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Val Kilmer's Daughter Had A Heartwarming Response To Top Gun: Maverick

While Tom Cruise is reprising his beloved role of fighter pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell this week in the long-awaited sequel to 1986's "Top Gun," "Top Gun: Maverick," excitement is brewing over the return of another legendary cast member from the first film: Val Kilmer, who played Maverick's rival, Tom "Iceman" Kazansky. While other characters in "Top Gun" will be referenced in "Top Gun: Maverick," Kilmer is the only actor besides Cruise to return for the sequel, in which Kilmer's now-Admiral Kazansky is responsible for bringing Maverick back to the Navy's elite Top Gun program to train its best pilots as they prepare for their most dangerous mission yet.

Reprising his role as Iceman wasn't an easy chore for Kilmer, whose throat cancer has left the actor with a diminished capability to speak. As revealed in the 2021 Amazon Prime documentary "Val," the only way he can do so is by using a special contraption he inserts into his esophagus, which leaves his voice very distorted. Through the use of AI voice technology, however, Kilmer was able to contribute dialogue to "Top Gun: Maverick," and his daughter, Mercedes Kilmer, has expressed how much it means to him.

Kilmer's daughter was on set to witness her father's joy over returning to play Iceman

Mercedes Kilmer discussed her father's time on set in an interview with Page Six. "I was on set, I saw it live and it was extraordinary," Mercedes recalled. "It means a lot to my dad as he's very proud of that film. This is what he loves to do."

Mercedes also noted the passage of time between "Top Gun" and "Top Gun: Maverick" — Val Kilmer, 62, was a mere 26 years old when he filmed his role in the original. "It was trippy, and very special for my dad to be on set with all of his friends who made this movie when they were my age," Mercedes said.

Mercedes wasn't the only person moved by her father's appearance in "Top Gun: Maverick." Producer Jerry Bruckheimer told The Hollywood Reporter, "When we filmed it, it was a very emotional day, having Val there and seeing him work with Tom [Cruise] after 35 years."

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, and also starring Jennifer Connelly and Miles Teller, "Top Gun: Maverick" opens in theaters on Friday, May 27.