Tom Cruise Says He 'Really Rallied Hard' for Val Kilmer Reunion in 'Top Gun: Maverick'

The actors are reprising their roles in the sequel after over 35 years

Tom Cruise; Val Kilmer
Photo: Carlos Tischler/Eyepix Group/Shutterstock; Rob Kim/Getty Images

Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell and Tom "Iceman" Kazansky are back on the big screen.

Tom Cruise is set to reunite with his Top Gun co-star Val Kilmer for the anticipated sequel premiering later this month, over 35 years after the original hit theaters.

Cruise, 59, starred in the 1986 film as "Maverick," whose nemesis, "Iceman," was played Kilmer.

Now, in the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick, premiering May 27 after being postponed due to COVID-19, Cruise and Kilmer, 62, return to their iconic roles.

Cruise, who arrived at the May 4 premiere at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego in a helicopter, spoke to Entertainment Tonight about his experience reprising his role alongside Kilmer.

"I really rallied hard for him to make the movie," Cruise said of Kilmer.

"The kind of talent that he has, and you see that scene, it's very special, it's just very special," he continued, speaking of a powerful scene in the film.

Top Gun producer Jerry Bruckheimer told PEOPLE last year that Cruise "really wanted" Kilmer in the new film.

"He said, 'We have to have Val, we have to have him back. We have to have him in the film,'" Bruckheimer says. "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."

He continued of Kilmer, "He's 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."

Val Kilmer, Tom Cruise Top Gun - 1986

Bruckheimer also noted that the Top Gun reunion was "very emotional" for Kilmer and Cruise. "It was a really emotional experience for all of us," he said. "It was a long time getting there, but we did."

​​Kilmer previously shared his reaction to the news that Cruise was working on Top Gun: Maverick in his memoir last year, titled I'm Your Huckleberry.

"He was calling it Top Gun: Maverick. Well, Tom was Maverick, but Maverick's nemesis was Iceman. The two went together like salt and pepper," Kilmer wrote. "It didn't matter that the producers didn't contact me. As the Temptations sang in the heyday of Motown soul, 'ain't too proud to beg.'"

Top Gun: Maverick opens in theaters May 27.

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