'Top Gun: Maverick' has become a smash success with critics and audiences alike, with many pointing to the emotional reunion between Iceman and Maverick as one of the high points of the film.
Some mild spoilers for 'Top Gun: Maverick' ahead!
Speaking to USA Today, Val Kilmer says he was "very moved" by the scene when he saw the film.
Kilmer recalls shooting the scene with Cruise, saying he "laughed all day" with the action star, adding "Tom is great and very funny!"
Director Joseph Kosinski said the scene was elevated by the real emotions between the two.
"It's a long friendship. They were both there at their career beginnings with the original 'Top Gun.' I'm sure there was a little bit of a rivalry back then, just like the characters," says Kosinski.
"But for both to be back in this movie, it was a really special moment. There was so much joy."
Kilmer suggested that his character Iceman receive a promotion to mentor status in the sequel, and ran the idea by producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Tom Cruise.
In the final film, Iceman has been promoted to Admiral, which Kilmer says serves as a nice arc for his character.
"It is nice to see Iceman reach such success in the career he loved," Kilmer said, "It's a good story arc, and it was very exciting to be back at it with Tom.
The big scene between Cruise and Kilmer was constantly being changed, before settling on the heartwarming scene we get in the final film.
In the scene, Kilmer is unable to speak, instead relying on typing his dialogue on a computer keyboard and his words being relayed on a screen for the audience to read.
The scene builds to Kilmer saying "the Navy needs you Maverick, they (the pilots) need you."
"The scene changed every day in rehearsals," Kilmer said, adding "they made the right choice in the end."
"It ends up being more powerful when Kilmer speaks at the end of the scene - those words carry more weight," Kosinski added.
In real life, Kilmer battled throat cancer for most of the 2010s, which necessitated the star undergoing a tracheotomy, greatly impacting his speaking voice.
Kilmer's voice in the film was generated by an AI-based program, that combed through dozens of hours of the iconic actor's voice in order to replicate it.
Kilmer's daughter Mercedes revealed "they were able to dub him with his own voice, which is amazing. It’s such a technical feat, being able to engineer his voice that way, that it’s an extension of the technical feat of the film."
The scene ends with a big hug between the Cruise and Kilmer, and Kilmer says the hug was "straight from the heart."
"I love Tom. We’ve always gotten along great," he added.
Kilmer told USA Today he's "doing well healthwise," and he's looking forward to continue his acting work.
"I’m feeling strong and excited to play any chance I get," Kilmer said.
'Top Gun: Maverick' is on track to become one of the biggest hits of the year, with the film receiving outstanding reviews from critics, and the film is well on its way to becoming Tom Cruise's most successful film ever.