Val Kilmer Could End His Career With ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

(CNN Business)–Top Gun: Maverick” hits theaters this weekend, marking the return of one of the biggest movie stars of the ’80s and ’90s.

We don’t talk about Tom Cruise.

Val Kilmer returns to the screen to reprise his role as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky in the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 blockbuster. Cruise is the main star of “Top Gun: Maverick“And while Kilmer has a notable role, some younger moviegoers may not realize what a huge star he once was.

Kilmer’s films have grossed a huge amount of money over his long career: nearly $2 billion at the worldwide box office, according to Comscore (SCORE). (Cruise racks up more than $10 billion at the worldwide box office.)

Kilmer, like Cruise, became a big star in “Top Gun,” playing “Iceman,” the cocky but cool rival of Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

Following that iconic role, Kilmer went on to star in a long string of hit movies that spans all genres: superhero flicks like 1995’s “Batman Forever” in which he played the Dark Knight, and memorable turns on westerns like Doc Holliday’s ” Tombstone” in 1993, biopics as Jim Morrison in “The Doors” in 1991 and in crime movies as a bank robber in Michael Mann’s 1995 masterpiece “Heat.”

Val Kilmer on his cancer and the “Top Gun” sequel

But “Top Gun: Maverick” is probably the swan song for Kilmer, who underwent a tracheotomy which completely altered his voice. Kilmer revealed in 2017 that she had throat cancer and has taken a long way from acting.

Kilmer’s off-screen health issues are woven into the story of “Top Gun: Maverick,” giving the sequel an emotional layer of real life. If the new film is indeed Kilmer’s last role, it will conclude one of the most exciting and profitable careers in Hollywood history.

Last year, Kilmer appeared on “Val”, an intimate documentary which dealt with his health problems and explored his career. The documentary shares interactions she videotaped with his family and on sets over the years.

David Rooney, chief film critic for The Hollywood Reporter, wrote in his review that the most poignant element of “Top Gun: Maverick” occurs during the brief screen time of Kilmer’s character, Iceman, whose health problems mirror those of the actor in real life, generating a resounding ailment” .

“There is reciprocal warmth, even love, in a scene between Iceman and Maverick that acknowledges the characters’ hard-earned bond, as well as the rivalry that preceded it, with delicate humor,” Rooney wrote.

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