Having Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood (Kelly McGillis) return in Top Gun: Maverick would have destroyed Maverick’s (Tom Cruise) immaculate finish.
Joseph Kosinski took on the monumental task of crafting the sequel to Tony Scott’s cult film Top Gun, and he succeeded in creating a fitting sequel to the iconic movie. While Top Gun: Maverick leaned largely on nostalgia, it did not bring back several characters from the previous film, notably Maverick’s initial love interest, Charlie.
When Maverick and Charlie rejoined at the conclusion of Top Gun, there was hope that they were in it for the long haul. Instead, Top Gun: Maverick introduced Maverick to Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly). As conspicuous as Charlie’s absence was in the Kosinski-directed sequel, her absence may have been for the best.
There are several reasons why McGillis did not reprise his role as Charlie in Top Gun: Maverick. According to Kosinski, he intended Top Gun: Maverick to look ahead rather than back, therefore the heritage characters brought back for the sequel were chosen with care. This logic holds water. Only Val Kilmer’s Tom “Iceman” Kazansky from the original 1986 blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick returned for Top Gun: Maverick. Despite his brief appearance, he was crucial to the plot of the film. McGillis, on the other hand, offers a different explanation for Charlie’s disappearance in Top Gun: Maverick.
“I’m old and obese and I look age-appropriate for my age,” she remarked in a 2019 interview, “and that is not what that whole scene is about.”