Val Kilmer Seems to Have Confirmed His Return for Top Gun 2

By  · Published on November 17th, 2015


12 A.M. on a Monday night isn’t exactly the typical time for potentially big casting news to drop, but sometimes an actor’s excitement gets the better of him/her and they let loose without studio clearance. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, and I’d argue it’s typically more interesting than an officially parsed press release, but there is one big downside.

Off the cuff remarks are prone to misinterpretation.

Val Kilmer posted an update late Monday night on his Facebook page stating he’s been offered a role in Top Gun 2 (presumably returning as fan favorite, “Iceman”), but the way he phrased it has left most readers shaking their head in both delight and confusion. Here’s his post:

You can see where this went south, right? Everyone seems to be taking this to mean that not only is he returning for the sequel alongside Tom Cruise, but that Francis Ford Coppola is directing and the legendary – and very retired – Gene Hackman is co-starring.

Coppola seems like an odd choice for an action picture, especially one focused on air combat, but Hollywood has handed blockbusters to far less accomplished male directors before so who knows. The bigger issue there is that Coppola hasn’t made a halfway decent film in nearly twenty years. He has worked with Cruise before (1983’s The Outsiders) and more recently with Kilmer (Twixt), but that’s still a tenuous connection for a film like this.

The bigger surprise here, and the one that should make readers suspicious of Kilmer’s phrasing, would be the return of Hackman. His last feature film role remains 2004’s Welcome to Mooseport, and while we’d love to see that status updated with something a bit more memorable it’s unclear if this would be the kind of film that would pull him back to Hollywood.

On the one hand, he’s rolling in all that sweet Lowe’s Home Improvement TV commercial money, but on the other… Welcome to Mooseport.

He’s previously joked that he would come out of retirement for a film if it could be shot in his home with only one or two other people around, but it’s probably safe to assume Top Gun 2 wouldn’t fit that bill. It’s also probably a safe bet that any role he’d play in the film would be some flavor of crotchety, high-ranking Navy commander – the kind of performance Hackman could give in his sleep – and I doubt that’s something that would interest him.

So if Kilmer isn’t actually saying that Coppola and Hackman are a part of the film then what is he saying? It seems pretty clear that he’s simply listing off things that would make him give an automatic “yes” to a script without even needing to read it. He could have just as easily have said “It’s a sequel to Thunderheart…” “Yes!”

Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see Hackman onscreen again, so I won’t mind at all if his involvement here is actually confirmed. I’m on-board for a Top Gun sequel regardless, and it’s enough to know that Cruise and Kilmer will be back shooting steely glares at each other while they knock enemy drones out of the sky and play sweaty games of topless, slow-motion croquet.

And now you’re imagining Hackman playing too.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.