The Pentagon has picked next summer’s Man of Steel film to be the cinematic debut of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, shown here in a 2011 ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Photo: Flickr/DVIDS
Faster than a sluggish bureaucracy. More powerful than enemy radar. Able to scale tall buildings with a single-engine. Upon the screen in the forthcoming Superman reboot, it’s — it’s — it’s the debut of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive weapons program in human history.
Long before the family of stealth jets known as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will ever fly a combat mission, the F-35 will appear in theaters for the first time next summer in Man of Steel, Zach Snyder’s anticipated re-imagining of the Superman franchise. It’s perhaps the best cinematic debut possible for an aircraft program that’s suffered numerous budgetary and engineering woes.
“It was a target of opportunity,” Phil Strub, the Pentagon’s Hollywood liaison, tells Danger Room. When the filmmakers visited California’s Edwards Air Force Base in January to get shots of military aircraft for a scene, they were excited to learn that the base hosted a complement of F-35s for flight testing. The base arranged for two of them to be towed into the shot.
“They liked the idea of having the most modern, the newest fighter aircraft in the background,” says Strub, who was on location with Man of Steel at Edwards. The F-35 had been digitally rendered in movies previously, including a scene in The Avengers when the Hulk tears it apart, but this was its first screen test for the actual plane. And it took only a few hours to film.