Top Gun: Maverick Director Recalls Showing Val Kilmer His Sweet Scene For The First Time

While Iceman and Maverick’s rivalry in the first Top Gun movie may have caused a small real-life rivalry between Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise, the actors have always had a strong respect for each other. When it was time to get to filming the long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick, Cruise “rallied” to get Kilmer back for the movie. Their characters' reunion scene ended up being such a sweet and emotional moment, and recently Maverick’s director opened up about what it was like showing the scene to Kilmer for the first time. 

Joseph Kosinski, the director of the sequel, explained that getting Val Kilmer back as Iceman meant a lot. In the movie, Ice is the one who ultimately calls Maverick back to teach at TOPGUN. Ultimately, the two former frenemies share a nice scene, in which Iceman reassures Maverick that he is right for the job after having a tough time with the students and leadership at the titular aerial program. Kosinski has said this scene is one of his favorites and recently explained to THR that Kilmer's response to the scene was just what he and his colleagues were hoping for.

Well, Tom was involved throughout the editorial process in kind of shaping that scene and building that scene. So there was never really a moment of showing him the final. He was kind of there as it evolved, and he was obviously a key part of it. But I do remember showing it to Val for the first time. That’s a very distinct memory because he came in to watch parts of the film. So that was one scene I wanted him to see, and obviously, we were all a little nervous showing it to him just because we really wanted him to like it. But his response was beautiful. He was so happy and so moved by it that it made us all feel really good and that maybe we had gotten it right.

They sure did get it right. The most poignant moment arguably occurred when Iceman goes from typing what he wants to say on the computer to verbally speaking to his old. This was possible because the filmmakers reconstructed the Batman actor's voice through an AI. Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer a few years ago and hasn't been in the public eye much, making his return for the highly anticipated sequel all the more emotional

The star himself seems to have truly relished the opportunity to reprise one of his most iconic characters. After the release of Top Gun: Maverick, Val Kilmer shared a sweet throwback on Instagram. Posting a photo of him as Iceman in the sequel, he captioned it with:

36 years later…I’m still your wingman

All of the love and care put into this movie is palpable and has clearly resonated with audiences -- and the cast and crew involved in making it. Since its release early this summer, Maverick has not stopped making money and has become one of the biggest 2022 movie releases. Given the subject matter, I guess it's appropriate that film is soaring to great heights. 

I don't know about all of you, but I'll never forget Val Kilmer's return for the movie and, if you haven't already you should definitely check it out. Top Gun: Maverick is now available on Digital HD and will arrive on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on November 1.

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.