Warning! Spoilers ahead for Top Gun: Maverick.,Jake “Hangman” Seresin (Glen Powell) is Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s (Tom Cruise) real successor in
Top Gun: Maverick, not Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller). The much-anticipated
Top Gun sequel was more than three decades in the making with director Joseph Kosinski continuing the story that Tony Scott started in 1986.
Top Gun: Maverick focuses on Cruise’s daredevil pilot, but it also introduces a string of neophytes that are set to follow in his footsteps as some of the best that TOPGUN produced.
 ,Cruise’s Maverick returns on the big screen more than three decades since he was first introduced. That being said, despite his outstanding flying abilities and impressive achievements, he remains a Navy Captain. Fortunately for him, he is brought back to TOPGUN to train a new breed of pilots for a highly dangerous and important mission thanks to Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky’s (Val Kilmer) involvement. Among the new recruits are Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw — the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards), Maverick’s former RIO — and Jake “Hangman” Seresin.,Related: Where Is Meg Ryan In Top Gun 2,There’s a clear competition between Rooster and Hangman in
Top Gun: Maverick reminiscent of Maverick’s old rivalry with Iceman. Ultimately, given their personal history, Maverick picks Bradley as his wingman for the mission, seemingly setting Goose’s son to follow in Maverick’s footsteps. Looking at how things play out in
Top Gun: Maverick, however, Hangman is a more suited successor for Maverick. Both are cocky and driven; multiple times in the
Top Gun sequel, Hangman highlights that he is a daredevil, much like his TOPGUN instructor. Rooster, on the other hand, is more cautious, perhaps too cautious, especially at the start of the film. Drawing a clearer parallel, Hangman also leaves his flying partner during a training exercise, similar to how Maverick did in the original film — something that Mitchell didn’t miss to point out. In terms of character and ego, Hangman is essentially cut from the same cloth as Maverick.,Just because Maverick and Hangman have the same qualities doesn’t necessarily mean that their fates need to be the same. If anything, they should be different. Despite Mitchell’s successful return to the Navy, his overall story is actually quite tragic. Due to his penchant for dangerous flying and resistance to authority, he was never able to climb up the professional ladder. It’s almost as if he never fully reached his potential. As effective as he is as an instructor, he could have done so much more in terms of his career. For Hangman, it shouldn’t take more than three decades for him to learn the lessons that Maverick needed to finally move forward with his life. While the 
Top Gun: Maverick ending focused on Rooster’s self-discovery,
Top Gun 3 can be about Hangman realizing that the trajectory of Maverick’s life isn’t ideal, instead, it’s a cautionary tale. By developing both Rooster and Hangman’s respective arcs simultaneously, Paramount can build a sustainable
Top Gun franchise that can go on for years.
 ,While there’s no official word yet for
Top Gun 3, it’s almost inevitable considering the box office and critical success of
Top Gun: Maverick. It’s curious how prominent Maverick will still be in the inevitable threequel since the Kosinski-directed film functions as a transition period for the franchise. Instead, the focus should be on the new TOPGUN pilots, including, and perhaps, most importantly, Hangman.
 ,More: Where Is Kelly McGillis In Top Gun 2? Why Charlie Doesn’t Return