Val Kilmer Being Replaced In The Sequel To His Best Movie

Austin Butler may have hinted that he will be playing a younger version of Val Kilmer's character in Heat 2 when he said he watched the original film recently.

By Douglas Helm | Updated

Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer in Heat

Austin Butler has been on a blazing hot streak ever since his star-making role in Elvis, and now he might be playing Val Kilmer’s role in Heat 2. While there had already been rumblings of Butler taking on the role, the rumors have been bolstered after Butler appeared on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. World of Reel reported on Butler’s podcast appearance, where he revealed he recently rewatched Michael Mann’s Heat and added Thief to his list of movies to watch.

Of course, Austin Butler could just be appreciating some cinema classics — or he could be studying Mann’s directorial style and Val Kilmer‘s character in Heat to get ready for his role. With this just being a rumor at this point, it’s hard to say for sure, but it would certainly be another big win for Butler to add to his upcoming projects. It would also be fitting casting, considering Butler does resemble a young Kilmer and would be a great choice.

Fans of the original Heat don’t have to worry about the upcoming Heat 2 being a remake or reboot of the classic original, as it will instead be a direct sequel along with being a prequel. The film will be based on the Heat 2 book that Michael Mann wrote with Meg Gardiner and published in 2022. Austin Butler would be playing a younger version of Val Kilmer’s character, Chris Shiherlis.

Heat 2 follows the formative years of detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and criminals Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro), Chris Shiherlis (Kilmer), and Nate ( Jon Voight) while also telling a story beyond the story of the original movie. While Austin Butler has been rumored and fan-cast for the Val Kilmer role since Mann confirmed that Heat 2 would be turned into a movie, there aren’t too many rumors on who would be playing a younger Pacino, De Niro, or Voight.

austin butler

It also seems unlikely that any of the older actors would return to their roles since the sequel sections of the novel take place relatively soon after the events of Heat. In fact, the sequel section primarily focuses on Chris Shiherlis, so Austin Butler would likely have the biggest role in the movie, playing Val Kilmer’s part in both the prequel timeline and the sequel timeline. Maybe they would do some visual effects and make-up to make him look closer to Kilmer in the original role.

No matter what, it seems like they have quite the casting challenge for Heat 2. Heat is an undeniable classic and one of Michael Mann’s best films and casts, so it’s going to be pretty hard following up iconic performances from the likes of Pacino, De Niro, and Kilmer. Austin Butler might be up to the task of replacing Val Kilmer, but it definitely might be his most difficult role to date.

In the meantime, Austin Butler and Val Kilmer can both enjoy their recent successes and look forward to some potential trophies at the upcoming Academy Awards. Butler’s Elvis is up for Best Picture, and Butler himself is up for the Best Actor award, while Kilmer’s Top Gun: Maverick is also vying for the Best Picture award. You can tune in to see if they win on March 12.