'Top Gun: Maverick': Everything to know about breathtaking 'Darkstar' aircraft
Tom Cruise's latest outing Top Gun: Maverick is already being considered a cinematic masterpiece! Joseph Kosinski's big-budget directorial features exceptional flight visuals and prototypes that are unbelievably close to accuracy. It also introduces the experimental hypersonic aircraft—Darkstar. Aviation geeks called it a prototype of the legendary SR-71 Blackbird or its rumored descendant, the hypersonic SR-72. We look into the details. Warning: Minor spoilers ahead.
In the film's opening sequence, Captain Pete Mitchell (Tom Cruise) takes the Darkstar on an unauthorized test run. The aircraft zips past a guard post, blowing the shack's roof off—classic opening for the "dangerous" Mitchell! Interestingly, Kosinski told IGN that the shot was a one-time take and the shot of the roof flying was unplanned but made it into the movie, of course.
Sandboxx News reported aerospace and defense manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, is developing a successor to the SR-71 Blackbird—the "fastest military aircraft in history." The SR-71 can reportedly fly at Mach 3, outrunning incoming missiles from Russian MiGs, too. As for the Darkstar, it is close to a Lockheed artist's depiction of the allegedly under-development SR-72 aircraft aka Son of Blackbird—claimed to fly above Mach 6!
The Darkstar in the new @TopGunMovie seems pretty realistic for good reason. Jerry Bruckheimer told me that it was actually designed with Skunk Works engineers. The US Navy told him China reoriented a spy satellite to get pics of it, thinking it was a real experimental aircraft. pic.twitter.com/uefNnQYREw— Alex Hollings (@AlexHollings52) May 2, 2022
James Taiclet, CEO of Lockheed Martin, earlier posted on LinkedIn that Skunk Works, the ultra-secret design facility that handles their projects, including the rumored SR-72, had partnered with Top Gun: Maverick. And, most of the reports hint that the Darkstar could be a sneak peek at the fabled SR-72! Oh, and the SR-72's development cost is alleged to be a whopping $1 billion!
Rumours that ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, in cinemas May 27, features a sneaky peek at what might be the @LockheedMartin SR-72, successor to super-impressive SR-71 Blackbird. This still photo from promotional materials seems to support that thinking. I can’t wait #avgeek #wingfriday pic.twitter.com/PyAak69qOj— John Neilson (@flyingjok) April 29, 2022
If a prototype of the SR-72 does exist, bringing it in the open would create concerns on a national security level. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer recently told Sandboxx that even the Chinese government monitored the film's aircraft. "The Navy told us...a Chinese satellite turned and headed on a different route to photograph that plane. They thought it was real. That's how real it looks."
Cruise reportedly designed a three-month training course before shooting the high-risk aviation shots. "He's a pilot, he flies aerobatics. He's done aerial sequences in movies for years," Kosinski expressed. He added the team members were "as ready as they could be to be in a Super Hornet." Kosinski claimed the program was "tremendously difficult" and "taxing" but that's what made the shots possible.
Moreover, the makers keep the film real. They fitted cameras inside the cockpit to show the g-forces, vibrations, and what it feels like to be inside a fighter jet. There was a scene where Miles Teller bumps his head on the canopy because he wasn't strapped in tight, and that too made it to the film. Top Gun: Maverick is currently playing in theatres.