What Every New Call Sign In Maverick Means
15 mins read

What Every New Call Sign In Maverick Means


  • Top Gun: Maverick call signs add depth to characters, reflecting personalities and legacies, just like in the original film.
  • Fans can now generate their own Top Gun 2 call sign via an AR web app, highlighting the franchise’s cool factor.
  • Attention to detail, like accurate call signs, helped Top Gun: Maverick soar to success, staying true to real-life Navy traditions.



Top Gun: Maverick brings a lot of nostalgia from the original movie, including the famous Top Gun call signs. Each Top Gun 2 pilot call sign is unique and has a story behind it just like the original. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is joined by a new generation of Top Gun pilots in the sequel, and they all have their call sign complete with a backstory. Top Gun: Maverick picks up over 30 years later with Cruise returning to his iconic role alongside a new group of rag-tag recruits who train under Maverick for a dangerous mission.

One of the most beloved things in the sequel is the Top Gun call signs, which feature a whole new set for the Top Gun: Maverick cast. These names are not chosen by the individual but are given as part of the camaraderie among recruits, who constantly face high-risk, life-or-death situations. Although call signs can be mocking, they always denote an intrinsic part of a pilot’s identity. The original started this tradition, and the Top Gun call signs in the sequel are as indicative of the pilot’s personality as the originals.


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Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw

Played By Miles Teller

Miles Teller plays recruit Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw. Rooster’s Top Gun call sign is a playful nod to the legacy he carries on as Goose’s son. In the original movie, Rooster’s father, who was Maverick’s best friend and Radar Intercept Officer, died from a failed ejection after a fighter jet engine flameout. Although Maverick was cleared from blame by a board of inquiry, Goose’s death in Top Gun triggers feelings of conflict in Maverick regarding his own father’s mysterious demise.

It’s a sly nod to Goose without being an overt reference.

In Top Gun: Maverick, Rooster tells Maverick, “My dad believed in you. I’m not going to make the same mistake.” However, the two develop a gradual trust in each other throughout the movie, leading to them saving each other’s lives in the final mission. As for why Rooster is called Rooster in Top Gun 2, actor Miles Teller chose the call sign himself from thousands of options (via USAToday). As a Rooster is a bird, he reasons, it’s a sly nod to Goose without being an overt reference.

LT Jake “Hangman” Seresin

Played By Glen Powell

Glen Powell in Top Gun: Maverick.

In Top Gun: Maverick, Glen Powell plays the role of “Hangman,” one of the more memorable Top Gun call signs in the sequel. While initially a smaller part, the character’s screen time was beefed up by the film’s producers after Powell delivered an impressive audition but was ultimately denied the role of Rooster in Top Gun: Maverick, paving the way for this new character to be created for him. Hangman’s call sign has a nefarious ring, insinuating he possesses a dangerous, take-no-prisoners attitude.

He originally had the call sign Slayer, which Powell changed.

The movie presents Hangman as one of the Top Gun pilots who thinks he is the best. He is not afraid to stand up to anyone and assert his dominance. Though his cockiness comes in handy at the climax of the movie, Hangman is a lot of fun to have as a pseudo-antagonist in the story. Hangman earned his call sign from his reputation of “always leaving you out to dry.” He originally had the call sign Slayer, which Powell changed on advice from real Navy pilots (via Cinemablend).

LT Natasha “Phoenix” Trace

Played By Monica Barbaro

Phoenix frowning in the cockpit in Top Gun 2 Maverick

One of the most significant advantages of waiting 34 years for a Top Gun sequel is that women’s roles have integrally changed since the 1980s — that means this time around, female pilots are climbing into the cockpit and getting their Top Gun call signs. Monica Barbaro plays the “whip-smart, determined” recruit with the Top Gun 2 call sign of “Phoenix.”

A direct reference to the experience of female pilots feeling like they have to fall and rise again over and over

Phoenix is one of the best Top Gun pilots in the sequel and takes pleasure in putting her fellow pilots to shame with her stills. According to Barbaro (via THR), the Phoenix Top Gun call sign is a direct reference to the experience of female pilots feeling like they have to fall and rise again over and over to prove themselves. It’s fair to say that Phoenix has one of the best new call signs of the sequel for this depth of justification alone.

