Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Paramount Sued By Original Top Gun Actor For An Unexpected Reason

If any franchise still manages to soar high, it's "Top Gun." The original film from 1986 remains an all-time classic that received a long-overdue sequel in 2022 — "Top Gun: Maverick" — which grossed nearly $1.5 billion at the global box office. Now, that sequel is in a legal quandary, courtesy of an actor from the original. 

Barry Tubb played Leonard "Wolfman" Wolfe in the first "Top Gun," and while the actor didn't appear in the follow-up, a picture of him did. There's a scene in the film where a photo depicting Maverick (Tom Cruise), Iceman (Val Kilmer), Goose (Anthony Edwards), and Wolfman, as well as other prior cadets, is shown on-screen. However, the camera then cuts to those four main actors, with their images taking up the entirety of the screen. Tubb claims the photo shown in the film is an altered behind-the-scenes image, asserting that such changes destroyed copyright protection.

Details of the lawsuit, posted online by Bloomberg Law, report that Tubb filed a complaint against Paramount Pictures for using his likeness in that way within the film. As of this writing, Paramount has yet to respond to the filing.

Barry Tubb claims he wasn't compensated for his image appearing in Top Gun: Maverick

The documents assert that using Barry Tubb's image in "Top Gun: Maverick" was an intentional choice. His image definitely appears on-screen even though the lawsuit alleges Tubb was not informed that would happen, with Paramount not seeking permission or compensating the actor for the usage of this particular picture.

Additionally, Tubb claims that when he initially entered into a contract to appear in the first "Top Gun," there was no way of knowing that his image could be used nearly 40 years later for a sequel. It continues, "This is to indicate that no sequel was contemplated by either PLAINTIFF or PARAMOUNT when the contract between them was entered into on June 5, 1985." The assertion appears to be that Paramount had no right to use such an image without everyone in the photo agreeing to it, which Tubb says he did not.

The paperwork states that Tubb is seeking actual, punitive, and exemplary damages for the use of the image in "Top Gun: Maverick." It remains to be seen how this will all play out and whether it'll make it to trial. However, Tubb appears busy with other projects, too, as the documents state he'll appear in a film coming out this year called "Daisy."