How the scenes of the Emotional Maverick and the Ice Man came together in Top Gun 2

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Caution: This article contains spoilers for Top Gun: Maverick

According to the director of Top Gun: Maverick, filming the reunion of old rivals Maverick and Iceman was an emotional experience. The sequel to the 1986 blockbuster action movie “The Best Shooter” is a huge success even after 36 years, reviving trips to the theater at the behest of Tom Cruise and proving that this is an exciting film in itself. Even decades later, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is still flying fighter jets when he is suddenly returned to the “Best Shooter” program, this time as a trainer. His task: to prepare a new class for a high-stakes mission, from which they may not get out alive.

While the central element of the film’s narrative relates to Maverick’s relationship with Ruster, the son of his late friend and co-pilot Goose, the film offers ample opportunities to bring back fan-favorite characters from the 1986 original. The main candidate was Iceman, Maverick’s nemesis turned friend, played by rising star Val Kilmer. Despite the fact that Kilmer never wanted to star in The Best Shooter, this film led him to success in the late 80s and 90s, and the actor was chosen for the long-awaited sequel.

According to EW, Maverick director Joseph Kosinski recalls the process behind the touching scene of Iceman and Maverick reuniting. The meeting of Iceman and Maverick in the film serves as a way to pay homage to Kilmer and assure Maverick of his instincts in training the Top Gun class for their dangerous operation. Kosinski says that the crew spent a lot of time perfecting the scene, and it was worth the effort because of how beautiful it turned out. Check out the quote below:

Obviously [we] spent a lot of time on this scene, composing it, preparing,” says the director. “I wasn’t sure how it would work. Chris McQuarrie (director of the “Mission Impossible” franchise and co-writer of “Best Shooter: Maverick”) put the finishing touches to the scene and really convinced me that this scene would work. And he was right. It’s a really beautiful scene. We shot it in Los Angeles, in a very beautiful house in the park. It’s very unusual to see not only Val and Tom, but also Maverick and Iceman together on the screen.

Kilmer was also touched when he finally saw this scene on the big screen, noting that reuniting with Cruise in the film after almost 40 years was great. Kosinski does not give details about what “finishing touches” were made to this segment, except for shooting in an admittedly beautiful house, but the result is both inspiring and sad. Kilmer and Cruise have a natural chemistry that makes it easy for Iceman to comfort Maverick, but his inability to speak well is discouraging.

Despite their brief on-screen moment together, Kosinski and McQuarrie shot a touching scene that made Iceman’s death shortly thereafter impressive for both the story and the Maverick character. Nostalgic fans of Tony Scott’s thrilling ride of the ’80s probably appreciated the tender care that was put into creating a surprisingly tender conversation between two characters who were once fierce rivals of Top Gun. And although Iceman will not return in the third film, his role in “The Best Shooter: Maverick” is key, and Kosinski did a great job with it, as a memorable send-off for the legendary pilot.