Top Gun Wiki

Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is a US naval aviator and the main protagonist of Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick.


Top Gun[]

Throughout his time in the TOPGUN program and the events occurring thereafter, Maverick was known to be an excellent pilot, despite his reckless tendencies in the air which potentially endanger both himself and his wingmen. In one encounter with an unidentified MiG-28, whos pilot had acquired a missile lock on Maverick's wingman, LT Bill "Cougar" Cortell, Maverick proceeded to irritate and intimidate the enemy pilot by flying his F-14 Tomcat inverted above the hostile aircraft, canopy to canopy. This led to the pilot of the MiG disengaging the missile lock he had on Maverick's wingman and hastily retreat. While many of his fellows were impressed with this maneuver, others saw it as reckless and dangerous, putting his copilot in unnecessary danger.

During a training flight later in the TOPGUN program, Maverick's F-14 suffered a flameout in its starboard TF30 engine after flying through Iceman's wake turbulence, also known as "jet wash", while chasing LCDR Rick "Jester" Heatherly. This caused his jet to stall and enter into an unrecoverable flat spin. As Maverick struggled against the overwhelming centrifugal force preventing him from reaching his own overhead ejection seat handle, he ordered his RIO LTJG Nick "Goose" Bradshaw to pull his own seat handle to initiate their ejection. After Goose pulled the handle, the canopy blew away from the aircraft and Goose was ejected, followed shortly after by Maverick. However, as the pair ejected, Goose was slammed into the canopy by his seat's ejection motors, breaking his neck and killing him instantly.

Despite the fact he was cleared of wrongdoing in the accident, Maverick blamed himself for Goose's death. He turned to his mentor CDR Mike "Viper" Metcalf, who had been a friend of his fathers, for advice. This led to him finding out the truth about what had happened to his father during the Vietnam War.

While at the TOPGUN graduation, he found out that he, Iceman, Hollywood, and Wolfman were needed on the USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier in the United States Navy. LTJG Sam "Merlin" Wells, who was originally Cougar's RIO, became Maverick's new RIO. He and Merlin launched from the Enterprise following a skirmish in which Hollywood and Wolfman were shot down. During a dogfight with several MiGs, Maverick found himself haunted by Goose's death, causing him to briefly disengage. Despite his momentary disengagement, he reengaged after using Goose's dog tags to force himself back into reality, repeating the phrase "Talk to me, Goose!". He reengaged in time to save Iceman, and proceeded to shoot down three aircraft, with Iceman downing one more, causing the remaining enemy aircraft to retreat.

Maverick and Iceman then returned to the carrier, where they safely landed and and agreed that they could be each other's wingman. Maverick then threw Goose's dog tags into the ocean, having come to terms with his death. Following the completion of the mission, Maverick decided he wanted to return to the TOPGUN program as an instructor after being told by CDR Tom "Stinger" Jardian he had free pick of any assignment he wanted. Maverick then returned to Miramar and went to a bar, where he was reunited with Charlie.

Top Gun: Maverick[]

Maverick would keep in touch with Goose's widow Carole Bradshaw and their son, Bradley, during the intervening years. In time, Bradley apparently made it known that he wished to follow Goose's example in joining the Navy and eventually becoming a fighter pilot, but Carol was secretly against this. As a result of this, Carole made Maverick promise to do what he could to prevent Bradley from flying, as she didn't want for him to possibly share his father's fate. This led to Maverick pulling Bradley's admission papers to the Naval Academy, causing a deep rift to form between the two. Maverick also decided to never tell Bradley his true reasons for doing so, as he felt that there was no point in causing Bradley to also resent his mother's memory. Bradley would persist and join eventually, but Maverick's interference set back his Naval career by four years.

More than 30 years after Goose's death, Maverick was still in the pilot's seat, consistently sabotaging any attempts by superiors to promote him past the rank of captain, believing his place was in the cockpit. At one point, Maverick was scheduled to test a prototype of a supersonic reconnaissance aircraft known as Darkstar. However, just prior to launch he and the others there for the test flight learn Admiral Cain was on his way to shut the program down, planning to use the funding for his own drone projects. Despite this revelation, Maverick still chose to pilot the prototype, hoping that by reaching Mach 10, the stated goal of the project, he could keep it from being shut down. While Maverick did successfully reach Mach 10, he decided to push the aircraft even further, reaching Mach 10.2 before suffering catastrophic failure, resulting in him having to bail out of the doomed aircraft. For his actions in this, Cain grounded him.

Despite being reprimanded for his actions, Maverick would later be recalled to TOPGUN, having been brought back to train a new group of pilots consisting entirely of former graduates of the program, including Goose's son Bradley, now a Lieutenant under the callsign of "Rooster".[1] Following his arrival to Top Gun, he visited a local bar, owned by his former lover Penny Benjamin. While attending a party at this bar, Maverick witnessed many of the younger pilots partying together, with many singing "Great Balls of Fire", played by Rooster on the piano. This caused painful memories to resurface for him, including ones of both him and Goose partying amongst fellow aviators.

The following day, Maverick began his position teaching the pilots. He clashed particularly with Rooster, who strongly resented him, and LT Jake "Hangman" Seresin, who didn't follow Maverick's instructions or believe in his leadership. During a training exercise, Rooster and Maverick engage in a spiralling dive in the air, resulting in both flying below the hard deck of 5000 feet. After Rooster lost his chance to take the shot due to them being too low, Maverick does a cobra maneuver with his plane to take his shot, and beat Rooster. Maverick is severely reprimanded by Cyclone for both these things. The plan Maverick creates for the mission consists of several extremely difficult challenges, and the training for them does not go as smoothly as planned. LT Javy "Coyote" Machado almost crashes his plane after entering G-LOC due to the extreme mission parameters, and LT Natasha "Phoenix" Trace and LT Robert 'Bob' Floyd are forced to eject from their plane due to a bird strike leading to engine fire and failure. These conflicts cause tension within the group as Rooster, in particular, doubts Maverick's ability to teach.

