Maverick will hit cinemas on May 27, with advance reviews universally praising the Tom Cruise return to the US Navy flight school. There have also been reports Cruise refused to return to the role without his old adversary. When the news started to surface way back in early 2017, film fans were also stunned to see Kilmer openly touting himself on social media for a role in the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster phenomenon. It had been many years since Kilmer’s heady A-list days in the likes of 1995’s Batman Forever but many were most surprised to see how frail the actor looked, following on from Michael Douglas’ revelation that his friend was fighting throat cancer. A recent Apple documentary also looked at the star’s career and personal battles, with his son Jack voicing his father.
Initially, Kilmer denied the news as “misinformed. But then in 2017, he appeared to finally confirm the reports in a Reddit open fan interview when he revealed he had “a healing of cancer… Because I don’t sound my normal self yet, people think I may still be under the weather.”
The star is a Christian Scientist, and while they do not prohibit medical treatment, they believe that diseases can be more effectively healed with prayer alone.
Last year the acted posted a video fooling around with a Batman mask (watch it immediately below), and his difficulties in speaking can be seen and heard.
A few months later, Kilmer made a video with ground-breaking technology pioneers, Sonantic: “I was struck by throat cancer. After being treated, my voice as I knew it was taken away from me. People around me struggle to understand me when I’m talking. But despite all that I still feel I’m the exact same person.”
The company has taken old voice recordings and fashioned an AI version that allows the actor to speak freely and clearly.
All eyes and ears will now be on the upcoming Maverick. Kilmer fought long and hard (including on social media) to make sure he was part of it, starting with personal posts, although he initially jumped the (top) gun and had to make a red-faced retraction.
Back in November 2015, 18 months before all the Top Gun 2 originally news started breaking, Kilmer posted an excited Instagram message: “I just got offered #topgun2 – not often you get to say “yes” without reading the script… Jerry Bruckheimer and Tom Cruise!!! “Yes.” Let’s fire up some fighter jets again!!!”
Almost immediately he had to walk it back with another statement saying: “This is all a long way off… Being offered a role is very different from doing a role… an innocent mistake. It was just such a wonderful phone call with my agent.”
However, he soon started promoting himself for the long-awaited sequel on Instagram once it all became official in May 2017. Posing in an Iceman t-shirt he wrote: “friends said it’s official – TOP GUN 2 was announced today. I’m ready Tom – still got my Top Gun plaque! Still got the moves! Still got it!”
Now that the film is about to hit screens, its leading men have been talking about their joy at being reunited. Cruise said: “I’ve always admired his work, his talent. We get together… we just start laughing. It was special to have him back. It meant a lot to me.”
Kilmer said playing Iceman once again was “like being reunited with a long-lost friend… the characters never really go away. They live on in deep freeze. If you’ll pardon the pun.”
TOP GUN: MAVERICK IS OUT IN CINEMAS ON MAY 27