‘Top Gun: Maverick’: Val Kilmer’s Kids Go Behind the Scenes in Touching Post

by Suzanne Halliburton

Fans love everything about Top Gun: Maverick. It’s a shout-out from the gaudy 80s. And it’s a sizzling two-hour movie trip that links two generations of hot-shot pilots.

Sure, there’s a whole lot of Tom Cruise and Maverick in the movie. That’s as it should be. But Top Gun: Maverick also carved out a cameo spot for Val Kilmer’s Iceman. However, most everyone in the movie refers to Iceman as Admiral Tom Kazanski, commander of the Pacific Fleet.

Top Gun: Maverick fans are celebrating Kilmer again after his small, but impactful role. That’s why his two adult children finally shared some behind-the-scenes photos snapped when their dad was filming the movie.

Mercedes Kilmer, who at 30 is the oldest kid in the family, posted a photo gallery from Top Gun: Maverick. Her brother, Jack, also is in the photos. He’s now 27. Mercedes captioned the gallery “finally allowed to post these pics from the Top Gun: Maverick movie set. Maverick out now!”

Be sure to click to the final photo to see the sweetest father-daughter snap.

After First Top Gun, Cruise and Kilmer Were 2 of Hottest Stars in Country

Kilmer married British actress Joanne Whalley in 1988, two years after his co-starring role in the original Top Gun. Both Kilmer and Cruise were two of the hottest actors in the world after the first movie. Kilmer and Whalley, after having two children together, divorced in 1996.

Both the children are following in the footsteps of their talented parents. In fact, Mercedes’ first featured movie role was acting opposite her father in Paydirt. Kilmer filmed that movie at about the same time he was doing Top Gun: Maverick. Kilmer went public in 2017 with his throat cancer diagnosis. Mercedes said her father’s illness brought the family closer.

“We all spend so much time together,” she told People in 2020. “Even just getting to meet all my dad’s friends from before I was born — there are so many beautiful things that happen when you need help from people.”

And her dad’s long-time friends included Cruise, who met Kilmer for the first time on the set of Top Gun. Kilmer was one of the few Top Gun actors who made it to the sequel. And in Top Gun: Maverick, Kilmer and Cruise no longer play rivals.

Before there was Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer were rivals in Top Gun. (Paramount Pictures)

Kilmer’s Cameo in Top Gun: Maverick Was Powerful

You don’t see Kilmer at the beginning of the movie, although you know he’s there. The two old friends chat via text messages. We learn that Iceman has saved Maverick, again, after he ignored an order. The admiral asks Maverick to come to San Diego to train Top Gun pilots for a secret and very dangerous mission. Top Gun: Maverick writers included Kilmer’s illness in the movie.

“I was very moved the first time I saw it,” Kilmer said of watching the sequel. “Almost 40 years is a long time for a reunion. We laughed all day. Tom is great and surprisingly funny!!”

Kilmer wanted to be in the movie and suggested the plotline that had Iceman saving Maverick’s Naval career.

“It is nice to see Iceman reach such success in the career he loved,” Kilmer said of his admiral status. “It’s a good story arc. And it was very exciting to be back at it with Tom.”

You see Iceman once in the movie. That’s when he called Maverick to his house. He used a keyboard to communicate with his long-time friend. He speaks one line. “The Navy needs you Maverick.” And the pilots “they need you.”

Kind of like the rest of us who needed Top Gun: Maverick to jump-start the summer.