Tom Cruise Was ‘Adamant’ That If He Was Going To Do ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ Val Kilmer Had To Return As Iceman

Val Kilmer has been through a lot the last several years. He battled cancer, and though he won — he’s been clear for four years now — he lost the ability to speak and eat. (His voice is now but a rasp and he stays alive thanks to a feeding tube.) His plight is documented in the recent film Val, but it’s not as though we won’t be seeing him on the big screen again soon. Indeed, he’ll be in the long delayed Top Gun: Maverick, at the request of star Tom Cruise.

In a new piece about the film, currently due on November 19, in People, producer Jerry Bruckheimer reveals that Cruise “really wanted” Kilmer to reprise the role of Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, who in the 1986 original was the rival student at the elite Navy pilot program. (In the belated sequel, he apparently grew up to become a four-star admiral.)

“He said, ‘We have to have Val, we have to have him back. We have to have him in the film,'” Bruckheimer told People. “And he was the driving force. We all wanted him, but Tom was really adamant that if he’s going to make another Top Gun, Val had to be in it.”

Kilmer recently revealed he was forced to take the role, which was his third film, following the ZAZ parody Top Secret! and the MIT college comedy Real Genius. It wound up being his big breakthrough, and he was soon seen in the likes of Willow, The Doors, etc. The relationship between Kilmer’s Iceman and Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell has long been dissected. Quentin Tarantino famously argued for their homoerotic bona fides in the otherwise forgotten indie comedy Sleep With Me. Anyway, it’ll be good to have the two back in swing.

(Via People)