Tom Cruise standing in a briefing room, wearing his flight suit in Top Gun Maverick.

Though it kind of started as an accident, the celebration of Top Gun Day on May 13th is bound to be a ritual that Tom Cruise fans will feel the need to honor each year. And 2021 is another special year to highlight the Tony Scott-directed classic, as Top Gun: Maverick is finally heading to theaters this November. To mark this special day in a movie fan’s calendar, Cruise has shared a new photo from the set of the sequel, and it’s going to hit die hard fans in the heart.

Over on Tom Cruise’s official Instagram account, the legendary actor shared a heartfelt account of how Top Gun Day was “created by and dedicated to the fans.” Naturally Mr. Cruise also took the opportunity to plug that he’s excited for fans to get back into theaters to see Top Gun: Maverick, when it debuts this fall. And capping off today’s celebration of the franchise’s legacy, was the following photo that highlights happier times in the 1986 original.

Showing a pensive moment for Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, this Top Gun: Maverick scene is leaning into something we don’t have many details about. The subject at hand is, of course, the relationship between Captain Mitchell and his former enemy turned squadmate, Tom "Iceman" Kazansky. Played by Val Kilmer, and promoted to the rank of Admiral in Top Gun: Maverick, his fate has been made quite the mystery to the audiences awaiting this new film.

There is a loose theory that seems to be at work though, and it’s not a happy one. With director Joseph Kosinski and writer Christopher McQuarrie’s legacyquel taking on an air of nostalgia and reflection on the legacy of Tom Cruise’s character, Top Gun: Maverick has been teasing a sad day in the world of Pete Mitchell. As a military funeral has been shown in the trailers, it sounds like one of Captain Mitchell’s dear friends may not be long for this world, and for all we know, Iceman is going to be the one who’s flying high into the clouds this time around.

Of course, that’s just a theory, as there’s other legacy Top Gun characters that aren’t returning, that could very well take that vacancy. Michael Ironside’s Jester is confirmed as a no-show for Top Gun: Maverick, and it’s still anyone’s guess if Tom Skerritt’s Viper will be part of the festivities. But showing off that particular photo, recalling the Top Gun moment we’re going to share below, feels like a potential sign that this could be the end of Iceman:

There’s plenty of time for this Top Gun: Maverick theory to be proven right or wrong, as the film won’t be buzzing the tower until November 19th. However, today does happen to be Top Gun Day, and You can catch Top Gun in a limited, week-long engagement starting tonight, exclusively in Dolby Cinema. Now if only we could get Mission: Impossible Day off the ground, as that film will also be releasing back into theaters real soon, to wow the Tom Cruise fanbase.

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