Meg Ryan and Kelly McGillis Weren't Asked to Return for 'Top Gun: Maverick', Director Confirms

Kelly McGillis said she had not been asked to return for Top Gun: Maverick during a July 2019 interview with Entertainment Tonight

Meg Ryan, Kelly McGillis
Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty; Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski says filmmakers never considered bringing back the female characters played by Meg Ryan and Kelly McGillis in Top Gun for the film's 2022 sequel.

"Those weren't stories that we were throwing around," Kosinski said in an interview with Insider published Tuesday.

Gillis, 64, previously played Top Gun instructor Charlie Blackwood while Ryan, 60, portrayed Goose's wife Carole Bradshaw in the 1986 action movie.

However, according to Kosinski, filmmakers wanted to do something different with Top Gun: Maverick compared to the original film.

"I didn't want every storyline to always be looking backwards," Kosinski said. "It was important to introduce some new characters."

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McGillis said she had not been asked to return for Top Gun: Maverick during a July 2019 interview with Entertainment Tonight, explaining, "I look age appropriate for what my age is and that is not what that whole scene is about."

"To me, I'd much rather feel absolutely secure in my skin and who and what I am at my age as opposed to placing a value on all that other stuff," she added.

For the film, Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, while Val Kilmer returns as Tom "Iceman" Kazansky.

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Speaking with Entertainment Tonight at the May 4 premiere at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, Cruise said he "really rallied hard" for Kilmer to join the film.

Kelly McGillis
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"The kind of talent that he has, and you see that scene, it's very special, it's just very special," he continued, speaking of a powerful scene in the film.

Top Gun producer Jerry Bruckheimer told PEOPLE in August 2021 that Cruise "really wanted" Kilmer in the new film.

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"He said, 'We have to have Val, we have to have him back. We have to have him in the film,'" Bruckheimer recalled at the time. "And he was the driving force. We all wanted him, but Tom was really adamant that if he's going to make another Top Gun, Val had to be in it."

He added of Kilmer, "He's such a fine actor, and he's such a good individual. We had such a good time on the first one and wanted to bring some of the gang back together again."

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Top Gun: Maverick (2022).

Top Gun: Maverick will also feature performances from Jennifer Connelly as Penelope "Penny" Benjamin, Miles Teller as Lieutenant Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, Ed Harris as Rear Admiral Cole, Jon Hamm as Vice Admiral "Cyclone" and Glen Powell as Lieutenant "Hangman" Seresin, among others.

Powell, 33, told PEOPLE in April that he originally auditioned to play Teller's role of "Goose" Bradshaw's son, played by Teller, 35, but had a very special talk with Cruise after being offered a different role.

"And then Tom [Cruise] invited me to come sit down with him," Powell explained. "And we sat down for a couple hours and talked about his life and his career and how he chooses movies, and how he develops roles and those sort of things."

"And it was really a series of those conversations that convinced me that this could be a role that could actually be exciting, that I could have a little bit of creative license," he continued. "I could make it my own and make something that could be really special."

Top Gun: Maverick hits theaters on May 27.

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