The 1986 film Top Gun opens with US Naval Aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) and his partner Nick “Goose” Bradshaw aboard the USS Enterprise in the shot. While out on a flight, the duo and wingman Merlin and Cougar are intercepted by hostile aircraft that they manage to fight off. Cougar quits right after the incident, and Maverick is sent to the Top Gun, an elite Naval Fighter Weapons School. This is where Maverick meets Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood (Kelly McGillis) at a bar and tries to flirt with her, but fails to impress her.
After taking his first lesson in the school, Maverick discovers that Charlie is an Astrophysicist and civilian Top Gun instructor, which impresses Maverick and makes him determined to pursue her. Soon enough, Charlie gets impressed by Maverick after seeing his skills in the field and charm and enters into a romantic relationship with Maverick. At the same time, Mav picks a rivalry with a fellow student and top of their class, Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer). This is where the story picks up, and we can finally give an answer to the question, “What happened to Charlie in Top Gun?”.
Also Read: Top Gun 1986 Cast: Where Are They Now?
How Things End For Charlie In Top Gun
The film progresses with Maverick battling with Top Gun challenges and missions and constantly being punished for being a lone wolf in the field in an attempt to become the top student in the academy. Charlie and Maverick grew closer, but Maverick suddenly suffers the loss of his best friend “Goose” at a training exercise and is left heartbroken and angry with himself for not being able to save his co-pilot’s life. These events soon led Maverick and Charlie to break up, facing many complications and turmoil in his personal life. The film ends with a happy ending, but unfortunately, the couple doesn’t reunite completely in the end.
Charlie is believed to be getting married to Maverick by the fans in the sequel of this film, but that was all a theory. The film was released in 1986, but the long-awaited sequel didn’t show any signs of coming out, and fans moved on with the unanswered questions regarding what happened to Charlie and Maverick until Tom Cruise came out with the announcement of Top Gun: Maverick released which was set to release in 2022.
What Happened To Charlie In The Sequel
In Top Gun, Charlie and Maverick fall in love and makeup, but the relationship isn’t given a satisfying conclusion. Fans assumed that she would also appear in Top Gun: Maverick. Fans were shocked to learn that Charlie did not play a part in the film for a number of reasons stated by the director and producers. Kelly Mcghilis said in an interview that she is too old and fat to pull off the character of Charlie and to be at the age of 65. She is five years older than Tom Cruise and looks like it.
The actor also has been off the screen for years and also stated that she doesn’t want to come in front of the big screen again. The fans were waiting for Charlie’s return in the sequel but felt disappointed when the directors confirmed that she wouldn’t be in the film, but many legacy characters will, and fans will feel joy to see them.
The decision to cast Charlie looked like a bad decision, but after watching the movie, we can safely say that it was a calculated decision in the best interest of the film. The complicated plot of Charlie and Maverick, including the breakup and reconciliation, wouldn’t have fit with the story of this sequel and might feel like too much to handle for the fans of the film and also for the ones who haven’t watched the prequel. The plot would have become too convoluted and messy to handle, both for the writers and the viewers.
Because a sequel involving Charlie would have been less successful for the fans in terms of the tone and plot of Top Gun, this issue was not raised. Instead, Jennifer Connelly’s character “Penny Benjamin” was presented to us; she plays a love interest for Maverick while never going overboard with the romance drama, keeping the narrative and story on the intended course. Overall, Penny replaced Charlie from the prequel without insulting the heritage because she was simple to look at, and they had nice chemistry on screen.