Penny Benjamin, played by Jennifer Connelly, steps in to fill a difficult gap with her character in the much-anticipated “Top Gun” sequel.
Taking on the mantle of Maverick’s love interest after Kelly McGillis’ Charlie of the original film, Penny carries with her an emotionally mature presence that echoes that of her predecessor.
Penny brings a strong female character to the forefront of the story while showcasing the traditional vices of Maverick’s bachelor life. It remains to be seen if Penny will become another token girlfriend or a precursor to a relationship like no other seen before in Top Gun or elsewhere.
“Top Gun: Maverick” has all the makings of a blockbuster sequel, with an exciting storyline and high-budget graphics. However, one major detail has been missing since its announcement: the absence of Kelly McGillis as Charlie Blackwood.
McGillis’s rejection of the role stirred up a storm of speculation on why she chose to part ways, citing potential ageism as the cause. In response to her absence, Penny Benjamin, portrayed by Jennifer Connelly, filled in as Maverick’s love interest.
Who is the enigmatic Penny Benjamin in “Top Gun?”
Maverick in “Top Gun” is painted as a rebellious spirit, lashing out against the expectations of his late father who was wrongfully blamed for a mission mishap during Vietnam. Maverick is often seen making daring moves such as ignoring orders and buzzing towers with his piloting skills that would otherwise be not allowed. By exhibiting these characteristics, Maverick strives to make up for the consequences which fell upon him due to his father’s reputation.
His commanding officer divulged the robust account of Maverick’s mischievous deeds, concluding with the memorable episode involving Penny Benjamin, infamously known as the admiral’s daughter. An entranced Goose uttered her name in disbelief. Goose’s partner Carole teased him about that time he got overly passionate with Penny Benjamin at a later point in this iconic film.
Penny Benjamin Replaces Charlie in “Top Gun: Maverick”
In 2022, the antiquated comments about Maverick’s sex life and the age-old notion of a “good woman” who makes him “settle down” no longer hold true. And with his advancing age serving as an important plotline in this film installment, it becomes necessary to bring back Penny Benjamin rather than introducing a new character—allowing for “Top Gun” to address its outdated attitudes without creating something from nothing.
Maverick’s and Penny’s love story has been an intriguing one, having gone through its fair share of ups and downs over the years. This reveals Maverick to be not just a serial heartbreaker but someone who genuinely cares for Penny as well.
The film shows how their relationship is reignited after many years apart when they meet again. Penny is now a single mother running her own bar while Maverick faces his turbulent past choices; specifically turning down Rooster from joining the Naval Academy out of loyalty to Carole before she passed away.
Penny helps Maverick to come to terms with his internal turmoil, ultimately leading to a resolution between him and Rooster in the finale of “Top Gun: Maverick”.
Beyond simply taking Charlie’s place, Penny is able to bring a whole new perspective and meaning to Maverick. She still follows the same role as before – supporting our protagonist without creating her own energy – yet her familiarity with this world allows us to add value directly to the plot in organic ways. This attention to detail showcases how much “Top Gun: Maverick” cares about its story and helps keep it soaring after over three decades!
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