‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Star Val Kilmer Reflects on Reprising Iceman Role

by Craig Garrett

Fans were blown away to see Val Kilmer reprise his Top Gun character, and now the veteran actor is opening up about playing Iceman again. Top Gun fans have been clamoring for a follow-up for nearly four decades. However, Kilmer’s participation in Top Gun: Maverick was in question. It’s widely known that Kilmer has been battling throat cancer, so some fans didn’t know what to expect in regards to his iconic character, Iceman, returning.

However, Val Kilmer was able to come back for Maverick in a brief, but key scene. In this appearance, Kilmer’s Tom “Iceman” Kazansky encourages Cruise’s Maverick to push forward with training a brand new generation of pilots. Iceman is now an Admiral, and like Val Kilmer, the character is dealing with serious health issues. Due to procedures performed on Kilmer’s trachea, the actor doesn’t have his full voice, which was also reflected in the Iceman character. To fandom’s delight, Iceman uses a voice simulator like Val Kilmer himself to let Maverick know he’s still his wingman.

Though Val Kilmer’s appearance is brief in the film, his character’s imprint is all over the story. Iceman is revealed to be an influence in getting Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell back into the Top Gun program as an instructor. Fans seemed to love seeing the former rivals bury the hatchet and become close friends.

Val Kilmer called working with Tom Cruise again a “pleasure”

In a recent interview with Collider, the veteran actor reflected on playing his Top Gun character again. Val Kilmer had nothing but praise for the director, Joseph Kosinski. “He made us very comfortable, and everyone on the crew was transfixed just to be there,” Kilmer said. The Willow star added that Tom Cruise runs a tight set. “Tom commands a lot of respect and it was a joy to be in such a comfortable setting.”

When asked if his scene opposite Cruise was layered due to the passage of time, Kilmer is a bit dismissive. “Well, we are paid to act and that’s what we did in the scene,” he joked. Still, maybe there is something to acting with a veteran actor. “[Doing scenes] with a class act like Tom made it a pleasure, and less like work!”

Val Kilmer was asked what he hopes he has achieved with his boy of work as an actor. “I hope to inspire increased focus and concentration. To entertain for two hours carries a great deal of satisfaction, and is itself inspiring. To be able to give this gift is such a joy.” Kilmer added that pushing himself to those limits creatively takes a toll, however. “It costs something too. Acting should cost something!”

Even with Val Kilmer’s life-threatening illness, the Tombstone actor has stayed busy. Kilmer recently produced a documentary about his life using personal footage he had accumulated over 40 years. Val is a deeply personal documentary about Kilmer, with the actor’s son narrating the film. The film was well received and currently boasts a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Top Gun: Maverick is still in theaters. You can now buy the film on the streaming service Amazon Prime.