Considering Top Gun: Maverick has become the highest grossing movie of the year so far we’re going to guess you’ve seen it, but we’ll also issue a spoiler warning. The new film arrived over three decades after the original and though Tom Cruise is front and center at it all he’s not the only one reprising his role from the Tony Scott film. Acclaimed actor Val Kilmer also makes an appearance in the new movie, appearing once again as Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky. Now an Admiral in the United States Navy and is leader of the Pacific Fleet, Kilmer shared a photo of his appearance in the film on social media, writing: “36 years later… I’m still your wingman <3.” Check it for yourself below.
Kilmer only appears in Top Gun: Maverick for one scene, though his presence is felt throughout the movie (it’s revealed at a certain point that his character is the reason that Tom Cruise’s Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is recruited to return to Top Gun but also who keeps getting him out of trouble). The film also makes it clear that the friendship between Maverick and Iceman has persisted of the years, but the movie also builds in Kilmer’s own health issues into the plot of the film. Kilmer was previously diagnosed with and was successfully treated against a case of throat cancer a few years ago. As a result procedures performed on his trachea however the actor doesn’t have much of a voice anymore, another aspect of his personal life built into the character for the sequel.
Iceman mostly speaks through a computer in the scene, but ultimately convinces Pete to return to Top Gun and to prepare the recruits for the very dangerous mission at the heart of the film’s plot. Tragically it’s not long after this sequence that Iceman passes away off screen. Maverick attends the funeral along with the other Top Gun recruits as well. This moment was a big one not only for audiences around the globe but for producer/star Tom Cruise.
“I really rallied hard for him to make the movie,” Cruise previously told People about including Kilmer in the sequel. “The kind of talent that he has, and you see that scene, it’s very special, it’s just very special.”
“[Cruise] said, ‘We have to have Val, we have to have him back. We have to have him in the film,'” producer Jerry Bruckheimer added. “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. [Kilmer is] such a fine actor, and he’s such a good individual. We had such a good time on the first one and wanted to bring some of the gang back together again.”
Top Gun: Maverick is now playing in theaters worldwide.