Tom Cruise didn’t want to do Top Gun: Maverick without Val Kilmer
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer explains how Tom Cruise insisted they couldn’t do Top Gun: Maverick without Val Kilmer returning as Iceman.
Tom Cruise will appear in the upcoming sequel Top Gun: Maverickbut there was one thing he needed before agreeing to sign up: Val Kilmer. The original Top Gun premiered in 1986 and went to box office number 1 that year. Directed by Tony Scott, it was the story of Tom Cruises Maverick, a successful pilot who had to learn to be an effective part of a team.
The key figure in Maverick’s Top Gun character arc was his rival Iceman, played by Kilmer. Iceman’s level-headed opposition to Maverick’s antics drove the character into a change that he would have resisted without confronting himself. The tension between Maverick and Iceman bounced back and forth like volleyball in the film’s famous beach scene.
Speaking to People, producer Jerry Bruckheimer (who returned after producing the original) said Tom Cruise was “adamant” that Kilmer be brought back in his original role. Despite rumors that Cruise and Kilmer had a feud behind the scenes at Top Gun, Kilmer has insisted that he and Cruise are supportive friends and there could be no better evidence than this. Bruckheimer called Cruise the “driving force” behind the decision, insisting that they couldn’t make the film without involving Kilmer. Read the full quote below:
[Cruise] said: “We have to have Val, we have to have him back. We have to have him in the movie. And he was the driving force. We all wanted him, but Tom really believed Val had to be there if he wanted to do another Top Gun.
[Kilmer’s] such a good actor and he’s such a good person. We had such a good time on the first and wanted to bring some of the gang back together.
In Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise will take on the role again, with Maverick now instructing a new crew of fighter pilots. This includes Miles Teller as the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards), a pilot who lost his life in part to Maverick’s actions. It is unknown how Kilmer’s Iceman will flow into this plot, although Maverick will likely be particularly vulnerable to Goose’s son, which is the perfect time for Iceman to jump in and get him back in shape.
Given how much Tom Cruise makes Top Gun: Maverick, he certainly has the power to get his way. Fortunately, he made the excellent choice of being altruistic to a fellow actor while maintaining the integrity of his character’s arch. As of this writing, Cruise and Kilmer are the only original cast members whose return has been confirmed. The film, which also stars Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell, Jon Hamm and Ed Harris, is sure to benefit from being more than a veteran of. to have the Top Gun universe that holds it all together.
Next: Why Top Gun’s Reviews Have Been So Mixed (And What It Means To Maverick)
- Top Gun: Maverick / Top Gun 2 (2022)Release DATE: May 27, 2022
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About the author
(125 articles published)
Brennan (he / he) is a senior writer at Screen Rant and a millennial who knows more about the slasher films of the 80s than he is entitled to. As a former host of the Attack of the Queerwolf podcast, Brennan has been writing and podcasting on pop culture (especially horror films) for a decade. Brennan’s interests also include the muppets, gum pop from around the world, and reading (notably Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, the manga of Junji Ito, and novels of magical realism). His favorite directors are Wes Craven and Pedro Almodóvar.
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