‘You Have to Figure Out a Way’: Top Gun Star Val Kilmer’s Cancer Recovery Story is the Stuff of Legends


Top Gun: Maverick directed by Joseph Kosinski is one of 2022’s most successful movies in the Hollywood industry and a significant milestone for Tom Cruise. This movie is also very special for Val Kilmer.

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Top Gun: Maverick starring Tom Cruise's co-star Val Kilmer
Top Gun: Maverick 

How Val Kilmer Got The Role In the Top Gun: Maverick?

Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer in Top Gun Sequel

Also Read: Here’s Why Val Kilmer Stopped Playing Batman After One Movie

Val Kilmer has also worked alongside Tom Cruise in the original Top Gun. His role in the sequel was kept under wraps as the star was battling throat cancer which has affected his speech, which the actor himself confirmed in 2017. Cruise and Kosinski then planned to include the actor in the film, with his character Tom Kazansky whose story resembles the actor’s real-life challenges touchingly and emotionally.


Val Kilmer’s role got an upgrade when the creative team included Kilmer’s voice in the film, which was lost during treatment. In 2021, through AI technology, Kilmer’s voice was recreated with archival audio. Due to that, his voice was included in the movie, where he gives a heartwarming speech to his friend Maverick after training a handful of Top Gun graduates. Kazansky also used a computer to communicate in the film, which Kilmer uses in real life as well.

Val Kilmer Sharing His Cancer Treatment Story Is A Great Inspiration

Val Kilmer
Top Gun: Maverick Star Val Kilmer

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After multiple rounds of chemotherapy and two tracheotomies, Kilmer lost the ability to speak clearly. In his 2020 documentary, he shared, “Now that it’s more difficult to speak, I want to tell my story more than ever.”


Kilmer always tried to see a broader perspective of everything. In 2020, he gave an interview on Good Morning America sharing that he contends that the loss of his ability to speak is a personal challenge that he has to overcome.

“It’s just like any other language or dialect, you have to figure out a way to communicate that’s no different than any other acting challenge, but it’s just a very unique set of circumstances.”


It’s truly commendable that Kilmer, as well as the creative team behind Top Gun: Maverick, found a way to include Kilmer in the film that was both emotional and authentic.


Written by Priya Sharma

Priya Sharma, Senior Content Writer and Social Media Manager at FandomWire and Animated Times. Having graduated in Journalism and Mass Communication, she possesses extensive expertise in crafting engaging and informative content. She has written over 2000 articles across Animated Times and FandomWire on pop culture, showing her dedication to delivering diverse and trending content to readers across the world. Apart from pop culture, she is quite enthusiastic about the Hallyu culture and is exploring the world of anime, expanding the horizons of her knowledge.