The legendary actor Val Kilmer, 62 years old and well-liked by both fans and critics, is now suffering from extreme health complications. Although he has made it to the big screen despite his health problems, it is still unclear if we will be seeing him again. In this episode of FactsVerse, we’ll fill you in on how his health problems have affected his work and everything he’s been up to.
He was written out of Willow just before production began.
After the success of the 1988 film of the same name, Disney+ debuted Willow, an American fantasy adventure series, on November 30, 2022. However, the series did not feature the well-known Madmartigan. For those of you who may not be familiar with the Willow fandom, Madmartigan is the dashingly attractive and rogue-like hero who was portrayed by Val Kilmer in the original film, which was released in 1988. However, it wasn’t originally the plan for the character to be absent from the show.
Showrunner Jonathan Kasdan claims that not only did the executives want Val to join the cast, but Val himself was eager to play the role, and that fans throughout the world are eager for Madmartigan’s return. Unfortunately, Val Kilmer was unable to return to his role in “Willow” because of his health problems.
In recent years, Kilmer’s health has declined due to complications from his battle with throat cancer. Executives were so keen on getting him on board that they began plotting out the pilot with his participation in mind. As COVID spread over the world, it became unstoppable; at the same time, Val was experiencing health problems; as a result, they had to figure out how to keep telling the tale they had planned without his character. But that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a future appearance by Madmartigan. On November 30, Willow premiered for the first time, but creator Jonathan Kasdan is already looking forward to season two and is hoping to recruit actor Val Kilmer for it.
Writer Jonathan Kasdan has said that without Madmartigan, the show wouldn’t have the same vibe. Kasdan also mentioned that Madmartigan is still a significant presence in the new Willow series, with his name, legacy, and children playing vital roles in the plot.
How Val Kilmer was brought back in “Top Gun: Maverick” Following Throat Cancer Treatment
When it came to making the eagerly anticipated sequel to the beloved 1986 action film Top Gun, Maverick, Tom Cruise, and the creative team had a lot to think about, including Val Kilmer. In the 1986 flick, Val Kilmer played the role of Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, a brash adversary of Maverick’s in the film’s climax who earns Maverick’s grudging respect by the conclusion.
But Kilmer’s actual health issues made it difficult to bring the role back. The actor’s speech has been significantly altered since he had a tracheotomy several years ago as part of his battle with throat cancer. Kilmer barely appears in person in one scene, yet his influence can be seen throughout the entire film. In the new version, Kilmer and Tom Cruise share a scene. Their brief conversation is recognized as the film’s “most powerful moment” by the Los Angeles Times.
At the red carpet premiere of Top Gun: Maverick earlier this month, ET talked with Cruise, a co-star. He recalled how great it was to collaborate with Kilmer for both the first movie and its sequel.
Kilmer previously spoke with ET in August 2020 about returning to his Top Gun role; while he declined to reveal any details, he did mention how wonderful it was to be back on set. He claimed to be doing great and also acknowledged sounding like he had been rolled over by a concrete mixer. Before concluding the interview, he added that even though some days are nicer than others, he’s definitely improving and plans to work until he’s 150 years old.
The rest of the Maverick cast gushed about Kilmer’s appearance on set during their ET interviews, with Connelly calling their emotional scene together “really lively and beautiful.”
Also, Sameep Kadakia, MD, Director of Premier Health’s Comprehensive Head and Neck Cancer and Restoration Program, shared that Kilmer has made a significant statement for cancer patients and their families by returning to the big screen with his voice affected by cancer.
‘Top Gun’ Star Val Kilmer on His Health, Cancer Recovery and Losing His Speaking Voice
The Hollywood legend has spent the past seven years coping with a career-altering diagnosis, which included a tracheotomy that rendered communication nearly impossible. Kilmer, who is now 62 years old, spent the two years between 2015 and 2017 privately processing a devastating throat cancer diagnosis before publicly addressing rumours and speculation about his health.
