Tom Cruise 'Was Adamant' Val Kilmer Had to Be in 'Top Gun: Maverick' , Says Jerry Bruckheimer

The Top Gun sequel is set to hit theaters on Nov. 19

Thirty-five years after the original Top Gun premiered, fans will get to see Val Kilmer return as Iceman in the upcoming sequel — something Tom Cruise was "adamant" about.

Kilmer, 61, starred as Iceman in the 1986 original film, playing the rival of Cruise's Pete "Maverick" Mitchell. Now, both have reprised their roles in Top Gun: Maverick, slated for a Nov. 19 release.

Top Gun producer Jerry Bruckheimer tells PEOPLE in this week's issue that Cruise, 59, "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 continues 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."

COVER STORY: Val Kilmer On Surviving Throat Cancer: 'I Want to Share My Story More Than Ever'

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For much more on Val Kilmer, pick up his PEOPLE cover story on newsstands Friday

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

For his part, Kilmer is very excited to return to the big screen in the highly anticipated sequel, the actor's son, Jack, tells PEOPLE.

"They honor the legacy of Iceman, and he was so stoked by it," says Jack, 26.

Jack, who was on the San Diego set with his sister Mercedes, says that they witnessed "hundreds of extras of real pilots" who explained how the action movie inspired them to enter their respective fields.

"They were coming up to us and telling us that the first Top Gun inspired them to join the navy and the air force," Jack recalls. "Then we had these big F-bomb planes flying overhead. It was like one of the proudest moments of being American that you could think of really."

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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.'"

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Jerry Bruckheimer and Val Kilmer. Kevin Mazur/wireimage

In addition to the upcoming movie, Kilmer has recently been working on his new Amazon Original Documentary, Val. The film, available to stream now, is co-directed by Leo Scott and Ting Poo and produced by Kilmer, Jack and Mercedes, 29.

Val is an intimate look at the star's personal and professional life, including his throat cancer battle and recovery.

"Now that it's more difficult to speak, I want to tell my story more than ever," he says in the documentary, referencing the tracheostomy that permanently damaged his speaking voice.

Top Gun: Maverick flies into theaters on Nov. 19.

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