As part of Hollywood’s continuing quest to trick you into thinking it’s either the late ‘80s, or maybe the early ‘90s, or really any point in history other than right now, this year we’re getting a number of nostalgia-driven sequels such as Jurassic World: Dominion, Hocus Pocus 2, and of course, Top Gun: Maverick, the much-anticipated follow-up to America’s sexiest recruitment ad.

But as much as we’re all looking forward to seeing Tom Cruise best the Russian military using only his jet-flying skills and beach volleyball prowess, Top Gun: Maverick is a prime example of a continuing, extremely crappy trend we keep seeing in these belated sequels …

Much of Maverick involves callbacks to characters from the original film; Miles Teller plays the son of poor Goose, and Val Kilmer reprises his role as Iceman because Cruise reportedly told the studio: “I’m not making the movie without Val.” But where the hell is Kelly McGillis? You know, the co-star of the original who played Charlie, the character whose steamy (highly unprofessional) relationship with Maverick was basically the central storyline of Top Gun?

Yeah, according to McGillis, she wasn’t even asked to come back. Instead they replaced her with a new female lead; Jennifer Connelly, who happens to be more than ten years younger than McGillis. Obviously Hollywood has a long history of disrespecting women who have the gall to age like they’re actual human beings – but this attitude is even more transparently insulting in the context of nostalgia-baiting reunions in which all the dudes are invited back, but the women clearly aren’t.

We saw a similar thing happen with the Princess characters in Bill and Ted Face the Music – sure the original actresses weren’t exactly huge stars, and their replacements (Erinn Hayes and Jayma Mays) are great, but it still sucks that the filmmakers were compelled to bring in younger women to play those roles. So Bill and Ted are allowed to age and grapple with the terrors of their own mortality, but their wives are forced to remain, in defiance of all internal logic, decades younger?

And Sean Young was, inarguably, a vital part of the original Blade Runner – but when Blade Runner 2049 rolled around, we learned that her character, Rachel, was killed offscreen between movies. Young’s only appearance was as a CGI approximation of her twenty-something self, which she called “a final insult.”

Similarly, T2 Trainspotting brought back Kelly Macdonald for a very brief cameo, while the bulk of the story involved the middle aged protagonists lusting over a new character who was in her twenties. And while Will Smith passed, everyone else from Jeff Goldblum, to Judd Hirsh, to Bill Pullman returned for Independence Day: Resurgence. They even brought back Brent Spiner, who seemingly died in the original. But Margaret Colin's character, Constance, apparently died in a car crash between movies, which wasn’t even mentioned in Resurgence – you had to buy the crappy tie-in novel to figure out that piece of the puzzle. Hopefully Top Gun: Maverick won't release a comic book explaining that Charlie was eaten by wolves sometime between 1986 and 2022.

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Top Image: Paramount Pictures

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