The actor’s career was uncertain after he revealed the effects of his throat cancer treatment on his health and how he gradually lost his ability to talk, which alarmed fans and critics alike. After some initial reluctance, Kilmer sought medical assistance, as he revealed in an in-depth interview with the New York Times. However, it wasn’t until a Reddit discussion in 2017 that Kilmer revealed his previous diagnosis. The Times reports that Kilmer’s children eventually persuaded him to seek medical attention for his throat cancer, which ultimately resulted in many rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. The surgeries helped Kilmer recover from his throat cancer diagnosis and apparently enter remission, as reported by several sources, including his 2020 documentary “Val” and his memoir “I’m Your Huckleberry.”
In an interview published later that year with The Hollywood Reporter, Kilmer said that he felt the effects of his throat cancer treatment. According to Harvard Health’s published resources, the vocal cords are often the first area of the throat to show signs of cancer, with the disease then spreading to the tonsils and back of the throat, which was exactly what Kilmer experienced.
Kilmer later elaborated that he had recently undergone tracheal surgery, which had left him almost voiceless and made him extremely breathless all the time. The procedure was later identified as a tracheotomy, which, as explained by the Mayo Clinic, involves creating a new airway in the throat to help one breathe when the typical route for breathing is somehow blocked or limited. It is currently unknown if or when Kilmer’s tracheostomy will be closed by his medical team.
Despite the challenges of communication, Val, the star’s documentary that explores his life and career up until his cancer diagnosis and treatment, features an emotional declaration from the actor that he is more determined than ever to share his tale. Since then, Kilmer has worked hard to keep working despite health issues, most recently making his long-awaited return to Top Gun: Maverick in May.
Kilmer also disclosed an interesting aspect of how he ended up discovering his throat cancer in his memoir titled I’m Your Huckleberry. The aspect centred on Cher and how she had a role in the process. He described in his writing how he had suddenly awoken from a deep sleep one night and vomited blood all over the bed, just like in a scene from The Godfather. After dialling 911, he immediately began praying. He also informed his hostess, Cher, who immediately took control of the situation. As he was being brought to the hospital, where he would get the devastating news, he recounted that the two managed to share a few laughs. Even though his life was seemingly in danger, he and Cher joked about physical attractiveness and how he looked like a stuntman from Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs while his vitals were being checked. They were laughing so hard that they had to put an oxygen mask on him to complete taking his vitals.
How he continues to pursue his acting career in the face of his condition
While Kilmer is still dealing with the effects of having a tracheostomy, his Hollywood comeback in Top Gun: Maverick shows that the actor is continuing to pursue fresh acting opportunities, but with the help of artificial intelligence.
Sonantic, a software startup, worked with Kilmer in 2021 to develop a program that replicated his voice using old voice tapes and current AI technology. Kilmer announced his involvement with the program in a one-minute film in August of that same year, which outlined his initial decision to pursue the idea. In an interview, he revealed again that after receiving treatment, he lost his voice and people nearby had trouble understanding him when he talked. He also added that, in spite of everything, he still believes he is the same person with the same creative spirit and wishes to reveal that side of himself once again.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the Sonantic project was the same audio program utilized in Top Gun: Maverick. It was included in the moving sequence where Kilmer and Cruise are heard speaking aloud as fans learn about fresh plotlines in the eagerly awaited sequel.
Additionally, Kilmer will be eligible to use the same audio technology in upcoming productions. The program has provided fans with the possibility of seeing more of the legendary cinema star even as he battles his health difficulties.
Regarding how his faith influenced his recovery.
According to this 2020 New York Times feature, Kilmer initially had no desire to receive formal medical therapy after being diagnosed with cancer. Kilmer had intended to rely on his Christian Science religion to get through his illness. But his two children, Jack, 27 years old, and Mercedes, 30 years old, fought arduously to persuade him to consult medical professionals. He ultimately decided against going down the road of seeking treatment through a religious advisor because he didn’t want his children to be away from him when he needed them the most.
Kilmer later told the Times that he felt his cancer recovery was effective because of his spiritual interests.
While one may not get back everything they lose because of cancer, Val Kilmer seems to continue doing the one thing he has always been loved for regardless. His health may have taken a turn for the worse, and he may no longer enjoy the quality of life he did before, but Val seems to be purposefully enjoying his days.
There you have it. It’s now time to hear from you. In light of his condition, what do you think about his plans to keep acting? Do you want to see more of him, or do you think it’s time he laid down his tools?