‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Ending Explained: Does Maverick survive the mission?

Top Gun: Maverick Plot Synopsis

Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is back and as ever, our hero is all too keen to follow his need for speed into the danger zone!

In this sequel to the Tony Scott original, Maverick still has little regard for authority. The movie begins with him going against orders and flying a prototype plane to prove that human pilots are just as able as pilotless drones to achieve Mach 10 (flying 10 times the speed of sound) in the air. He manages to achieve his objective but when he crashes his plane, his future with the military is called into question.

Thankfully, Maverick isn’t forced to retire early (it would have been a very short movie otherwise). Instead, he is ordered to return to the Top Gun facility from the first movie to train up a new group of recruits. Maverick isn’t too pleased about this as he feels he belongs in the cockpit and not in the classroom but he soon settles into his new position when he learns of the seemingly impossible mission that the pilots are to be trained for.

Does Maverick survive the mission? Or do he and his pilots meet an untimely end? Let’s take a closer look at the movie.

What is Maverick’s mission?

On the surface, the mission sounds simple. An unnamed enemy has developed a uranium facility and Maverick is tasked with destroying it, alongside the recruits he trains up to join him.

However, the unit’s F-18s are no match for the enemy’s fifth-generation fighter jets. Maverick realizes that the mission needs to be completed in less than 2 minutes and 30 seconds if they are to be successful as they would likely fall under the enemy’s radar and be obliterated otherwise. This seems to be a mission impossible.

Maverick’s mission is made harder when the pilots in his care fail to perform as well as they should during the training program.

Still, Maverick isn’t about to give up easily. He demonstrates to the group that the mission can be carried out in the stipulated time by taking a fighter jet into the air without permission. He then hand picks the ablest members of his crew to carry out the task ahead – Payback, Bob, Phoenix, Fanboy, and Rooster (the son of Maverick’s deceased best friend Nick “Goose” Bradshaw) – and whips them into shape for the mission.

What happens during the mission?

Maverick divides his team into two – Dagger 1 and 2 – as their designated target needs to be struck twice if it is to be destroyed.

Dagger 1 comprises of Phoenix and Bob while Dagger 2 is made up of Maverick, Payback, Fanboy, and Rooster (who is chosen to be Maverick’s wingman).

The pilots take to the air and eventually enter enemy territory. To carry out their mission, they need to fly close to the rocky terrain below and navigate the various turns and falls at high speed.

Against the odds, they manage to take out their designated targets, but before they have time to celebrate their victory, the enemy starts to close in on them. Despite the barrage of ballistic missiles fired in their direction, most of the pilots manage to escape unscathed.

The only person who doesn’t make it past enemy lines is Maverick himself. After risking his life to protect Rooster, his plane is shot down. Rooster is able to get away but as Maverick’s plane has plummeted to the ground, there is the very real possibility that our risk-taking hero is now dead.

Does Maverick survive the mission?

Maverick manages to eject from the plane so is able to land safely on enemy ground. After getting his bearings, he is then confronted by an Attack Helicopter.

Does he get blown to smithereens?

Thankfully no, as Rooster goes against orders and flies back to save his captain. He destroys the helicopter but is then forced to jettison his plane.

Together, Maverick and Rooster then enter an enemy base, steal an F-14 (the famed fighter from the original movie), and take to the skies in the rickety old aircraft.

They aren’t out of the danger zone yet, however, as they run into trouble when they run out of ammo during an ensuing dogfight. This must surely mean certain death, right? Erm… no!

Lt. Jake “Hangman” Seresin arrives on the scene just in time. Despite being passed over for the wingman position, he hasn’t let resentment takes precedence. Before Maverick and Rooster are blown into a million little pieces, Hangman destroys the enemy jet.

The three men are then able to return to the aircraft carrier alive.

After their happy reunion with the other surviving pilots, Maverick takes to the skies again, this time with Penny, his girlfriend. This probably wasn’t her first idea for a romantic date but as Maverick much prefers a pilot’s uniform to a dinner jacket, she likely settled for an airborne adventure instead of a sit-down meal at Nando’s.


Read More: Top Gun: Maverick Movie Review

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7 thoughts on “‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Ending Explained: Does Maverick survive the mission?”

  1. According to a post I just read online, he managed to eject in time. It’s been a little while since I saw the film but I will remind myself of what happened to bob when I see it again.

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