Here’s How Val Kilmer’s “Iceman” Was Able to Talk in 'Top Gun 2' With Tom Cruise

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·2 min read
Here’s How Val Kilmer’s “Iceman” Was Able to Talk in 'Top Gun 2' With Tom Cruise
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After a nearly three-year-long delay, Top Gun 2: Maverick is finally hitting theaters over Memorial Day Weekend and we'll going to be introduced to Pete "Maverick" Mitchell's (Tom Cruise) world once again.

Now, it's been close to four decades since the original film debuted in May 1986 and we're about to meet some new students in the Top Gun program (several of them played by actors Miles Teller, Glen Powell and Jay Ellis). But like any good sequel, we need to see some familiar faces, right? That's why we're lucky to see world-renowned actor Val Kilmer being back into the fold. As fans may remember, he famously portraying Tom's former rival and now close friend, Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky.

For a Hollywood star who has appeared in many other projects since Top Gun — including playing the titular role in 1995's Batman Forever — it's amazing to see him don his old military shoes. But for Val, it's truly a special moment after battling throat serious health problems over the last few years.

Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive - Getty Images
Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive - Getty Images

After being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015, Val underwent two tracheotomies and chemo treatments. Unfortunately, he lost his voice in the process. In his 2020 memoir I'm Your Huckleberry, Val revealed the impact it has on his daily life. He initially joking that his voice now sounds more like a "buffalo." Amidst the frivolity, Val wrote, "Speaking, once my joy and lifeblood, has become an hourly struggle."

The following summer, in July 2021, the 62-year-old California native gave fans a glimpse into his life in the Amazon Prime documentary, Val. "Now that it's more difficult to speak, I want to tell my story more than ever," he said in the film.

Luckily, it's the 21st century, and medicine and technology can make the impossible possible again. Through the use of artificial intelligence, Val was able to find his voice again for Top Gun 2. Using old recordings of the actor's voice, he worked with the tech company Sonantic to recreate his iconic voice pre-cancer.

"People around me struggle to understand me when I’m talking," Val says in a clip released to YouTube by Sonantic. "Despite all that, I still feel I’m the exact same person, still the same creative soul. A soul that dreams ideas and stories constantly."

He continues: "But now I can express myself again, I can bring these dreams to you and show you this part of myself once more. A part that was never truly gone, just hiding away.”

So what does this mean, exactly? He can start returning to the career he loves — and that begins with coming back to the big screen as Iceman in Top Gun 2: Maverick.

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