Was Hondo In The First Top Gun Movie Or Just The Sequel?

Fans had high expectations heading into the release of "Top Gun: Maverick" in 2022, but few expected it to be as big of a hit as it ended up being, let alone a sequel that many believe is legitimately better than the original. In the time that has passed since the film was released, the appreciation for it has only grown, too. That's largely due to how well made it is and how charismatic Tom Cruise's performance is as its eponymous lead. Credit must also be given to the new characters who are introduced in "Top Gun: Maverick," though, nearly all of whom manage to make a lasting impression even with their comparatively limited amounts of screen time.

Key among the film's fan-favorite supporting characters is Bernie "Hondo" Coleman (Bashir Salahuddin), a Navy Aircrewman who emerges as one of Pete "Maverick" Mitchell's (Cruise) closest friends over the course of its runtime. It's revealed early in "Top Gun: Maverick" that Hondo's friendship with Cruise's rebellious pilot predates the film's story. However, the backstory of their friendship isn't explored in the movie, which is why some viewers may finish it thinking that Hondo is a character from the original "Top Gun."

That's not actually the case. Indeed, Hondo is one of several new characters introduced for the first time in "Top Gun: Maverick." That fact only makes the authenticity of his and Maverick's relationship all the more impressive, though, some viewers have also raised questions about Hondo's occupation in the film.

Hondo is present for nearly all of Top Gun: Maverick's story

In the opening sequence of "Top Gun: Maverick," Hondo is revealed to be one of the head officers of the Darkstar test program led by Tom Cruise's Pete Mitchell. When Maverick is later reassigned to Top Gun, Hondo follows him there. Unlike Maverick's reassignment, though, Hondo's relocation to Top Gun is never addressed at any point throughout the movie. As a result, some fans have gone out of their way to question and poke fun at Hondo's undefined role in "Top Gun: Maverick."

On Reddit, one user responded to another viewer's question about the nature of Hondo's job by sarcastically asserting, "He was Mav's CESO — Chief Emotional Support Officer." Another fan posited that Hondo could have been assigned to go with Maverick by Iceman (Val Kilmer), whose role in keeping Cruise's hotshot pilot in the air is repeatedly addressed throughout the film. "I suggested that Iceman assigned Hondo to Maverick to keep Maverick emotionally grounded," offered u/hoppyfrog.

The likeliest explanation for Hondo's relocation in "Top Gun: Maverick" is that he either requested to follow his friend or was reassigned by Rear Admiral Chester "Hammer" Cain (Ed Harris), with whom he shares a tense confrontation early in the film. Cain is the same character who forces Maverick off the Darkstar program, so it's possible he did the same to Hondo. Either way, the film's fans can rest easy knowing they didn't forget about Hondo's role in the original "Top Gun." On the contrary, he's just one of several newcomers in the cast of "Top Gun: Maverick" that help make the film so memorable.