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Tom Cruise 'Top Gun' Sequel Gets Release Date From Paramount

Maverick will fly again in two years, studio says on Friday

A sequel to Tom Cruise's fighter pilot classic "Top Gun" will hit theaters two summers from now.

Paramount will release the film on July 12, 2019. The film will go head-to-head with Disney's live-action take on "The Lion King," directed by Jon Favreau.

While the project has been in active development at the studio for some time, Cruise himself let the cat out of the bag in May on the press tour for Universal's "The Mummy."

Cruise told an Australian morning show that the film was "definitely happening," and that he would "start filming it probably in the next year." The original 1986 action movie followed the exploits of a Naval flight academy and its students.

There have been several attempts to bring a "Top Gun" sequel to life, but interest from key players appeared to increase in recent years.

Speculation that the project was on -- finally -- picked up late last year after Val Kilmer, who played Cruise's rival Iceman in the original film, said on Facebook that he'd been offered a role in a sequel.

In January, producer Jerry Bruckheimer tweeted a picture of himself with Cruise, saying "just got back from a weekend in New Orleans to see my old friend Tom Cruise and discuss a little Top Gun 2."

Cruise will next be seen in Doug Liman's "American Made," opening this September.