‘Top Gun: Maverick’: Director Joseph Kosinski on the Alternate Endings He Filmed

Top Gun: Maverick has plenty of suspense and drama but it has a happy ending for Tom Cruise like any audience would want. However, there were several options for how the movie could have ended. Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski says the movie had multiple alternate endings but he believes the ending he chose is the right one. 

Maverick meets up with Penny at the end of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Director Joseph Kosinski attends the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick in Barcelona, Spain
Joseph Kosinski | Xavi Torrent/Getty Images for Paramount

The final act of Top Gun: Maverick features Maverick (Tom Cruise) on a dangerous mission against the “enemy.” While the mission is a success, Maverick becomes stranded, leading to Rooster (Miles Teller) coming back to rescue him. After a tense flight home, Rooster and Maverick manage to return to the vessel, alive and unharmed. 

Shortly after, Maverick returns to the bar run by Penny (Jennifer Connelly) but she is not there. He then goes to a hangar with Rooster to work on a plane where Penny finally meets him. The two then go on a motorcycle ride as the final credits begin. It’s a charming ending that leaves Maverick and the rest of the characters in a wonderful position. 

The director of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ reveals the alternate endings

In an interview with Indiewire, Kosinski talks about the various endings that he shot for Top Gun: Maverick. The director says some of the endings involved Phoenix (Monica Barbaro) and Hondo (Bashir Salahuddin). However, he elected to go with the ending that made it into the theatrical cut and he believes it’s the right one. 

“I actually shot a version where Phoenix was there too, and Phoenix is talking to Amelia about airplanes, and they’re looking at plane models and having this nice moment together,” Kosinski said. “We had versions where Hondo was there, so it was more like a big family. At the end, we narrowed it down to just Rooster and Amelia.”

“At first, Maverick goes to the bar and Penny’s [Connelly] not there, which was a scene we played with both in and out [of the film],” Kosinski added. “I’m so glad we put it in, because it’s a great way to reveal Penny at the end of the film with Maverick. It just felt like the right ending. We open the film in the hanger and Maverick is alone, and we end with him in the hanger and he’s surrounded by family, a new family. That’s the journey we wanted to take Maverick on.”

Will we see Maverick and Penny again?

The ending of Top Gun: Maverick ended Maverick’s story in a nice way where we don’t really need to see what happens next. However, this sequel is the highest grossing movie of 2022, grossing over $1 billion worldwide. It would make sense for Paramount to make another one to cash in on its success but the director says Top Gun 3 is all up to Cruise. 

“He’s the one that has to be convinced,” Kosinski explained. “That’s how this project started, with Jerry and I going to Paris to talk Tom into it. It’s all about story. It’s all about emotion. If we can figure out a way, a journey for Maverick to go back and be with these young pilots and figure something out, maybe it could happen. I think for now, we should just enjoy that we got this one.”

Top Gun: Maverick is currently in theaters. 

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