How to watch Top Gun: Maverick online for free — Paramount Plus release date and time

Tom Cruise as Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick
(Image credit: Skydance Media)

Been waiting for the danger zone? Well, you can watch Top Gun: Maverick for free this week, once it hits Paramount Plus. And, yes, that sounds too good to be true, but we know where all the best free trials are. 

Top Gun: Maverick streaming date and time details

Top Gun: Maverick arrives Thursday (December 22) at 3 a.m. ET.
• U.S. and other countries — Watch on Paramount Plus (opens in new tab) with the 1-week free trial (opens in new tab)
• Watch anywhere — try ExpressVPN 100% risk free (opens in new tab)

In Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise reprises the role of Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a TOPGUN academy graduate who is still a thorn in the side of all superiors everywhere. Now, though, he's needed to help a new generation of graduates, whom are all selected for an incredibly important and difficult mission.

Maverick also has personal stakes in this assignment, as his return to the TOPGUN academy allows Pete to meet Bradley 'Rooster' Bradshaw (Miles Teller) the son of his former wingman Nick 'Goose' Bradshaw, who died in the first Top Gun. The two have a lot to talk about.

This film also finally lets us meet Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly), who was only referenced in the first Top Gun. She runs the bar where all the TOPGUN pilots drink, and has a past with Mitchell.

Oh, and while previous subscribers may have burned their 1-week free trial when signing up directly via Paramount Plus, there is another way, which I'll get to below. 

Fortunately, Paramount Plus is on all of the best streaming devices and we've got Paramount Plus coupon codes to make it cheaper too, so there's no need to worry about accessing the service or Top Gun: Maverick. So, without further grandstanding, let's break down all the details about how to watch SEAL Team season 6 online — and watch the trailer below:

How to watch Top Gun: Maverick online anywhere on Earth

Just because Paramount Plus isn't available everywhere (though it's expanding) doesn't mean you need to miss Top Gun: Maverick if you've travelled somewhere where the service isn't working. Watching along with the rest of the internet can be pretty easy. With the right VPN (virtual private network), you can stream the show from wherever you go.

We've evaluated many options, and the best VPN is ExpressVPN (opens in new tab). It meets the VPN needs of the vast majority of users, offering outstanding compatibility with most devices and impressive connection speeds. It's also affordable at $12.95 per month. (Signing up for longer periods of six months or a year reduces the cost even more.)

ExpressVPN (opens in new tab)

Our favorite VPN service, ExpressVPN (opens in new tab), really shines thanks to its safety, speed and simplicity-to-use. It's also compatible with loads of devices - from iOS and Android to Roku, Apple TV and PlayStations. 

How to watch Top Gun: Maverick in the U.S. for free

So, there is a trick here. While new subscribers can take advantage of a free 7-day Paramount Plus trial and watch Top Gun: Maverick without paying — we're thinking many of you may have already done that.

In that case, you might want to look into other ways to sign up for Paramount Plus (legally) that offer free trials. Apple TV Channels, for example, is another way to sign up for Paramount Plus, and it offers a 7-day free trial. You can sign up through the Apple TV app, which is available on Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast and other platforms. We couldn't find a free trial on Prime Video's Channels, but your mileage may vary.

Top Gun: Maverick arrives at 3 a.m. ET / 12 a.m. PT on Thursday (Dec. 22).

Paramount Plus (opens in new tab)

Paramount Plus (opens in new tab) combines what used to be CBS All Access with even more content from ViacomCBS partners. Includes Survivor and Big Brother episodes, as well as originals like Star Trek: Picard and The Good Fight.

How to watch Top Gun: Maverick online in Canada, the U.K. and Australia

Around the world, in at least Canada, Australia, the U.K. and Latin America (and other regions as well), Paramount Plus will be the home for Top Gun: Maverick. 

It arrives on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, at 3 a.m. ET / 12 a.m. PT / 8 a.m. GMT (and 7 p.m. AEDT, on Friday, Dec. 23).

New subscribers can take advantage of a 7-day Paramount Plus trial (opens in new tab) to watch Top Gun: Maverick for free.

Top Gun: Maverick cast and crew

Tom Cruise returns to star and stunt in Top Gun: Maverick, as does Val Kilmer, who will reprise his role as Tom "Iceman" Kazansky. Oh, and we can't forget about Miles Teller's role as Bradley Bradshaw, Goose's son. In one trailer we saw Teller thumping piano keys just like dad and get a glimpse at the temperament he inherited, too. 

Chicago Justice star Monica Barbaro presents Top Gun's first female pilot and Bradley Bradshaw's love interest. This is her first major film project. 

We also get a look at Jennifer Connelly in the trailer, whose character Penny Benjamin described as "a single mom who owns a bar near the base."

Jon Hamm joins the cast as a hardened Naval officer, or so we think by the striking glares in the trailer. He told Collider (opens in new tab) he's impressed by the aerial action: "There’s not a lot of CG. Those guys are really up in planes and getting thrown around in multiple Gs."

Finally, we see Ed Harris telling Maverick that he's a dying breed. "The end is inevitable, Maverick, your kind is headed for extinction." Can someone say "drone warfare?"

Joseph Kosinki (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion), directs Top Gun: Maverick, while Hans Zimmer scores the movie. The cinematic pair has worked together on action films before and we're excited to see them team up again.

Kelly McGillis won't be reprising her role as Charlie Blackwood, the civilian flight instructor who played Maverick's love interest in the original.

Top Gun: Maverick — Monica Barbaro’s character

In an interview with Empire (opens in new tab), Barbaro emphasized how much the folks behind Top Gun: Maverick are focused on giving equality to the first female pilot in Top Gun. She explained: "Tom, and all the production team, and the Navy really cared about making Phoenix as smart and talented and capable as they possibly could, to really represent the actual women who do this for a living."

Top Gun: Maverick helmet

Ever wanted to own a true piece of Americana? You're too late. The helmet that Maverick (Cruise) wore in Top Gun sold for £250,000 (approx. $353,575 at an auction last summer (opens in new tab)

This was five times its pre-sale estimate.

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(Image credit: Future)
Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.