How Top Gun's Creative Team Came Up With The Name Goose

top gun anthony edwards goose maverick tom cruise

In the years since the late Tony Scott's Top Gun debuted in theaters, audiences have fallen in love with the legacies left by its endearing characters. Few personalities from the film embody that idea more than Anthony Edwards' Nick "Goose" Bradshaw, the best friend of Tom Cruise's Maverick, and tragic casualty during a dangerous training mission gone wrong. It's been over thirty years since Goose died in the waters off of the coast of San Diego, but it looks like Anthony Edwards has finally clued us into the secret behind his call sign. As it turns out, it all stems back to the character making a dumb mistake involving a plane's engine. Edwards explained:

Goose was a guy who in real life was in an accident with an airplane where they lost an engine and he called out the wrong engine being out, so they fired off the other engine. And so as a result, the plane went into the water and so he got the name Goose for having messed up. Silly Goose is what it was.

If you gave this writer another thirty years to dissect the meaning behind the call sign "Goose," I probably wouldn't be able to guess that. Not merely a randomly-assigned moniker, it turns out that the name actually stems from an earlier mission in Goose's career as an aviator in which he told his pilot the wrong engine to cut in their plane -- leading them to crash land into the water below.

What's especially interesting to note about Anthony Edwards' explanation of the Goose call sign to EW is the fact that this terrifying ordeal mirrors the character's death later in the movie. As fans of the movie will recall, Goose dies during a training exercise at the Top Gun school when Maverick's F-14 gets sent into a flat spin caused by a "jet wash" caused by Iceman's fighter. They lose both engines in the incident, and Goose dies when his head slams into the canopy of the plane as the two best friends eject. You can watch the heartbreaking scene, below.

Knowing this new information adds a layer of irony to the sequence, and it makes the death even more upsetting when we consider the fact that Goose had been through something like this before. I swear I'm not crying. You're crying!

Of course, we will have to wait and see if this origin story gets any recognition as the Top Gun franchise moves forward into the future. Production for Top Gun: Maverick is expected to start this year ahead of its July 12, 2019 release, and Goose's son is expected to play a role in the film's narrative. Will this element of the character enter the canon when the sequel debuts? Only time will tell.

On that note, CinemaBlend will bring you all of the latest and greatest Top Gun-related news as it becomes available to us. For now, you can keep an eye on our 2018 movie premiere guide to see what else is coming this year and fill out your moviegoing calendars accordingly.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.