Top Gun is a memorable movie not just for the incredible aerial sequences and quotable lines, but because of the fantastic call signs associated with the characters — Maverick, Goose, Iceman. With the new Top Gun: Maverick cast playing another group of hotshot pilots, we’re going to have plenty of new call signs to enjoy.
Of course, one we won’t have to learn is Maverick, as you can’t have a Top Gun movie with Tom Cruise’s iconic character. But who is joining Cruise/Maverick in the sky? Here’s who’s who in the Top Gun: Maverick cast.
Tom Cruise as Maverick
We don’t need much of an introduction for Tom Cruise or Maverick. Cruise is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history, leading franchises like Mission: Impossible and giving great performances in movies like The Color of Money, Jerry Maguire and Magnolia, just to name a few.
Maverick, meanwhile, is one of his most iconic characters; a cocky but brilliant fighter pilot who loves to push things to the limits. Even though Top Gun: Maverick, one of the biggest new movies in 2022, takes place 30 years after the events of Top Gun, it doesn’t look like Maverick has lost a step at all.
Miles Teller as Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw
Leading the way among the new cast is Miles Teller. Teller is best known for movies like Whiplash, The Spectacular Now and the Divergent franchise; he also currently stars in the Paramount Plus original series The Offer.
If the name Bradshaw sounds familiar that’s because it was Goose’s (Anthony Edwards) real name in Top Gun. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw is Goose’s son, which is sure to make things a little uneasy when Maverick is assigned as Rooster’s Top Gun instructor.
Glen Powell as Hangman
Glen Powell has built a solid start to his career with roles in movies like Hidden Figures, Set It Up and Everybody Wants Some, but he’s poised to take off after Top Gun: Maverick, as he plays the new character of Hangman.
Per Powell, Hangman is a cross of Maverick and Iceman — being a bit of a lone wolf like Maverick and boasting the ego of Iceman. "He knows he’s the best and he’s not here to make friends, he’s here to be team leader."
Monica Barbaro as Phoenix
Monica Barbaro has been on your TV screens for years, appearing in shows like UnREAL, Chicago P.D. and Stumptown, just to name a few. With Top Gun: Maverick, she is making the jump to the big screen in a big way.
Barbaro’s character Phoenix is the lone woman among the Top Gun recruits, but that’s not what defines her. Speaking at the global premiere,"[E]veryone really cared about making her a strong, capable, talented woman who … she’s a fighter pilot, she just happens to be a woman," said Barbaro.
Jay Ellis as Payback
Insecure fans will recognize Jay Ellis, who played Lawrence Walker on the comedy series. Some of Ellis’s other credits include Escape Room, Mrs. America and The Game.
In Top Gun: Maverick, Ellis plays Payback. In behind-the-scenes interviews he said that his character, and the others, "want to be the best. And by competing against the best they then make themselves better and then they ultimately become this team and this unit together."
Danny Ramirez as Fanboy
Danny Ramirez previously got a taste of big budget action playing Joaquin Torres on Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but there’s little to compare to a massive summer blockbuster like Top Gun: Maverick.
As for his character Fanboy, Ramirez said he is just so joyous to be at Top Gun because it’s something he’d been dreaming about all his life. "He knew what we wanted to do from day one, he went and did it."
Greg Tarzan Davis as Coyote
When Tarzan is part of your name, you’re just destined for show business. Currently starring as Dr. Jordan Wright in Grey’s Anatomy, he’ll also be a part of the cast of Mission: Impossible 7 with Tom Cruise.
Similarly, when you’re playing a character named Coyote, there may be certain expectations to have a big personality. "When [Cruise] was selecting me for the process, he said, 'this young man is wild, I want him.' And I was like, alright, yeah, I’ll live up to the name of Coyote."
Lewis Pullman as Bob
Bob is an unusual call sign for one of Top Gun trainees, though as Lewis Pullman has teased that while Bob is more quiet and socially awkward than his fellow pilots, there may be a hidden meaning behind his moniker.
Jennifer Connelly as Penny Benjamin
Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly needs little introduction. The star of A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream and, more recently, the TV series Snowpiercer, has been at the Hollywood game a long time.
In Top Gun: Maverick, Connelly plays Penny Benjamin, who has a romantic history with Maverick. Benjamin was mentioned in the first movie and per Connelly has an on-and-off relationship with Maverick. "You get the sense that they sort of come together, they have this sort of fiery romance then it falls apart. But they keep coming back to each other."
Jon Hamm as Cyclone
Jon Hamm continues to be a very busy man, as the Mad Men star takes on the role of Cyclone in Top Gun: Maverick. As we see in the trailer, Hamm’s Cyclone is one of the superior officers to Maverick at Top Gun. As is usual with Maverick, he has some difficulties with those above him and that won’t change with Cyclone.
"Someone’s got to make the rules and someone’s got to break the rules and you can’t have one without the other,” said Hamm. “So that’s a big part of the dramatic tension of the film."
Bashir Salahuddin as Coleman/Hondo
Salahuddin plays Coleman/Hondo in Top Gun: Maverick, who has the less heralded role of a plane mechanic, but as he details, no less important — saying you can’t have one without the other. He is also a good friend to Maverick, describing Hondo as the Watson to Maverick’s Sherlock Holmes.
Charles Parnell as Warlock
While Warlock was not a character in the original 1986 movie, Charles Parnell believes his character was a contemporary of Maverick in those days. "He was one of the guys in Maverick’s class that you didn’t see in the film. Then their paths diverged," Parnell said.
Parnell is most likely recognized from his vast work in TV. Since 2000 he has appeared on shows like Law & Order, All My Children and The Last Ship.
Val Kilmer as Iceman
Iceman was Maverick’s top rival in Top Gun, but by the end of the movie they respected each other and worked together to save the day. It was a breakout role for Kilmer and remains among one of the actor’s most beloved performances.
Though Kilmer has openly been battling throat cancer — including needing a voice box after having surgery — he is set to return to the role as Iceman in Top Gun: Maverick. The trailer hints that he is responsible for bringing Maverick back to Top Gun, though how much of him we’ll see in the movie is unclear.
Also in the movie are Ed Harris as Rear Admiral and Manny Jacinto as Fritz.
Top Gun: Maverick releases worldwide on May 27. Tickets are now available.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.