Top Gun: Maverick is one of the biggest blockbusters since the 2020 pandemic. The film sees Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) return to the esteemed school, Top Gun, to lead a group of young aviators on a near-impossible mission. Seeing Tom Cruise return to Top Gun over 30 years later was a memorable sight. Top Gun: Maverick features familiar faces, new characters, and even appearances of characters who were only mentioned by name. This is a complete character guide for Top Gun: Maverick. Now that the biggest film of the year is available to stream exclusively on Paramount+, we’ve got you covered on who’s who.
Tom Cruise as Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell
The main character of both Top Gun films is Maverick himself, Pete Mitchell, played by the legendary Tom Cruise. Maverick started as a loose cannon who marched at the beat of his own drum. After the death of his best friend, Goose (Anthony Edwards), Maverick learned to grow up and become one of the best aviators in the Navy. When we meet Maverick in the Top Gun sequel, he is still as stubborn as ever, but now he’s often fighting for others. Once he’s tasked with returning to Top Gun, Maverick’s number one priority is making sure the pilots return home from their mission with zero casualties.
Tom Cruise is one of the biggest stars on the planet. You can see him in Edge of Tomorrow, the Mission Impossible series, and American Made; his upcoming films include Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning (Parts 1 and 2), with both Luna Park and Edge of Tomorrow 2 in development.
Val Kilmer as Adm. Tom “Iceman” Kazansky
Top Gun: Maverick went so far as to make Kilmer’s real-life battle with cancer a part of Iceman’s character. The Iceman graduated Top Gun alongside Maverick. The two didn’t see eye-to-eye at first, but they became best friends by the end of the first film. Val Kilmer delivers a terrific performance as Ice, and Top Gun: Maverick allowed the actor to return to the role. Kilmer had to retire from acting due to throat cancer so the film might be Kilmer’s last role, making it all the more touching.
Val Kilmer has a stellar filmography. Some of his most iconic work includes Tombstone, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Heat. He’s also known for starring in Joel Schumacher’s cult classic, Batman Forever.
Miles Teller as Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw
Miles Teller stars as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw. The son of Nick ‘Goose’ Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) and Carole Bradshaw (Meg Ryan), Rooster and Maverick’s relationship is one of the film’s most significant sources of tension. After the death of Goose in the first film, Maverick feels guilt but also a duty to take care of Carole and Bradley. This leads to friction between Bradley and Maverick since Carole doesn’t want Bradley to be an aviator and get killed like his father. As a favor to Carole, Maverick sets Rooster back three years.
This doesn’t stop Rooster, and he becomes a solid naval aviator. Good enough to be invited back to Top Gun, where Maverick confronts him. The two have a unique relationship, and Rooster is one of the standout characters. Miles Teller is best known for his performances in Whiplash, War Dogs, and Fantastic Four (2015). His most recent film is Spiderhead, and his upcoming projects are The Ark and the Aardvark, The Fence, and The Gorge where he’ll star alongside Anya Taylor-Joy.
Penny is a character that was referenced in the original Top Gun but didn’t make an appearance until Top Gun Maverick. Penny and Maverick have had an on-again-off-again relationship for years, and we see their latest encounter in Top Gun: Maverick. Penny has a daughter named Amelia and owns a bar near Top Gun. Jennifer Connelly brings Penny Benjamin to life. Penny and Mav rekindle their relationship during his time back, and hopefully, it will last. She might be Maverick’s oldest and closest friend, making their bond all the more important to him. Connelly’s notable works include A Beautiful Mind, Requiem For a Dream, and Labyrinth. Connelly will next be seen in Alice Englert‘s feature directorial debut Bad Behavior, where she’ll star opposite Ben Whishaw.
Lyliana Wray as Amelia Benjamin
Amelia Benjamin is Penny’s daughter. She loves her mother and has a good rapport with Maverick. With the stranger nature of Penny and Maverick’s relationship, Amelia simply wants what’s best for her mother. Lyliana Wray has guest-starred on Black-ish, The Night Shift, and Strange Angel.