LT Reuben “Payback” Fitch

Played By Jay Ellis

An image of Jay Ellis looking serious in Top Gun 2: Maverick

The role of Reuben “Payback” Fitch is played by Jay Ellis with one of the more intriguing Top Gun call signs. The character is an integral part of the plot of Top Gun: Maverick. This recruit places great emphasis on taking revenge and getting even, but he also doesn’t like to remain in anyone’s debt. His weapons systems officer (WSO) goes by “Fanboy.”

Unlike some other Top Gun 2 pilots such as Rooster and Phoenix, Payback’s call sign doesn’t have much deeper meaning and is pretty self-explanatory. Payback quickly establishes himself as one of the best pilots in the program and one of the top contenders for that top spot on the mission. However, he is also clearly overwhelmed and even intimidated by the mission at the end of Top Gun: Maverick as well as Maverick’s intense teaching style.

LT Mickey “Fanboy” Garcia

Played By Danny Ramirez

Danny Ramirez as Fanboy in Top Gun: Maverick

Another pivotal pilot character is played by Danny Ramirez. Fanboy is an incredibly intelligent young man who is the final member of the team who pulls off the climactic mission in Top Gun 2. Living up to his moniker, the call sign “Fanboy” written on his helmet uses the same font used in the Star Trek franchise, a clever nod to his devotion as a serious fan that also doubles as a promotion for another one of Paramount’s most popular franchises.

Perhaps the Top Gun nickname is a nod to how Fanboy first became a pilot. Maybe watching the crew of the Enterprise flying out into space in Star Trek inspired him, and he decided that becoming a TOPGUN pilot was a step in the same direction. While it’s not revealed for certain what the Fanboy call sign means, like the other Maverick pilot actors, Danny Ramirez had a hand in choosing it and making the character personal to him (via comicbook.com).

LT Robert “Bob” Floyd

Played By Lewis Pullman

Lewis Pullman climbing a ladder in Top Gun 2

The most unusual Top Gun call sign in the sequel is “Bob,” played by Lewis Pullman. While the other pilots have cool or intimidating TOPGUN call signs, Bob’s is hilariously uninspired. Despite having a rather bland Top Gun 2 call sign, his character in Top Gun: Maverick is one of the best Weapons System Officers. One of the things that makes this Top Gun call sign even funnier is that Top Gun 2 doesn’t explain what Bob means.

Fans are left wondering if it is a joke on the meek pilot, if he is in on the joke, or if there is more under the surface when it comes to Bob. Pullman once told The New York Times that Bob’s call sign in Top Gun 2 could be an acronym, standing for “big ‘ol balls,” a title Pullman suggested Hangman bestowed upon Bob after a hair-raising incident during their TOPGUN training.


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How To Get Your Own Top Gun: Maverick Call Sign

Anyone Can Have A Call Sign

The Top Gun call signs are one of the coolest parts of the franchise, and now anyone can get their own call signs without having to do all of that extra army training. The Top Gun: Maverick marketing team has set up a website on which users can generate their own Top Gun 2 call sign. Alongside using camera access, the web app utilizes AR to scan one’s face to help determine the perfect name.

After the face scan, the tool asks a couple of personality-based questions to choose a call sign for the user. Along with the face scan, people get a selfie with a pilot helmet filter that can be uploaded to social media or any platform of one’s choosing. If a user doesn’t like their picked call sign, they needn’t call for air support, as the app provides two other names after the initial selection. It’s a fun way for anyone to put themselves in Top Gun: Maverick‘s characters’ shoes after seeing the long-awaited reboot/sequel.

Why One Top Gun 2 Call Sign Had To Change

Why Did Slayer Become Hangman?

Hangman from Top Gun 2 in his cockpit.

