Tom Cruise felt the need for speed in the 1986s Superior gun. The long-awaited sequel Top Gun Maverick, offers speed from the start. The sequel went supersonic at the box office and delivered Cruise’s best opening weekend, and the actor’s character, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, went hypersonic in a mystery plane. The film focuses on Cruise’s dealings with a young group of fighter pilots as they embark on a dangerous mission, but the mysterious but fictional Darkstar plane is closer to the real thing than you might think.
Tom Cruise pilots the Darkstar plane at the start of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
In the original version Superior gunCruise’s character takes his F-16 close to the ground and buzzes the flight control tower. Top Gun: Maverick pays homage to its predecessor at the start of the film.
The latest official trailer showed a clip of a mysterious triangular plane flying low over a desert landscape at dusk. We soon learn that Maverick, who prefers to stay active in the cockpit as a test pilot rather than advance in rank, is flying the plane.
We only see the plane – nicknamed the Darkstar – for a moment. It’s a hypersonic plane, so it’s gone in a flash. Maverick and his crew fly the more conventional F/A-18s for much of the film, but is the Darkstar real? It’s a complicated answer.
Is the Darkstar a real plane?
When it comes to real-world active-use military aircraft, no, Maverick’s The Darkstar plane is not real. Cruise did not fly an aircraft with advanced technology. And even if it existed, we probably wouldn’t find out about it in a Hollywood movie.
Still, the team that develops fighter jets has been working on creating an aircraft for the movie. What we see on screen isn’t real now, but it might be at some point.
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which created the legendary SR-71 Blackbird aircraft, announced it was working on the SR-72 in 2013 (per Air Force Magazine). But like most things related to military technology, the rest – the design, the capabilities – was kept secret. A known item? Lockheed Martin planned a flight at Mach 6 (six times the speed of sound).
While an SR-72 isn’t real and its prototype isn’t what we see on screen, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works team made it look like this to Top Gun: Maverick. A team of designers, model makers and engineers built a working model of a fictional airplane and made it as close to the real thing as possible.
As Lockheed Martin’s website explained, “Darkstar may not be real, but its capabilities are. Hypersonic technology, or the ability to travel at 60 miles per minute or more, is a capability that our team continues to advance today by leveraging over 30 years of hypersonic investment and development and testing experience.
maverick may have a lot of issues from a military expert’s perspective, but the filmmakers have done their due diligence to create a realistic fake plane.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Kept The Flight Scenes And Tech As Real As Possible
The Darkstar plane in Top Gun: Maverick is not real, but the technology and design are closer to reality than fiction. But the rest of what audiences see in the film is real.
Cruise retired his producer and acting superstar card and insisted on using real planes for the film’s in-flight scenes. He’s famous for his own stunts and he insisted his co-stars do the same for maverick. So they had to go through G-force training to make sure they could hold their own while in the air. Miles Teller was pushed to his limits and Glen Powell threw up in the cockpit.
Even the scene where Maverick and Jennifer Connelly’s Penny set sail was real, though Cruise demanded a reshoot, according to Connelly.
The Darkstar plane in maverick isn’t real, but it isn’t 100% fiction either. And moviegoers can rest assured that every effort has been made to make the hit film as real as possible.
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