Maverick consults with Iceman about his progress teaching the class and seeks advice on his relationship with Rooster. Shortly thereafter, Iceman passes away from terminal cancer. Maverick and his class are present at his funeral. Cyclone ultimately grounds Maverick, and changes the mission parameters in such a way that makes it easier to fly but deadlier for the pilots. Maverick responds to the news by stealing a plane to run the test course, proving that it can be flown under the difficult conditions, prompting Cyclone to appoint Maverick as team leader on the attack on the uranium enrichment plant, and allow him to return to teaching.

For the mission, Maverick chooses his accompanying pilots, and settles on Rooster, rather than Hangman, honouring Rooster's wishes. During the mission, Rooster runs out of countermeasures and Maverick intersects and after using his own countermeasures, sacrifices his plane for Rooster. He ejects but was chased by a Mi-24 Hind until Rooster, having turned back to search for him, shoots the gunship down. Rooster then is shot down by a SAM and ejects. The two reunite and steal an old F-14A Tomcat from the bombed airstrip base and escape in it. They fight with two Su-57s, and use all of their ammunition, missiles and flares in the process. Once out over the sea, they face another Su-57; Maverick orders Rooster to prepare to eject, but Rooster's attempt reveals the ejection system isn't working. Maverick faces the realisation that he can't bring Rooster home from the mission, before being saved by Hangman, who took off as a spare from the carrier.

They then return to the carrier where they are greeted by a triumphant crew. Maverick receives approval from Cyclone, as well as RADM Solomon "Warlock" Bates. He and Rooster embrace on the runway, showing their relationship has improved, and Rooster has forgiven Maverick for pulling his papers. Phoenix remarks that Maverick has achieved "flying ace" status, having shot down five enemy aircraft; three MiGs 30 years prior, along with two Su-57s during the operation.

Some time after the mission, Maverick and Rooster work together on a P-51 Mustang. Penny soon arrives with her daughter, leading Maverick to take Penny for a ride in the P-51. Rooster is seen looking onto their missions success as well as a photo of his late father and young Maverick.

Skills and abilities[]

A skilled aviator, Maverick was known to be an exceptional pilot, despite his many reckless tendencies in the air. He frequently flew close to other aircraft, even flying inverted above the cockpit of a MiG at one point. Maverick was proficient in the use of a motorcycle as well. Maverick also knew how to mechanically maintain and operate a P-51 Mustang. He was adept at building relationships with others, managing to establish a relationship with Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood. While at TOPGUN, Maverick met LT Tom "Iceman" Kazansky who became his rival, as well as LT Rick "Hollywood" Neven, and LTJG Leonard "Wolfman" Wolfe.

Awards and decorations[]

In order of precedence:

Top Gun[]

Navy "E" Ribbon - One 3⁄16 inch silver letter "E" device denotes first award.
Navy Expeditionary Medal Humanitarian Service Medal Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Deployment Ribbon

Top Gun: Maverick[]

Silver Star
Legion of Merit Defense Meritorious Service Medal Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal with Strike/Flight numeral "5" device Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three award stars Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Combat Action Ribbon Joint Meritorious Unit Award Navy E Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Southwest Asia Service Medal with two service stars
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two service stars Iraq Campaign Medal with two service stars Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Deployment Ribbon United Nations Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) Navy Expert Rifleman Medal Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal


  • In the script, Maverick's first name was Evan. It was changed to Pete in the final film as a tip of the hat to technical advisor Pete "Viper" Pettigrew, seen in the film as the man Charlie is meeting at the bar in her first appearance in the film.
  • Maverick's last orders/assignment in the US Navy is to return to TOPGUN to be an instructor to train a selected group of elite TOPGUN graduates for a special mission.
    • Before his first day, Jake "Hangman" Seresin (a mission pilot trainee) teases with him at the bar; mirroring a similar event that occurred over 30 years ago, when Maverick (as a TOPGUN student) flirted with instructor Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood before his first day in class at TOPGUN.
  • While as a special mission instructor at TOPGUN, Maverick is assigned aircraft callsign 'Viper One'; F/A-18E modex #00.
  • While in Dagger Squadron during the special mission, Maverick is assigned aircraft callsign 'Dagger-01'; F/A-18E modex #01.
  • There is a discrepancy in his awards from the first movie to the second. In the second movie, Maverick does not wear the Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal, which he wears in the first.
  • There is also a discrepancy in the order of precedence of his awards in the second movie. Maverick wears the ribbon for Global War on Terrorism Service Medal in the seventh row (second row from the bottom), first position. The ribbon is actually supposed to worn after the National Defense Service Medal in the fifth row, second position (middle). All of his other awards are in the correct order of precedence in the movie.
  • Having been in the Navy since the 1980s, Maverick, at the time of the sequel, has been in the Navy for more than 30 years. Unless you achieve the rank of rear admiral or above, normally after 30 years of service, there is mandatory retirement that is extremely difficult to prevent, without intervention from the secretary of the Navy, the defense secretary, the president, or an act from Congress.


Top Gun[]

Top Gun: Maverick[]