In the first drafts of Top Gun: Maverick, Glen Powell’s Hangman nearly went by the call signs Spine Ripper or Slayer. Even though Hangman is a far better call sign than both, there was a deliberate reason for the change, and it came from Powell himself. On reading the script, Powell instantly noticed a glaring inaccuracy with the suggested call signs. The stars of Top Gun: Maverick consulted with Navy professionals while developing the film, and Powell revealed a key takeaway (viaCinemablend):

“In the first Navy briefing, they were like, ‘You know, these are Air Force call signs, and these are Navy call signs. There are Air Force call signs like Slayer and Spine Ripper.’ And I was like, ‘Well, I gotta change this!”.

There are different traditions in the Air Force and Navy when it comes to choosing call signs. The garish Spine Ripper and Slayer, according to Top Gun 2‘s Navy consultants, fell into the Air Force camp. This didn’t sit well with Powell, so he spent some time in Miramar with some real-life Navy pilots to find a new moniker for his character.

This is how Jake “Hangman” Seresin got his call sign. The production team of Top Gun: Maverick had no problems with the change, especially with the logical reason for it. Hangman is a much more Navy-appropriate call sign for Jake Seresin and one that stays true to the fact the pilots in the Top Gun franchise don’t fly with the Air Force.

Top Gun 2 Call Signs Are An Example Of Why It Succeeded

The Movie Remained Accurate To Real Life

Tom Cruise as Maverick in Top Gun 2

The Top Gun 2 call signs are a part of the larger reason that the movie was the standout success of 2022: attention to detail. The production crew of Top Gun: Maverick did a lot to make sure that the feature film was as accurate to real life as possible. For example, the P-51 Mustang that Maverick and Rooster are working on in the end is Tom Cruise’s aircraft. Many of the flying scenes featured weren’t made with CGI. Rather, real planes and pilots were used.

Reportedly, a big chunk of the movie’s budget was used on renting real Navy aircraft for the film to add to its authenticity. The Top Gun 2 call signs are just one more way that the film stays as true to real life as possible. It’s attention to detail like this that skyrocketed Top Gun: Maverick to a huge box office in 2022, beating out contenders like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The Top Gun Call Signs In The First Film

Breaking Down The Original Characters’ Call Signs

The Top Gun: Maverick call signs stand out and never feel like they are trying to redo the Top Gun call signs from the first movie. It is hard to compete with the originals, which have become iconic and fans have known for decades. Maverick is the most popular call sign of them all, perfectly summing up his style and reputation in the sky as a daring pilot who may play a little too much by his own rules. As perfect as that call sign is, there are plenty of others that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Goose is another wonderful one, highlighting how Goose is not one to take things as seriously as Maverick. It makes sense that he would not choose a more dignified bird, like an eagle or hawk, but rather go for something goofier. The Top Gun instructors also have memorable call signs, with Jester feeling somewhat ironic for Michael Ironside’s no-nonsense instructor, while Tom Skerritt’s Viper speaks to his agility and striking abilities in the skies.

While a lot of the other pilots don’t get much in the way of personalities, call signs like Hollywood, Slider, Sundown, Merlin, and Wolfman are certainly memorable. Of course, Iceman is one of the best Top Gun call signs, used by the pilot, who is cool and collected in the skies. As a nice bonus, when Iceman returns in Top Gun: Maverick as an Admiral, Maverick still calls him by his call sign, showing that brotherhood never ends.

Top Gun Maverick Latest Poster Tom Cruise

Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick is the sequel to the 1986 original film starring Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a top-tier pilot in the Navy. Thirty years after the original film’s events, Maverick is asked to head up a section of the TOP GUN program to embark on a dangerous mission. Things become personal when the program includes the son of Maverick’s late friend, forcing him to confront his past.

Joseph Kosinski

Release Date
May 27, 2022

Ashley Miller , Justin Marks , Peter Craig , Zack Stentz

Jennifer Connelly , Jake Picking , Raymond Lee , Tom Cruise , Lewis Pullman , Monica Barbaro , Miles Teller , Danny Ramirez , Val Kilmer , Manny Jacinto , Ed Harris , Glen Powell , Jon Hamm

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