Val Kilmer Shares Sweet Top Gun: Maverick Throwback About Tom Cruise

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

Tom Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell wasn’t the only familiar face back in play for Top Gun: Maverick. The sequel that arrived 36 years after its predecessor also featured the return of Val Kilmer as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky. Now that Maverick’s had several weeks to shine in theaters, Kilmer has shared a sweet throwback about how his time on the 2022 movie with Cruise.

Fans of the original Top Gun will recall how Iceman started off as Maverick’s rival during their time together at TOPGUN, but following the death of Anthony Edwards’ Goose, the two men buried the hatchet, and Top Gun: Maverick laid out how they became close friends in the decades afterwards. In that vein, Val Kilmer’s Instagram post exemplifies how far these two come since we first met them.

While Val Kilmer wasn’t initially interested in doing Top Gun back in the day, he ultimately found the experience “enjoyable,” and it became one of his most well-known movies alongside the likes of Real Genius, Tombstone, Batman Forever and Heat, to name a few. When it came time to put Top Gun: Maverick together, Tom Cruise “rallied hard” for Kilmer to be brought back, just like he’d done with his co-star on the first movie, and director Joseph Kosinski said in April that the scene these two shared in the sequel was “a really special moment.” You can tell Kilmer feels the same way, and in addition to acting in the scene, he also played a major role in crafting it before filming began.

Warning: SPOILERS for Top Gun: Maverick are ahead!

In Top Gun: Maverick, we learned that Val Kilmer’s Iceman was now Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and he was responsible for Tom Cruise’s Maverick still being in the Navy rather than kicked out for his recklessness and multiple defiances of authority. For most of the movie, Maverick and Iceman only communicated through text messages, but the former is eventually called to the latter’s home, where it’s revealed that Iceman is suffering from throat cancer and primarily communicates by typing on a computer. Iceman urged Maverick not to give up on the pilots he was training, and a few days later, Kilmer’s character passed away. Due to Kilmer’s own throat cancer taking away his ability to express himself vocally, the actor’s voice was digitally recreated by Sonantic, the AI voice platform, for the brief moment when Iceman spoke to Maverick.

While Val Kilmer didn’t have a lot of screen time in Top Gun: Maverick, Iceman’s presence was definitely throughout the entirety of the movie, and his cameo is among the ways that this sequel improves the original Top Gun. As far as Maverick as a whole goes, not only has it enjoyed critical acclaim, including CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg giving it 4 out of 5 stars in his review, it’s also a box office powerhouse, currently ranking as the second highest-grossing movie of 2022 worldwide with its $783.8 million worldwide haul. Among the box office milestones Maverick has hit is becoming the highest-grossing movie of 2022 domestically so far and surpassing War of the Worlds as Tom Cruise’s best domestic release.

Top Gun: Maverick’s theatrical run is still going, and Paramount+ subscribers will be able to stream the movie in the comfort of their own home sometime later this year. Look through the 2022 release schedule to learn what movies are arriving in the coming months. 

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.