Glen Powell as Lt. Jake “Hangman” Seresin
Lt. Jake Seresin is one of the best pilots in Top Gun, but he’s reckless and leaves his fellow aviators hanging, hence the name. Ironically, Hangman isn’t so different from Maverick during his first stint at Top Gun. In a way, Hangman and Rooster mirror Maverick and Iceman. Glen Powell’s charisma is on full display as Hangman. The actor initially auditioned for the role of Rooster but later took on the part of Hangman after a conversation with Tom Cruise. Glen Powell previously starred in Set It Up, Scream Queens, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. He most recently starred in another aviation-themed film, Devotion, where he starred opposite Jonathan Majors. Powell’s career has exploded since the release of Top Gun: Maverick landing leading roles in high-profile projects like Richard Linklater‘s action-comedy Hitman, the Kat Coiro-directed buddy-comedy Foreign Relations where he’ll play opposite Nick Jonas, and the big-budget Prime Video original series Butch & Sundance which also stars Regé-Jean Page and is a reboot of the classic film Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.
Monica Barbaro as Lt. Natasha “Phoenix” Trace
Phoenix is one of two female pilots invited to Top Gun. She is often at odds with Hangman and a friend to Rooster and the rest of the aviators. Monica Barbaro is best known for her time on Chicago Justice, The Good Cop, and Splitting Up Together. Her next projects will be a voice-role in the Netflix anime series Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas and playing the co-lead in the Arnold Schwarzenegger-led Netflix series Utap.
Bob becomes Phoenix’s second seat and a trusted friend. His name is Bob, and his call sign is Bob, making for pretty funny banter between him and his fellow pilots. Lewis Pullman has previously appeared in Bad Times at the El Royale, Catch-22, and Them That Follow. His subsequent appearances are in Thelma, Auxiliary Man, Salem’s Lot, and the Brie Larson-led Apple series Lessons in Chemistry.
Jay Ellis as Lt. Reuben “Payback” Fitch
Payback and his partner Fanboy prove to be terrific pilots under Maverick’s teachings. So much so that they are chosen as major players in the upcoming mission. Jay Ellis starred as Payback and was previously seen in Insecure, Mrs. America, and Masters of Sex. His next role is in the forthcoming film, Someone I Used to Know from director Dave Franco.
Danny Ramirez as Lt. Mickey “Fanboy” Garcia
Fanboy is Payback’s flight partner and operates the backseat controls. He serves the same role Bob does for Pheonix or what Goose did for Maverick. Danny Ramirez most recently appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Assassination Nation, and No Exit. His upcoming projects are Plus/Minus, Chestnut, and Captain America: New World Order.
Bernie is a Warrant Officer Rank 1 and is working on a program that Maverick is test-piloting. When Maverick gets called back to Top Gun, Hondo goes with him and becomes his assistant coach. Bashir Salahuddin is the writer and star of Sherman’s Showcase, where he plays Sherman McDaniels. He has also appeared in Robot Chicken, The Dropout, and has an upcoming project titled Paradise.
Jon Hamm as Adm. Beau “Cyclone” Simpson
Admiral Simpson is tasked with overseeing Maverick’s mission. He doesn’t tolerate Maverick’s shenanigans and doesn’t think he’s the man for the job. Cyclone is very strict and has a no-nonsense attitude, making him the perfect foil for Maverick. Jon Ham is best known as Don Draper from Mad Men. He has also appeared in Tag, Baby Driver, The Town, and he most recently starred in the title role in Confess, Fletch. 2023 looks to be a huge year for Hamm, he’ll be reprising his role as Gabriel in Season 2 of Good Omens, will be joining the cast of Season 3 of the Apple original series The Morning Show, will play one of the leads in Season 5 of Fargo, he’ll lend his voice to the animated comedy series Grimsburg, and will star in John Slattery‘s directorial debut Maggie Moore(s).
Charles Parnell as Adm. Solomon “Warlock” Bates
Admiral Bates is much more forgiving of Maverick’s past and wants to support him. Warlock works alongside Cyclone and offers a less-strict approach to the situation at hand. Charles Parnell has starred in many projects, including, The Last Ship, The Venture Bros., and Transformers: Age of Extinction. He most recently appeared in the FX series Kindred. He is slated to appear in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One and David Fincher‘s action-noir film The Killer.
Ed Harris as Rear Admiral Chaster “Hammer” Cain
Ed Harris has a brief appearance in Top Gun: Maverick, but his presence is felt. We meet Hammer when Maverick is attempting to push his plane to Mach 10 to save the program he’s currently test-piloting for. Hammer arrives to shut down the program in person, and Maverick is flying overhead as he comes. Hammer later informs Maverick that Iceman wants him to report to Top Gun. Ed Harris is known for his roles in The Truman Show, Apollo 13, Westworld, and Pollock. His upcoming projects include Love Lies Bleeding, Downtown Owl, and Get Away If You Can.