Top Gun: Maverick SR-72 Darkstar may not be a real airplane but it made China re-oriented spy satellites to get a glimpse of the full-size mock-up they built for filming.
In an interview with Sandboxx, producer Jerry Bruckheimer explained what happened: “The Navy told us that a Chinese satellite turned and headed on a different route to photograph that plane,” he revealed. “They thought it was real. That’s how real it looks.
The Darkstar bears a striking resemblance to artist renderings of Lockheed Martin’s long-awaited follow-up to the SR-71 Blackbird, the hypersonic SR-72, many times referred to as the SR-72 Darkstar. As it turns out, that may not have been by happenstance.
According to Bruckheimer and Joseph Kosinski, the film’s director, they actually worked with engineers out of Lockheed Martin’s famed Skunk Works on the design.“Joe worked with Skunk Works and Lockheed [Martin] to design the plane that’s in there. So they had a lot of fun doing Darkstar,” Bruckheimer said.
Kosinski, who previously helmed sci-if action flicks like “Tron: Legacy” and “Oblivion,” partnered with the aviation firm not only to design their Darkstar aircraft but to actually build a full-scale mockup. The finished product looked awfully believable, which the director credits to support the film received from Skunk Works.
“The reason we approached Skunk Works is that I wanted to make the most realistic hypersonic aircraft we possibly could. In fact, as you saw, we built it full-scale in cooperation with them,” Kosinski told Sandboxx News. “But the reason it looks so real is that it was the engineers from Skunk Works who helped us design it. So those are the same people who are working on real aircraft who helped us design Darkstar for this film.”
The long-awaited “Top Gun: Maverick” will fly into theaters later this month on May 27.