Know Your Military

Airmen Fly Higher, Further, Faster With Captain Marvel

March 8, 2019 | BY Shannon Collins

Air Force airmen and aircraft provide realism as Carol Danvers, also known as "Captain Marvel," climbs higher, further and faster in theaters this weekend.

About 50 airmen from the Fresno-based 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard and the 412th Test Wing from Edwards Air Force Base, California, had roles as extras for the film. B-1 and B-2 bombers; F-16, F-22 and F-35 fighter jets; and a NASA Global Hawk unmanned aircraft, as well as housing, runways, the flighline and a hangar at Edwards were used in the film. About 490 cast and crew members with 37 trucks spent about 21 days on the base for setup, filming and tear-down.

Brie Larson, who portrays Danvers, also went to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and met female fighter pilots, including Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, the first Air Force female fighter pilot.

Captain Marvel cast take photo with airman in front of F-15
Marvel Team
“Captain Marvel” cast members Samuel L. Jackson, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan and Brie Larson, along with directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, take a photo with Air Force Gen. Jeannie Leavitt in front of an Air Force F-15 Eagle from the California Air National Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing dat Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Feb. 20, 2019. Leavitt, the commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, was the Air Force’s first female fighter pilot and served as a consultant on the movie.
Photo By: Shannon Collins
VIRIN: 190220-D-SQ495-0019

"I learned how to dogfight on offense and defense. I pulled 6.5 G’s. I can’t wait to get up in a plane and pull more, because I’ve got to get up to nine," Larson said. "Getting to research this role at Nellis Air Force Base and the level of loyalty, commitment, respect and humor I felt at that base, I took with me and brought to the set."

Larson said it was exciting to hear Leavitt’s accounts of her groundbreaking accomplishments, and that she hopes girls who see the film will  see that they, too, can fly.

Actor takes photo with airman and challenge coin
Actor Selfie
Actor Samuel L. Jackson takes a selfie with Air Force Gen. Jeannie Leavitt after she gave him a challenge coin during a media event for “Captain Marvel” at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Feb. 20, 2019. Leavitt, the first Air Force female fighter pilot, was a consultant on the movie, and Jackson reprised his Nick Fury role.
Photo By: Shannon Collins
VIRIN: 190220-D-SQ496-0005

Leavitt, now the commander of Air Force Recruiting Service at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, said Larson spent a lot of time to understand what it’s like to be a female fighter pilot in the Air Force. "She talked with a number of our female fighter pilots and wanted to get the details correct," the general said. "I really respected how seriously she took this role."

Superhero movies like these showcase how the Air Force works as a team, Leavitt said. "They work together as teams, and that’s what we do in the Air Force. We’re a team. I am part of an amazing team," she added. "Having a positive role model, someone who works hard and fights for freedom and justice, that’s what we do in the Air Force, and that’s a wonderful role model for young men and women to see."

Actress takes photo with child
Marvel Pose
Alisa Gonzalez, 13, daughter of Air Force Lt. Col. Cesar Gonzalez, takes a photo with “Captain Marvel” star Brie Larson at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Feb. 20, 2019. Gonzalez is assigned to the California Air National Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing. Airmen from the California Air National Guard and Edwards were extras in the movie.
Photo By: Shannon Collins
VIRIN: 190220-D-SQ495-0006

Think you know Captain Marvel? Find out just how superhero savvy you are with the Captain Marvel quiz.