kelly mcgillis top gun maverick
Kelly McGillis, photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer returned to the Navy for Top Gun: Maverick, but one familiar face missing from the sequel is Kelly McGillis, who played Cruise’s love interest in the 1986 original. According to McGillis, she wasn’t asked to join the film, and she matter-of-factly cited her appearance for her exclusion.

Entertainment Tonight asked McGillis way back in 2019 if the makers of Top Gun: Maverick had asked her to be in the film. “Oh my god no. They did not, nor do I think they would ever,” she replied, almost laughing at the idea. “I mean, I’m old and I’m fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is, and that is not what that whole scene is about.”

Fortunately, McGillis didn’t seem to be upset by her very realistic explanation. “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 said. The 64-year-old actress told ET that she left Hollywood to get sober and focus on raising her family, and isn’t necessarily itching to see the sequel anyway.


“I guess it depends on what kind of reviews it gets,” she said. “I’m not racing to the theater, and I’m not racing away from the theater to see it.”

McGillis played astrophysicist and training school instructor Charlie Blackwood in the original Top Gun. In this iteration, Jennifer Connelly portrays Maverick’s new love interest, Penny Benjamin. The long-awaited sequel was directed by Joseph Kosinski and also stars Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, and Glen Powell.

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