Why Top Gun 2 Needed Val Kilmer’s Iceman Return

Top Gun: Maverick needed to bring back Val Kilmer’s Iceman to ground Tom Cruise’s Maverick, as the duo’s friendship makes both more likable.

Val Kilmer’s return as Iceman was necessary for Top Gun: Maverick to work since the top gun sequel’s story would not make sense without his presence alongside Cruise’s titular antihero. As far as blockbuster heroes go, Tom Cruise’s Top Gun character Maverick is surprisingly easy to hate. He’s cocksure, self-obsessed, and feckless, and his arrogant conviction that he can do no wrong is rarely proven wrong in the original movie.

However, the actor’s charismatic performance ensured that Top Gun’s Maverick is still fondly remembered by legions of fans, and many can’t wait for him to finally return to the big screen in the coming months. While it remains to be seen whether Top Gun: Maverick can live up to the hype built around the much-anticipated sequel, there is no denying that fans of the franchise are eager to see Cruise’s character back in action soon. However, there is a pivotal supporting star whose presence is equally important in terms of Top Gun: Maverick’s success as a sequel.


Related: Goose Will Be One of Top Gun 2’s Most Important Characters

Although Val Kilmer’s Iceman is initially established as Cruise’s rival in Top Gun, by the end of the original movie a shared trauma in the form of Goose’s death has made the duo dear friends. Many movie scholars (including, famously, one Tarantino character) have even posited that Iceman and Maverick share more than platonic chemistry, and there’s no denying that the pair couldn’t be closer by the end of Top Gun. Thus, much like Top Gun: Maverick was right to drop Charlie from the new movie because Maverick isn’t the sort of character who would settle down with his first love, his old rival Iceman needed to play a part in the sequel. The presence of Kilmer’s character provides Cruise’s hero with a reason to stick around in TOPGUN for so long.

Val Kilmer Top Gun Iceman

Maverick living up to his name and being a renegade loner for the intervening decades between movies would just be depressing. However, Maverick and Iceman continue their professional success for years after the original Top Gun’s triumphant ending is much more in keeping with both characters. By the time the duo buries the beef at the close of director Tony Scott’s action classic, Iceman and Maverick’s iconic rivalry has come to define much of Top Gun’s plot. Without Iceman, Maverick has no one to hold him accountable, since his mentor Viper tells him he can’t be blamed for Goose’s death.

However, Iceman eventually warming to Maverick and admitting that neither of them was at fault for Goose’s death is what makes the growth of Cruise’s character compelling, and thus Top Gun: Maverick would be a sad followup if the movie revealed that the pair were no longer working together. While Top Gun: Maverick is likely to spend as much time focusing on new characters as returning stars, there is still no doubt that the return of Val Kilmer’s Iceman will be vital to the sequel’s success. Otherwise, top gun‘s original rivalry would have seemed more bitter in retrospect, and Top Gun: Maverick‘s hero would have ended up as isolated and insular as the character always risked being.

More: Why Top Gun’s Reviews Were So Mixed (& What It Means For Maverick)

  • Top Gun: Maverick/Top Gun 2 (2022)Release date: May 27, 2022

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About The Author

Cathal Gunning
(1359 Articles Published)

Cathal Gunning has been writing about movies and TV online since 2020. His obsessions include The Simpsons, Stephen King, the Scream series, and the horror genre in general. He has spent more time thinking about Stranger Things than the writers of Stranger Things, and he has never seen a Star War.

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