Top Gun 3 could give Rooster and Hangman a story that Maverick couldn't have
Top Gun 3 has the potential to tell a new story through roosters and executioners that the first two films couldn't have without spoiling their own plot.
Top Gun: Maverick continued Tom Cruise's Pete "Maverick" Mitchell and his saga as a renegade pilot in the US Navy, but a few story opportunities were largely reserved for Top Gun 3, especially regarding Rooster and Hangman. The long-awaited sequel to 1986's Top Gun charts Maverick's return to the Top Gun and his reconnection with the old wingman's son, Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw. It was highly praised by audiences and critics alike, which means a third installment is likely to come, which would be the perfect opportunity to finish telling the story that Top Gun: Maverick teased.
Top Gun: Maverick begins by revealing that Maverick has been testing a new military jet in the desert; an assignment given to him due to his relationship with Tom "The Iceman" Kazansky. As Maverick's anti-hero tendencies put him at odds with most of his superiors, his career goes beyond the normal expectations of a pilot with credentials. Unsurprisingly, his return to Top Gun this time around as a coach is similarly unconventional, leaving plenty of room for further exploration.
Top Gun 3 Can Give Rooster & Hangman A More Direct Sequel Story
The original Top Gun ends before Maverick completes his mission Top Gun trains and starts his career. Skipping over 30 years, Top Gun: Maverick really fills in some of the gaps in Maverick's resume through conversations with Iceman and other officers: Ed Harris' Admiral Kane says of Maverick's career, "30+ years of service. Combat Medal, he is the only man in the past 40 years to shoot down three enemy aircraft. But you don't get promoted, you don't retire, and despite your best efforts, you refuse to die." This is a reference to Maverick since 1986 One of the most comprehensive roundups I've done in years, leaving much of it to the imagination -- arguably because the sequel came too late.
However, with Top Gun: Maverick being such a huge success, the next installment is likely to come sooner, so it's easy to follow Rooster and his antagonist-turned-wingman Jake "Hangman" Seresin as they move from the famous Graduated from flight school and started their careers together. Rooster's personal relationship with Maverick, and Hangman's similar penchant for recklessness, make Maverick a mentor to the two young men at the start of their careers. Showcasing the talented pilot as a newcomer will be especially exciting for future Top Gun films Graduate rather than the student-to-faculty leap required by Maverick's story.
Top Gun 3's Rooster & Maverick Story Can Complete Its Fatherhood Theme
Throughout Top Gun, the death of the maverick father looms over the charismatic rebel, highlighting his recklessness and stubbornness. Likewise, Rooster's cautious approach was likely inspired by the death of Goose, his father and Maverick's wingman. Although the two don't actually connect until the end of Top Gun: Maverick - as that forms the film's main narrative thread - it's possible they'll continue to fight side by side in a nuanced father-son relationship.
Since Maverick also lost his pilot father at a young age, their connection is more complicated than if Rooster was just the son of Maverick's friend, and furthering the father theme in the film is a great way for a potential third film to continue the original Set emotions. The addition of Hangman's similarities to Maverick opens the door for an equally meaningful but different dynamic between the two renegade pilots, allowing for screen time between the two that would have been impossible in Top Gun: Maverick.
Although there are no official plans for Top Gun 3, threequel is already in place. There are plenty of ways to continue paying homage to the 1986 classic, and learning about the early days of Maverick's pilot career could be a great backdrop for Top Gun: The Story Maverick Builds On. With Hangman and Rooster's personalities so different, the next movie will certainly have the ability to tell a different story than its predecessor.