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The Story Behind Goose's Nickname In Top Gun

To many people, Tom Cruise became a household name because of his role in 1983's "Risky Business." However, few would dispute that the actor's true journey to stardom began its ascent to the maximum altitude when he played Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in 1986's "Top Gun."

The sleek, powerful visuals of planes soaring through the air as directed by Tony Scott, plus the glossy romance between Maverick and Charlie (Kelly McGillis), made "Top Gun" the highest-grossing film of 1986 (via Box Office Mojo). Not only did "Top Gun" make over $350 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo), but it also quickly spread to every facet of American culture. The film's soundtrack went platinum nine times over (via RIAA), U.S. Navy recruitment surged (via LAist), and even President Ronald Reagan was said to be a fan (via People).

As any "Top Gun" fan will surely proclaim, a key part of the film's success is the camaraderie between Maverick and his best friend Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards). But if Pete "Maverick" Mitchell gets his nickname because he tends to work alone as a daredevil pilot, why does Nick Bradshaw get called "Goose?"

Goose is based on the nickname of a real naval pilot

Anthony Edwards originally started as an actor in teen-oriented comedies, including small roles in "Revenge of the Nerds II" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (via IMDb). While it may be difficult for some superfans to remember, "Top Gun" was actually the actor's first major role as an adult, and it remains one of his most popular. Despite the fact that Edwards has remained an active force in Hollywood, he is still often asked about a role that he played at the age of 24.

In 2018, People TV interviewed Edwards about his storied career in Hollywood. During the interview, Edwards touched on everything from his role in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" to his job in "ER" (via YouTube). Of course, the host couldn't help but take a look back at the main role that made him famous. While watching the "Top Gun" beach volleyball scene, the interviewer asked Edwards why his character's nickname is so goofy, and the actor didn't disappoint.

Interestingly, it turns out the name was written into the script because there was a real-life pilot nicknamed Goose. However, the exact origin of this nickname has an even deeper meaning. According to Edwards, the real Goose was involved in an accident in which he lost an engine. As if that wasn't bad enough, a miscommunication about which engine was out resulted in the plane going into the water. "So, he got the name 'Goose' for having messed up," Edwards said. "Silly Goose is what it was."