Thirty-six years after the release of “Top Gun”, Tom Cruise returns to one of his most iconic screen roles in the long-awaited sequel “Top Gun: Maverick”.

Fans of the original 1986 blockbuster are anticipating Cruise reuniting onscreen with Val Kilmer, who played rival pilot Tom “Iceman” Kazansky opposite Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

“It was lovely. The whole experience, you know, 36 years to make this film,” Cruise said in an interview with Metro.

“There were so many moments in making it that were very special, incredibly unique,” Cruise added. “[Kilmer] is an actor that I greatly admire, so it was wonderful.”

READ MORE: Val Kilmer Talks Tracheotomy, Working On ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ With Tom Cruise

As Cruise explained in an earlier interview with ET, he was adamant that Kilmer appear in the first film, and he was equally instrumental in bringing him back for “Maverick”.

“The first one, I really rallied hard for him to make the movie,” Cruise said of Kilmer, teasing a powerful scene between the two in the new movie.

“The kind of talent that he has, and you see that scene, it’s very special, it’s just very special,” Cruise added.

READ MORE: ‘Top Gun 2’ Producer Reveals Tom Cruise Was ‘Adamant’ About Bringing Val Kilmer Back For Sequel

Speaking with People, “Top Gun: Maverick” producer Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed how instrumental Cruise was in ensuring Kilmer reprise his role for the sequel.

“We all wanted him [Kilmer], but Tom was really adamant that if he’s going to make another ‘Top Gun’, Val had to be in it,” Bruckheimer explained,

“Top Gun: Maverick” flies into theatres on May 24.