Tom “Iceman” Kazansky and Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell are back on the big screen.
Tom Cruise will rejoin with his Top Gun co-star Val Kilmer for the highly anticipated sequel, which will hit theaters later this month, 35 years after the original.
Cruise, 59, played “Maverick” in the 1986 film, while Kilmer played his antagonist, “Iceman.”
Cruise and Kilmer, 62, reprise their legendary roles in Top Gun: Maverick, which will premiere on May 27 after being postponed due to COVID-19.
Cruise spoke to Entertainment Tonight about repeating his role opposite Kilmer, who arrived in a helicopter at the May 4 premiere at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.
Cruise stated of Kilmer, “I really rallied hard for him to make the movie.”
“The kind of talent he has, and you watch that sequence, it’s just incredibly amazing,” he continued, referring to a pivotal part in the movie.
Cruise “truly wanted” Kilmer in the upcoming film, according to Top Gun producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who told PEOPLE last year.
“‘We have to have Val, we have to have him back,’ he replied. We have to include him in the picture,’ adds the director “According to Bruckheimer. “And he was the driving force behind it all. We all wanted him, but Tom was certain that if another Top Gun was going to be made, Val had to be in it.”
He went on about Kilmer, saying, “He’s a fantastic performer as well as a wonderful person. We had so much fun on the first one that we wanted to get part of the gang back together.”
The Top Gun reunion was also “extremely emotional” for Kilmer and Cruise, according to Bruckheimer. “For all of us, it was a really emotional event,” he remarked. “It took a long time to get there, but we made it.”
Kilmer spoke about his reaction to the news that Cruise was working on Top Gun: Maverick in his memoir, I’m Your Huckleberry, published last year.
“It was dubbed Top Gun: Maverick by him. Tom was Maverick, but Iceman was Maverick’s enemy. They were like salt and pepper together “Kilmer composed. “The fact that the producers did not contact me was irrelevant. ‘Ain’t too proud to beg,’ as the Temptations sang during the golden age of Motown soul.”
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Top Gun: Maverick opens in theaters May 27.