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'Top Gun: Maverick': Does Val Kilmer's Tom 'Iceman' Kazansky die in the sequel?

The sequel sees Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer reuniting once again in the 'Top Gun' universe
Tom Cruise (L) stars as Maverick and Val Kilmer (R) plays Iceman in 'Top Gun: Maverick' (Paramount Pictures)
Tom Cruise (L) stars as Maverick and Val Kilmer (R) plays Iceman in 'Top Gun: Maverick' (Paramount Pictures)

Contains spoilers for 'Top Gun: Maverick'

With ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ finally hitting theatres, fans are really excited to know what the future holds for Captain Pete Mitchell (Tom Cruise). Apart from seeing Maverick back on screen, viewers really wanted to see some members from the original movie as well. And Cruise didn’t disappoint when he announced that Val Kilmer will be making an appearance in the sequel.

Even though Kilmer is seen in the movie for only one scene, that one scene changes Maverick’s perspective about what he’s about to do.


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The sequel, which is set 33 years after the events of the 1986 original film, sees Maverick being a part of the Navy as the naval test pilot. The pilot is now testing a hypersonic fighter jet and testing if they can reach the Mach-10 speed objective.

However, Rear Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain plans to redirect funds to the drone programs and scrap the hypersonic “Darkstar” scramjet program. But Maverick decides to test the aircraft before Cain arrives and achieves the objective. But he decides to push further with the speed, resulting in the prototype’s destruction. Although Cain wants to ground Maverick, according to the orders of his long-time friend and the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Kilmer), he needs to teach a group of elite pilots from ‘Top Gun’ program.

So, let’s take a look at how Iceman plays an important role in Maverick’s journey.

Tom Cruise as Maverick and Miles Teller as Rooster in 'Top Gun: Maverick' (Paramount)

‘Top Gun: Maverick’: Does Iceman die in the movie?

After getting to know that he would have to teach Rooster as well, Maverick gets a bit nervous because of what happened with his father. Rooster resents Maverick for pulling his papers from the Navy after his father’s death. However, things escalate when one of the team members, Hangman, talks about Rooster’s father Goose and the relationship he shared with Maverick.

After the argument, Iceman messages Maverick that he wants to meet him. Maverick goes to his house and turns out that he is suffering from cancer. They both meet and Iceman clearly states that he wants to talk about work. Maverick tells him that it’s not easy to teach Rooster because of what happened in the past. He hasn’t forgiven him and still resents him for pulling his papers from the Navy after his mother’s request.

Iceman tells him that it’s time to let go. Maverick tells him that it’s not easy, but Iceman reiterates that he needs to let go. However, Maverick believes that he is way past his prime and doesn’t know what to do. Iceman tells him that the Navy needs Maverick, but most importantly, Rooster needs Maverick and that’s why he thought of him when this mission came up.

Val Kilmer as Tom 'Iceman' Kazansky in 'Top Gun: Maverick' (Paramount Pictures)

They hug each other and the conversation ends on a lighter note when Iceman asks Maverick who was the better pilot? Him or Maverick?

Maverick joins the training back, but a few days later, he receives the news of Iceman’s death. As his best friend and one of his colleagues, he gets really emotional when the funeral takes place and makes a vow that he will complete the mission for Iceman now. It was really important for the movie to reintroduce a face from his past to help him resolve his guilt over Goose’s death. But what makes this scene more extraordinary is that the makers haven’t shied away from Kilmer’s real-life experience of throat cancer. That’s why when Iceman speaks in the movie, his voice might sound a bit different.

His death scene surely made people emotional and it was truly the end of an era.