From Iron Man to Top Gun: Maverick, from SR-71 Blackbird to Darkstar: a quick look at Lockheed Martin partnership with Hollywood

From Iron Man to Top Gun: Maverick, from SR-71 Blackbird to Darkstar: a quick look at Lockheed Martin partnership with Hollywood

By Dario Leone
Sep 10 2022
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Darkstar joins many Lockheed Martin airplanes, satellites and helicopters playing a supporting role in major motion pictures.

Maverick exceeded Mach 10 when he piloted a conceptual hypersonic aircraft, known as Darkstar, designed by the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works team in the recent Top Gun: Maverick film. Darkstar’s capabilities met Maverick’s “need for speed,” pushing the boundaries of flight to support a critical mission.

Darkstar joins many Lockheed Martin airplanes, satellites and helicopters playing a supporting role in major motion pictures.

According to Lockheed Martin website, during the heyday of silent film, Glenn L. Martin received $300 a day for flying his Model T trainer in the 1915 movie The Girl From Yesterday. The film starred Mary Pickford, one of the largest stars of the time known as “America’s Sweetheart.”

The final scenes of 1942’s Best Picture winner, Casablanca, are quite possibly the most famous in all of filmdom. A large-scale model of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra plays a pivotal role as stars Victor and Ilsa Lund Laszlo flee to escape the Germans.

In the 1997 action thriller Air Force One, a family of Lockheed Martin mobility aircraft to include a C-5, C-141 and MC-130 can be spotted at various points throughout the film.

SR-71 print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. SR-71A Blackbird 61-7972 “Skunkworks”

From Iron Man to The Avengers, Lockheed Martin aircraft including the F-35, F-22, F-16 and SR-71 have starred on screen next to superheroes.

Lockheed Martin partnership with Hollywood extends beyond the company systems playing a role in feature films.

During World War II, the movie studios in Hollywood, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Disney Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount and Universal Pictures accepted the challenge to hide aircraft manufacturing plants, including the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation facility in Burbank, California.

The studios offered scenic designers, painters, art directors, landscape artists, animators, carpenters, lighting experts, and propmasters to camouflage the facilities from potential enemies flying overhead. Most of the work at the Lockheed plant was done by Disney artists, who also provided nose art for some aircraft prior to delivery.

Next time you are in theaters or watching your favorite show at home, keep your eye out for Lockheed Martin systems soaring on screen!

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird model
This model is available in multiple sizes from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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