It turns out Iron Man 2 isn’t just a classic entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The 2010 American superhero film is also a piece of SpaceX history, and not just because of the Elon Musk cameo with Tony Stark.
Elon and Merlins
Elon Musk makes an appearance as himself early in the film. Tony Stark and Pepper Pots, played by Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, greet the SpaceX founder while walking through a lunch party.
“Those Merlin engines are fantastic,” Stark tells Musk. Elon remarks that he has a good idea for an electric jet. “Then we’ll make it work,” Tony Stark replies.
Merlin engines, we know, refers to SpaceX’s in-house designed engine that powers its Falcon rockets.
Here’s the scene from Elon Musk’s Marvel Cinematic Universe debut a decade ago:
SpaceX in Iron Man 2
SpaceX’s founder and rocket engines aren’t the only connection in the movie. SpaceX opened its headquarters in Hawthorne, California, to the film’s crew to serve as the set of Hammer Industries.
In one scene, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) agrees to work with Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) while touring Hammer Industries.
Later in the film, Vanko and Hammer inspect drone soldiers being developed to fight against Iron Man.
Both scenes include SpaceX’s facility, actual rocket hardware, and even SpaceX staff who also make cameos in the movie.
Tom Mueller, who led the development of SpaceX’s Merlin rocket engine, recently spoke about the SpaceX headquarters turned Marvel film set:
A decade later, SpaceX is hard at work on developing its new Starship vehicle powered by the Raptor engine — advancements worthy of a new Marvel Cinematic Universe mention.
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