick Die in Top Gun 2?
Maverick doesn't die because Rooster's story depends on him still being alive. In Top Gun: Maverick, Rooster blames Maverick for the death of his father, Goose, and is angry that Maverick slowed down his military career by four years. As Maverick shows how good of a pilot he is, Rooster starts to respect him from afar.
Maverick needed a defining moment that broke through the emotional barrier between Rooster and Maverick. Having the two save each other was the perfect way to do this. If Rooster hadn't saved Maverick, he would have missed the very healing moment that let him forgive the franchise star of Top Gun.
What Happens During the Mission?
Maverick divides his team into two – Dagger 1 and 2 – because their target must be struck twice in order to be destroyed. Phoenix and Bob make up Dagger 1, while Maverick, Payback, Fanboy, and Rooster (who are chosen to be Maverick's wingman) make up Dagger 2.
The pilots take to the skies, eventually landing in enemy territory. To complete their mission, they must fly close to the rocky terrain below and maneuver through the various turns and falls at high speeds.
Despite the odds, they manage to take out their designated targets, but before they can celebrate, the enemy begins to close in on them. Despite a barrage of ballistic missiles fired in their direction, the majority of the pilots escape unharmed.
Maverick is the only one who does not make it past enemy lines. His plane is shot down after he risks his life to protect Rooster. Rooster is able to flee, but because Maverick's plane has crashed, there is a very real possibility that our daring hero is now dead.
Top Gun 2 Not Killing Maverick Was The Right Choice
Ultimately, not killing Maverick was a wise decision because it provided the satisfying conclusion that Top Gun 2 required. If Maverick died, it would have cast a shadow on the blockbuster's exciting tone, leaving viewers less satisfied than the actual Maverick ending.
His death would have detracted from Iceman's death, which already injects the film with sad nostalgia and emotion. Keeping Tom Cruise's Captain Mitchell alive in Top Gun: Maverick opens the door for another possible return for the fighter pilot, and given the sequel's box office success, it wouldn't be surprising if Top Gun was made into a trilogy.