The Reason Meg Ryan Was Excluded From The Top Gun Sequel

Meg Ryan's early career has its roots firmly embedded in the soap opera genre. She had a recurring role on "As The World Turns" as Betsy Stewart, per IMDb. But it was her stint in "Top Gun" that launched her film career. Fans of the iconic 1980s classic will remember that Ryan played Carole Bradshaw. She was the wife of Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (played by Anthony Edwards), Pete "Maverick" Mitchell's (played by Tom Cruise) best friend.  

Interestingly, Ryan delivered one of the most iconic lines of the entire movie. In a scene where Goose and Maverick belt out "Great Balls of Fire" at the piano, Carole catcalls her spouse from a booth. "Hey Goose, you big stud," she calls. "That's me, honey," he responds. Carole then chirps, "Take me to bed or lose me forever." Good sport that he is, Goose replies, "Show me the way home, honey." 

In the upcoming reboot, Maverick shows Goose's son, Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (played by Miles Teller), the ropes as a Navy pilot. "Top Gun" fans will recall that Goose died in a tragic accident, leaving his wife and son behind. But in the "Top Gun: Maverick" trailer, Rooster tells Maverick, "My dad believed in you. I'm not gonna make the same mistake." If Goose's son still harbors resentment, how does his widow feel? Well, fans may never find out because Ryan does not star in the new film. Now, the director has finally clarified why she's not in the sequel.  

'Top Gun' director explains why Meg Ryan does not return

While there are many nods to the original 1986 "Top Gun," the director wanted to move the story forward. Director Joseph Kosinski explained the decision to not include Meg Ryan's character, Carole Bradshaw, in the new film. He told Insider that Ryan and Kelly McGillis do not star in "Top Gun: Maverick" because "those weren't stories that we were throwing around." Kosinski pointed out that, in addition to Val Kilmer returning as "Iceman" Kazansky, the storyline includes a nod to Nick "Goose" Bradshaw. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell becomes one of Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw's instructors, and, per the trailer, there seems to be some tension between the two. The director revealed, "I didn't want every storyline to always be looking backwards." He continued, "It was important to introduce some new characters."

Ryan has not spoken out about the "Top Gun" sequel, but she has promoted her new venture on InstagramVariety reports that the actor and David Duchovny are pairing up in "What Happens Later," a rom-com that will be released in 2023. After directing her first film, "Ithaca," Ryan told Vanity Fair in 2016, "I like the behind-the-scenes thing. I really do. Acting for a while was really fun and it still is — but directing is something even more." Let's hope that "What Happens After" inspires Ryan to spend more time in front of the camera once again.