The author of Top Gun recently stated that Maverick is the opposite of what a Top Gun pilot should be doing, and he's absolutely right.
"Top Gun" writer Jack Epps Jr. has said that Tom Cruise's Pete "Maverick" Mitchell should be the opposite of a Top Gun candidate, the series' character. Both movies prove him right. In the Top Gun making-of documentary Danger Zone: The Making of Top Gun, Epps Jr. states, "Maverick as a character is anti-Top Gun...". He went on to say that the ideals of the Top Gun project centered on camaraderie and togetherness, and that making Maverick the opposite was his creative freedom to give the film dramatic weight, noting that screenwriters should never let the truth get out in the way of a good story.
Both the original Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick proved Epps Jr.'s comment correct, with Maverick's arc perfectly portraying his anti-Top Gun qualities in both films. This is accomplished through Cruise and Epps' writing in a portrayal of Maverick that makes him more of a typical action star than a realistic member of the Navy pilot. While not a realistic character, the choices Epps Jr. made make sense as Maverick's journey in both films has been accomplished Thanks to the author's creative freedom and not being bound by realistic portrayals.
Why It's A Good Thing Maverick Isn't Like The Real Top Gun Members
First of all, it's a good thing that Maverick is different from the other Top Gun members, as it singles him out as the film's definitive protagonist. If Maverick had been written to be nearly identical to other Top Gun members such as Goose or Iceman, the character wouldn't have stood out in any notable way. Making Maverick more of a rebellious character makes it clear that he's the protagonist of Top Gun. Plus, his brash attitude made Maverick more relatable to audiences and gave him a cool action-star persona that allowed the character to circulate among popular fandoms.
Second, Maverick was written as anti-Top Gun to prove Epps' reasoning about theatrical licensing correct. Due to Maverick's personality and near denial of Top Gun's core ideology, he clashes with other pilots such as Iceman. In doing so, the film is allowed to have a Maverick rivalry with the Iceman core that audiences can invest in, and allows for both characters to be right and wrong, rather than black and white good or bad, Their This relationship is exploited in Top Gun: Maverick.
How Being Unrealistic Let Maverick Grow More In Top Gun
Maverick's unrealistic attitude also leads to a better character arc. If Maverick is portrayed as a pilot who has gotten along well with Iceman and his fellow pilots from the very beginning of Top Gun, the first film has no character arc. The rebellious nature of his character sees him and Iceman feuding throughout the film, only to respect each other at the end in one of the film's more heartwarming scenes. If Maverick was just a realistic depiction of a strictly Navy pilot, the character's growth would be stripped from the film. Also, in the case of Top Gun: Maverick, by the end of the film, the character has grown from a rebellious flying boy to a ruthless teacher who cares about his students. No Maverick lacks realism, and the arc between these two films would be stripped of all emotional catharsis if Maverick hadn't made this switch so naturally. All of which is to say that Jack Epps Jr. is right, and Maverick's ideals against Top Gun make the franchise all the more appealing as a whole.