‘Top Gun: Maverick’: One Star Was Determined to Be in the Film After Seeing ‘Mission: Impossible’

by Caitlin Berard

After nearly 40 years, the long, long-awaited sequel to the popular 1986 action drama Top Gun hit theaters. The sequel, entitled Top Gun: Maverick, follows Maverick (Tom Cruise) as he confronts his past while training the next generation of TOPGUN pilots.

To say Maverick was a success would be a vast understatement. The Tom Cruise film smashed box office records. It became one of the highest-grossing films in Hollywood history and the highest in Cruise’s career.

Upon its release, Top Gun generated over one billion dollars in box office revenue. And that’s not even mentioning the immense amount of praise critics and movie-goers alike continue to shower on it to this day.

The excellent writing and plot behind the film are, of course, major contributing factors to Top Gun: Maverick‘s success. That said, the highly skilled, star-studded cast doesn’t hurt. Along with Tom Cruise, the sequel stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and Glen Powell – and that’s only a few names from the impressive cast list.

Glen Powell recently revealed, however, that he almost wasn’t in the film at all. It wasn’t until watching a new Tom Cruise film, and then hearing from the Hollywood icon himself, that he decided to join the cast.

How ‘Mission: Impossible’ Inspired Glen Powell to Join ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Top Gun: Maverick contains no shortage of high-flying action and mind-blowing stunts. One of its main storylines, however, is Maverick’s complicated relationship with Rooster Bradshaw (Miles Teller).

Rooster is one of the pilots in training. He’s also the son of Maverick’s friend Goose and, unfortunately, blames Maverick for his father’s death. Because of this, Rooster is among the most important characters in the film.

Now, Roster was originally going to be played by Glen Powell. When Miles Teller auditioned for the role, however, producers immediately knew they had found their Rooster.

Now, Top Gun: Maverick producers still wanted Glen Powell for the film. He would simply play Hangman instead of Rooster. Powell, however, wasn’t so sure it was the right fit. So when producers called to offer him the role of Hangman, he was relieved to be on his way to a movie and unable to talk.

His viewing of another Tom Cruise film, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, gave him more time to think. When he finally called back, he spoke to Tom Cruise himself, who successfully talked him into the role.

During a recent episode of the Light the Fuse podcast, Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible writer Christopher McQuarrie recounted the conversation.

“[Glen Powell] was being very frank with Tom about not wanting to be in the movie,” McQuarrie explained. “And Tom said, ‘Glen, what kind of career do you want?’ And Glen said, ‘I want your career.’”

“Tom said, ‘Well how do you think I got here Glen?’” he continued. “And Glen said, ‘You chose great roles.’ And [Tom] said, ‘No Glen, I chose good movies.’”