After 36 years and a global pandemic, it looks like ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is finally exiting the highway to the danger zone and landing in theaters on May 27.

The latest trailer, which dropped Tuesday, finally reveals the big bad — and no, it’s not the Russians or the Chinese, or North Korea, although our Top Gun pilots will most assuredly see combat with some foreign entity.

But Maverick’s true big bad appears to be time.

The movie centers on Top Gun pilot Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise), who after four decades of service, hasn’t achieved any higher rank and is seemingly at odds with just about everyone he encounters. Surely the Navy must be trying to push him out.

But it’s not just the length of Maverick’s career that’s working against him. Nostalgia is too.

He’s brought in to train a class of pilots for a thus-far undisclosed mission by none other than Adm. Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), his enemy in the first movie, who is now in charge of the Pacific Fleet.

What’s more, one of the students in the program is Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s best friend Lt. Junior Grade Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards), who died in a hop in the first movie. And, according to this trailer, his meeting with Maverick is not a reunion of the warm fuzzy variety.

As Maverick faces what surely must be an impending retirement date and whatever demons still chase him after the loss of Goose, he’ll also fly a mission “on a level no living pilot’s ever seen.”

Where? Your guess is as good as ours. And while the trailer is careful not to spoil the location, several of the combat scenes appear to feature snowy mountain terrain that’s about as frosty as the relationship between Maverick and the younger Bradshaw.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

More From Observation Post
In Other News