When it came to creating the sequel to “Top Gun,” movie star Tom Cruise had at least one demand – he wanted Val Kilmer to appear in the new installment. That sequel, of course, is the upcoming film, “Top Gun: Maverick.”
The original film was released 35 years ago in 1986. In it, Cruise played Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Kilmer played Maverick’s biggest competitor, “Iceman,” in the beloved movie.
Recently, Jerry Bruckheimer, the film’s producer, told PEOPLE that Tom Cruise was very clear that he wanted Kilmer to be in the sequel.
“He said, ‘We have to have Val, we have to have him back. We have to have him in the film.’ 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,” Bruckheimer told the publication.
The famous film producer then praised Val Kilmer for both his work and the person he is.
“He’s such a fine actor, and he’s such a good individual,” Bruckheimer said of Kilmer. “We had such a good time on the first one and wanted to bring some of the gang back together again.”
Making a sequel to “Top Gun” and working together again was an “emotional” experience for Cruise, Kilmer, and Bruckheimer.
“It was a really emotional experience for all of us. It was a long time getting there, but we did,” Bruckheimer also said.
Val Kilmer’s Son Said His Father ‘Was So Stoked’ By Upcoming ‘Top Gun’ Sequel
When you put the making of “Top Gun: Maverick” in the context of Val Kilmer’s battle with throat cancer, his appearance in the film is an even bigger achievement. And, unsurprisingly, Kilmer was very happy to be playing Iceman once again.
“They honor the legacy of Iceman, and he was so stoked by it,” Kilmer’s son, Jack, shared about the film.
The impact “Top Gun” had on many of its fans is not lost to Jack and his sister, Mercedes. In fact, they have heard stories from fans who made major life decisions thanks to the influence the film had on them.
“They were coming up to us and telling us that the first ‘Top Gun’ inspired them to join the navy and the air force. Then we had these big F-bomb planes flying overhead. It was like one of the proudest moments of being American that you could think of really,” Jack also shared.
Val Kilmer himself shared his thoughts about appearing in the “Top Gun” sequel in his memoir, “I’m Your Huckleberry.”
“He was calling it ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’ Well, Tom was Maverick, but Maverick’s nemesis was Iceman,” Val Kilmer wrote in his book. “The two went together like salt and pepper. It didn’t matter that the producers didn’t contact me. As the Temptations sang in the heyday of Motown soul, ‘ain’t too proud to beg.'”
“Top Gun: Maverick” is set to zoom into theaters on Nov. 19. You can check out a trailer for the film below.