Tom Cruise isn't heading to the big screen this year after all. Paramount has reportedly delayed the planned release of the anticipated sequel Top Gun: Maverick, which had been slated to fly into theaters for the pre-Thanksgiving weekend on Nov. 19. With growing concerns over rising COVID cases, the movie has now been pushed back to Memorial Day weekend next year with a new release date for the United States and Canada on May 27, 2022.

It hasn't been easy getting Top Gun: Maverick released. Originally, the sequel was set to arrive before the pandemic with a planned premiere in July 2019. It got its first delay in 2018 when it was realized that extra time would be needed to work out the complex flight sequences. At that point, it was set to bow in June 2020, but the ensuing pandemic pushed Maverick's premiere back to December that year. Further delays would shift it to November 2021 before this latest development brought the sequel to 2022.

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Tom Cruise returns as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick, reprising his role from the original movie. The sequel also stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, and Monica Barbaro. Original Top Gun star Val Kilmer is also back due to Cruise's insistence that his old co-star appear in the new movie.

"Tom said, 'We have to have Val, we have to have him back. We have to have him in the film,'" producer Jerry Bruckheimer told People magazine. "We all wanted him, but Tom was really adamant that if he's going to make another Top Gun, Val had to be in it."

The official logline reads: "After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy's top aviators, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: 'Rooster,' the son of Maverick's late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka 'Goose.' Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it."

Joseph Kosinski directed Top Gun: Maverick. Peter Craig and Justin Marks pitched the story with Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie penning the screenplay. McQuarrie also served as a producer with Cruise, Jerry Bruckheimer, and David Ellison.

As of now, Top Gun: Maverick is scheduled to be released in theaters on May 27, 2022. The wait for the sequel has been long, but let's just hope it's worth it. Previously, Paramount released trailers that looked rather promising, and the first 13 minutes were previewed recently at CinemaCon. Those lucky enough to see the footage were giving it high praise online as well. This news comes to us from Deadline.