Top Gun: Maverick actor Tom Cruise details his emotional reunion with Iceman actor Val Kilmer during the sequel’s filming. The Joseph Kosinski-directed sequel to 1986’s Top Gun was a massive success at the box office and earned six nominations at the 95th Academy Awards, including Best Picture. While there were doubts on whether Kilmer would reprise his role as Iceman for the sequel because of his struggles with throat cancer, the film integrated Kilmer’s health condition into the character and crafted its most impactful scene, where Iceman tells Maverick (Cruise) that the Navy needs Maverick.
In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel Live, Cruise explained how emotional the reunion between himself and Kilmer got on the Top Gun: Maverick set.
While recalling how long their friendship has been, Cruise explained how quickly Kilmer got back into the character’s spirit and performed that scene with such ease, making the entire process feel emotional. Check out what he said in the sequence below:
I just want to say that was pretty emotional, I’ve known Val for decades. For him to come back and play that character…he’s such a powerful actor, that he instantly became that character again…you’re looking at Iceman… I was crying, I got emotional. He’s such a brilliant actor, and I love his work.
How Top Gun: Maverick Celebrates The Original
While Top Gun: Maverick has a diverse cast of newer characters, most notably Glen Powell’s Hangman and Miles Teller’s Rooster, many callbacks to the original throughout the movie make it a perfect legacy sequel. Many legacy sequels combine new and old characters while retreading the same beats of the source material without much thought. However, Top Gun: Maverick celebrates the original’s spirit and shows a newer generation how big of a classic the first installment was.
The sequence between Maverick and Iceman is particularly emotional because of Kilmer’s health condition and because it’s an on-screen reunion that has been a long time coming. In the original film, Maverick and Iceman were rivals until they are forced to work together after Goose’s death. The sequel shows that they’ve not only grown as characters and have stayed in touch for decades but have also become close friends. When it’s revealed that Iceman is dying, Maverick gets emotional, and the scene becomes much more powerful because of how close they’ve been.
It’s a full-circle moment that not only gives closure to fans of the original, but celebrates how impactful the movie was for a generation of audiences. Many legacy sequels made in Hollywood over the years have come and gone without much impact. Top Gun: Maverick not only brought audiences back to movie theaters, but saw two generations of moviegoers unite over a sequel that brought new characters to the table and more elaborate action setpieces, while also never forgetting how impactful the original was for so many people. It might be why Top Gun: Maverick succeeded in theaters and got nominated for several Academy Awards.
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