Top Gun: Maverick has a connection to Top Gun that you may have missed

Top Gun: Maverick is packed with references and connections to the original film, but doesn’t have its cast full of returning stars.

Val Kilmer’s ice cream man is the main return alongside Tom Cruise’s Maverick (of course), but there’s no sign of it Charlie McGillis by Kelly or Carole Bradshaw by Meg Ryan† What you may not know is that technically there is another one Top Gun character brought back for the sequel.

In Charlie’s absence, Maverick is a singleton when we reunite with him in the sequel. However, shortly after returning to Top Gun, he spots Jennifer Connelly’s Penny and starts flirting up a storm.

It’s revealed that they’ve been in an on-off relationship over the years, with the bad moments usually coming because Maverick is, well, a Maverick. We don’t get to hear their entire history, but we’ve heard of one of their flirtations before in the original movie.


Early in Top GunMaverick is given a dressing by Commander Tom ‘Stinger’ Jardian after an unauthorized fly-by.

“Boy, your ego is writing checks that your body can’t cash. You’re caught. You’ve lost your qualifications as a section leader three times. Hacked twice by me, with a history of speedy passes over five air traffic control towers and an admiral’s daughter he says to Maverick.

“Penny Benjamin?,” Goose asks Maverick and later in the bar Carole jokes with Maverick about how Goose told her “all about that time when you got ballistic with Penny Benjamin”.

Connelly’s character is the daughter of the well-known Admiral who, when we first meet her in the sequel, is a single mother and bar owner. Unsurprisingly, Maverick and Penny start their romance again, but hopefully it will last this time when they’re together towards the end of the movie.

Jennifer Connelly as Penny in Top Gun Maverick


To talk with The Hollywood ReporterConnelly revealed that while we won’t get the full story in the film, she spoke to Cruise about how Penny and Maverick’s love story has evolved over the years.

“I think they had a few affairs that didn’t work out particularly well in the intervening years. We talked about their backstory and what that history might be,” she explained.

“I really enjoyed the way Penny was written, but during the rehearsal process there were definitely conversations about adjustments and revisions to the scenes. But the spirit of her character, from the first draft I read, was there on the page. ”

Top Gun: Maverick is now in cinemas.

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