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Top Gun: Maverick’s Director On What It Meant Getting Val Kilmer Back In The Sequel Alongside Tom Cruise

Val Kilmer in Top Gun
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Fans of the original Top Gun have been waiting for decades for a sequel and while it has taken even longer than expected due to numerous release delays, Top Gun: Maverick is almost here, and the film will see the return of not only Tom Cruise’s title character, but others from the original film, including Val Kilmer’s Iceman. And the director of the sequel is hyping reuniting Maverick and Iceman, saying shooting the scene was one of his favorite parts of making the new movie. 

We’ve known from early on that Val Kilmer’s character from the original Top Gun would be making a return in the new movie, but beyond the fact that it was happening, we didn’t know much of anything. Director Joe Kosinski recently spoke with Total Film (via GamesRadar) about the return and while he doesn’t give away much context to the scene that was shot, he does confirm that there is at least one scene with Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer together and he says shooting that was a special moment. Kosinski says…

That was a huge, huge get — having Val come back to play Iceman. To get to work with an actor of that caliber, to see the chemistry, the camaraderie between him and Tom, and to have those two characters reunite in this film, was a really special moment, and one of my favorite parts of the film.

We learned a few details about Iceman’s return along with the release of the final trailer for Top Gun: Maverick. We see a photo of the man, and learn that he’s become an Admiral, and Iceman is the one who has requested that Tom Cruise Maverick be brought in to teach at the Top Gun school. The good news is that the reference doesn’t end there. There is a scene between the two characters. When it will happen or how it all fits in the story we don’t know, but that’s perhaps less important.

While seeing Maverick and Iceman together again was likely something most Top Gun fans really wanted to see, and that Tom Cruise himself really wanted to see, there were more than a few questions about just how possible it would be. Val Kilmer has been dealing with throat cancer which has made his acting jobs fewer and farther between in recent years. The possibility that he just wouldn’t be able to return was certainly out there. Luckily he was able to make it work.

The actor recently under went a tracheotomy as part of throat cancer treatment, but Kilmer has been able to get his voice back thanks to AI technology. Whatever we see in Top Gun: Maverick fans are going to be thrilled to see these actors share the screen again.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.