Original Top Gun Star Sues Paramount Over Maverick Using His Likeness Without Permission

By TC Phillips and Ryan Northrup

Original Top Gun star Barry Tubb sues Paramount, accusing them of using his likeness in 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick without his permission.

Original Top Gun Star Sues Paramount Over Maverick Using His Likeness Without Permission


  • Barry Tubb sues Paramount over unauthorized use of his likeness in Top Gun: Maverick , seeking compensatory damages and a trial by jury.
  • Top Gun: Maverick faced a copyright infringement lawsuit early on, with allegations of copying elements from a 1983 California Magazine article.
  • Paramount's plans for Top Gun 3 may be impacted by legal battles, but the success of Maverick suggests sequels are likely to follow.


Barry Tubb, the actor who played Leonard "Wolfman" Wolfe in the original Top Gun, is suing Paramount over using his likeness in 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick. Serving as the belated sequel to the hit 1986 action movie, Top Gun: Maverick saw Tom Cruise return to the role of Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell alongside a younger generation of aviators, including the son of his late friend and wingman Nick "Goose" Bradshaw. Set decades after the events of the first movie, the sequel also featured the return of Val Kilmer as Maverick’s former rival, Tom "Iceman" Kazansky.

Per a new report from Entertainment Weekly,Tubb has launched legal action against Paramount regarding the decision to include his likeness in a Top Gun: Maverick scene, which includes a photograph depicting his original character alongside Maverick, Goose, and Iceman. According to the complaint, Paramount did not seek permission to use his image in the sequel, and the actor maintains the image was an altered version of an original behind-the-scenes shot that “destroyed any purported copyright.” Paramount is still yet to respond to the matter. Meanwhile, Tubbs is seeking compensatory damages and a trial by jury.

The Tom Cruise Sequel Found Itself In Some Hot Water

Original Top Gun Star Sues Paramount Over Maverick Using His Likeness Without Permission

While this latest development potentially casts a shadow on the monumental success of 2022’s long-awaited Top Gun sequel, it is not the first time the movie has found itself at the center of a legal furor. Just weeks after the movie was first released in theaters, the family of the author responsible for writing the 1983 California Magazine article that inspired the first movie accused Paramount of copyright infringement and even sought an injunction against the sequel’s distribution.

Key to this earlier lawsuit, which alleges that Top Gun: Maverick copied key parts from Ehud Yonay’s “Top Guns” article, is a scene in which Cruise’s Maverick is forced to buy everyone in the Navy base bar a round of drinks for placing his mobile phone on the counter. However, Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski would later counter this claim, asserting the scene in question was written after his own experience visiting a bar on base and being required to buy everyone a round.

Whether either of these lawsuits will have any significant impact on Paramount’s recently announced plans for Top Gun 3 remains to be seen, yet given Top Gun: Maverick’s impressive $1.46 billion box office haul, it would take a lot to dissuade them from attempting to follow up with another sequel. However, Paramount will probably be exceedingly hesitant about including any future references to Tubb’s Wolfman.

Both Top Gun movies are available to stream on Paramount+.

Could Any Original Top Gun Stars Return To The Franchise?

It Might Be Unlikely That More Familiar Faces Return


If Top Gun 3 does end up moving forward, it's not yet clear who will be returning from either the Top Gun: Maverick cast or Tony Scott's original film. Paramount will evidently be keen to get Cruise back to reprise his role as Maverick, and it's possible that other new stars such as Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, and Lewis Pullman could also make a comeback. Although some of the franchise's new blood seem like prime candidates to return for a sequel, original stars (see the chart below) from the 1986 film do not.

Top Gun Character



Kelly McGillis


Anthony Edwards


Meg Ryan


Val Kilmer


Michael Ironside


Tom Skerritt


John Stockwell


Clarence Gilyard Jr.

Kilmer, for example, returns as Iceman in Top Gun: Maverick, but the film also features his character's death in a particularly emotional sequence. Considering he's just filed a lawsuit against Paramount, Tubb is now also almost certainly off the table to reprise his role as Wolfman. Original star Kelly McGillis didn't return as Charlie in Top Gun: Maverick, nor did Meg Ryan reprise her role as Goose's wife, Carole (the latter character is revealed in the film to have passed away).

McGillis addressed not being asked back for Top Gun: Maverick in a 2019 interview with Entertainment Tonight , saying: “ I’m old, and I’m fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is. And that is not what that whole scene is about. "

Regarding the exclusion of so many characters from the original film, Kosinski told Insider in 2022: "I didn't want every storyline to always be looking backwards." With Cruise now in his early 60s and a prospective Top Gun 3 still a number of years away, it's likely that the next movie will be even more forward-facing, especially since Maverick introduced the franchise to an entirely new generation. It remains to be seen how the franchise moves forward after Top Gun: Maverick, but, at the very least, audiences shouldn't expect Tubb to return.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Director Joseph Kosinski Release Date May 27, 2022 Writers Ashley Miller , Justin Marks , Peter Craig , Zack Stentz Cast Jennifer Connelly , Jake Picking , Raymond Lee , Tom Cruise , Lewis Pullman , Monica Barbaro , Miles Teller , Danny Ramirez , Val Kilmer , Manny Jacinto , Ed Harris , Glen Powell , Jon Hamm Runtime 130 minutes Franchise(s) Top Gun prequel(s) Top Gun

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