Top Gun: Maverick director talks bringing back Val Kilmer: "It was a really special moment"

Top Gun
(Image credit: Paramount)

Top Gun: Maverick will soon be blasting into cinemas – and the sequel's bringing back a few familiar faces.

Tom Cruise returns as the enigmatic Maverick, which was to be expected, while Kelly McGillis’ Charlie does not ("That’s left back in the first one,” says producer Jerry Bruckheimer). One comeback shrouded in mystery is Val Kilmer's Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky, with the actor returning to the famous role. 

"That was a huge, huge get – having Val come back to play Iceman,” beams director Joe Kosinski, speaking to Total Film magazine in the new issue, featuring Top Gun: Maverick on the cover. 

"To get to work with an actor of that caliber, to see the chemistry, the camaraderie between him and Tom, and to have those two characters reunite in this film, was a really special moment, and one of my favorite parts of the film."

Another element of the original film that endures is the fact that the external threat remains anonymous, to better focus on the competition and companionship within the Top Gun program. There’s rivalry, sure, but teamwork and affection too. The sequel takes the same approach, Bruckheimer confirms. "There’s really no designated enemy, just like the first one."

Cruise, meanwhile, put the new cast through their paces, with Miles Teller revealing all about "Tom Cruise boot camp" in which they learned to fly jets.

For much more from Cruise, Teller, the new cast, and the filmmaking team of Kosinski, Bruckheimer, and Christopher McQuarrie, check out the new issue of Total Film when it hits shelves on Thursday 31 March. Top Gun: Maverick opens in UK cinemas on May 25, and US cinemas on May 27.

Total Film's Top Gun: Maverick covers

(Image credit: Total Film/Paramount Pictures)

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(Image credit: Total Film/Paramount Pictures)

Matt Maytum
Editor, Total Film

I'm the Editor at Total Film magazine, overseeing the running of the mag, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.