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In 2014, Hollywood megastar Val Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer. After undergoing several procedures —including a tracheotomy, Kilmer lost his voice, drastically limiting the amount of work he could do in Hollywood. But when rumors of a Top Gun sequel started flying (pun intended), Tom Cruise did everything possible to get his old friend on board.

From Insider…

Last year the actor worked with a London tech company, Sonantic, using artificial-intelligence technology to re-create his iconic voice for the sequel. Sonantic used old recordings of Kilmer’s voice to make it look as if he were speaking in the film, according to Fortune.

In an August interview with People, Kilmer’s son, Jack Kilmer, said his dad was excited about the project.

Kilmer also shares a rare, behind the scene cast shot from the original Top Gun movie to celebrate the release of the sequel:

“here’s a very special throwback from the OG Top Gun. Pictured here are the actual Navy Airforce Top Gun Advisors!”