Val Kilmer delighted fans with his “Top Gun: Maverick” cameo earlier this year, but he came close to reprising another one of his beloved 1980s roles in 2022. In addition to his return to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, he almost went back to the fantasy world of “Willow.”
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, “Willow” showrunner Jonathan Kasdan revealed that Kilmer came very close to reprising his role as Madmartigan on the Disney+ series.
“We really wanted Val to come be in the show,” Kasdan said. “And Val really wanted to come out and be in the show. I remember going to see Val right after this thing started to get some momentum, and I said, ‘Listen, we’re doing this. And the whole world wants Madmartigan back.’ And he was like, ‘Not as much as I do.'”
With Kilmer on board, Kasdan and his creative team got to work crafting a story that would allow him to make an appearance.
“We started building out the first season with the intent of having him appear,” he said, adding that the team thought Kilmer would be in the show “until pretty late in the process, frankly.”
Kasdan explained that Kilmer ultimately had to withdraw from the show due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As COVID overtook the world, it became insurmountable,” he said. “We were prepping in the spring of the year that it was most happening. And Val reluctantly didn’t feel he could come out. We had to figure out a way to preserve the story we wanted to tell with him about how his story was playing out.”
But don’t count out the possibility of seeing Madmartigan again down the road. While the show has not been renewed for a second season, Kasdan is hoping that they can find another opportunity to cast Kilmer if the series continues.
“We wanted to leave open the door to any possibility in the future and also honor the spirit of him,” Kasdan said. “We’ve tried to do that and work with him in a way so that he is felt and heard, if not seen.”
The first two episodes of “Willow” are now streaming on Disney+.