The Real Reason Maverick Is Still a Captain 30 Years After 'Top Gun'

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This article by Jared Keller originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a digital news and culture publication dedicated to military and veterans issues.

Ever since the first full trailer for “Top Gun: Maverick” dropped in mid-July, we've been consumed by a single burning question: how the hell is Pete "Maverick" Mitchell still flying combat missions as a captain after more than 30 years of Navy service?

"Thirty-plus years of service. Combat medals, citations, the only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last 40 years. Yet you can't get a promotion, you won't retire, and despite your best efforts you refuse to die," snarls Ed Harris' unnamed rear admiral in the trailer. "You should be at least a two-star admiral by now. Yet here you are. Captain. Why is that?"

Sure, Navy Personnel Command offered up a handful of explanations for why Old Man Maverick is still rocking an F/A-18 Super Hornet more than three decades after “Top Gun” premiered in 1986: previous enlisted experience, a break in service, or even the possibility that Maverick was retired and retained.

But I prefer the simpler explanation offered by an eerily accurate and deeply hilarious “alternate trailer” published to YouTube by Jonathan Hilaire on Monday: Maverick just feels the need for speed — and the need to express it as inappropriately as possible.

Watch the video above to see what I mean. How Maverick ended up dodging a post-service career hauling rubber dog sh*t out of Hong Kong after these hijinks is beyond me.

“Top Gun: Maverick” stars Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, and Ed Harris. The sequel will blast into theaters on June 26, 2020.

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