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After Top Gun: Maverick Return, Val Kilmer Shares Thoughts On Playing Batman Again

Val Kilmer in batsuit in Batman Forever
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Having risen to Hollywood stardom through movies like Real Genius, Top Gun, Willow and Tombstone, Val Kilmer scored a particularly notable cinematic honor in the mid-1990s: being cast as Batman. Kilmer was selected to succeed Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne for what became Batman Forever, which pitted Kilmer’s Caped Crusader against Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face. While Kilmer’s time as Batman was a one-and-done affair, following his reprisal of Tom “Iceman” Kazansky in Top Gun: Maverick, the actor has shared his thoughts on donning the cape and cowl again.

Back in 2020, 25 years after Batman Forever’s release, Val Kilmer shared that he decided to stop playing Batman because he realized that it didn’t matter who was wearing the costume. A year later, Kilmer described playing Batman as being “so isolating,” but evidently he hasn’t shut the door on a Batman return entirely. The following exchange occurred while Kilmer spoke over email with IGN’s Jim Vejvoda:

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The age of the multiverse is upon us with superhero movies, from last December’s Spider-Man: No Way Home teaming Tom Holland’s Peter Parker with the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield versions of the same characters, to next year’s The Flash bringing Michael Keaton’s Batman back into play (unfortunately, we’ll never what he did in the now-scrapped Batgirl). So now that the proverbial table is set for actors who’ve played superheroes many years earlier to reprise their roles, Val Kilmer will at least entertain the possibility of a second outing as Batman. Kilmer was the third actor to play the DC Comics superhero in a live-action feature-length movie, following Keaton and Adam West.

It is important to mention that because of his battle with throat cancer, Val Kilmer now speaks with a raspy voice, and oftentimes communicates with an electric voice box plugged into his trachea. So if he were to play Batman again, obviously he wouldn’t sound like he did in Batman Forever. But that complication aside, it would be interesting to see Kilmer back in the Batsuit, whether he was silent or spoke a few words. During his appearance in the aforementioned Top Gun: Maverick, Kilmer primarily communicated over text as Iceman, but at the end of his emotional scene with Tom Cruise’s Maverick, he did say a few lines, and his voice was later digitally altered for clarity.

Going back to the multiverse, while there may be a reality where Val Kilmer stuck with the Batman film series for at least one more entry, in our universe, George Clooney took over for Batman & Robin. Considering the negative critical reception that DC movie received and how many times Clooney has apologized for Batman & Robin in the years since, it’s safe to say that Kilmer dodged a bullet by not suiting back up. Between Michael Keaton’s next outing as Batman and Ben Affleck reprising his take on the Dark Knight in both Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and The Flash, as well as Robert Pattinson’s Batman anchoring his own corner of the DC multiverse, we may be set on live-action Batmen for a while. Still, should the opportunity arise for Kilmer to bring his Batman back for one final outing, we’ll pass that news along as part of our coverage on upcoming DC movies.

For those of you wanting to see Val Kilmer back on the big screen, Top Gun: Maverick is still playing in theaters with numerous other 2022 movie releases, but the blockbuster can also now be purchased on digital platforms. 

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.