|In story information|
|Element of stories featuring||X-Men|
The Blackbird (also nicknamed X-Jet) is the aircraft used by the fictional superhero team the X-Men. There have been several incarnations of this craft over the years, with Cyclops and Storm as the main pilots.
When the X-Men were first introduced, they were portrayed as travelling in Professor Xavier's private jet and helicopter, advanced but fairly conventional aircraft with remote autopilots (i.e., the Professor flew them from home). When the series resumed in 1975, the X-Men were shown using a new strato-Jet that was visually based on a modified, scaled-up version of the Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" spy plane (hence the name), but was modified to carry several passengers, as well as for Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL). Some writers have referred to this design as the "SR-73" or the "SR-77", and is known to be canon in most plotlines of the Marvel Universe, including X-Men: Evolution, where it is referenced by Scott as the SR-77 in the first episode. The original X-Men Blackbird has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times in the course of the team's many adventures. The later versions incorporated technology created by the mutant inventor Forge, as well as alien (Shi'ar) technology, including weapon systems, holographic active camouflage, and engines capable of hypersonic speeds. One version of the Blackbird possessed an experimental cockpit windshield that was infused with traces of the same ruby quartz material used in Cyclops' visor, allowing him to project and amplify his optic blasts through the windshield.
In the Ultimate X-Men series, the X-Men seemingly have several aircraft, including one that resembles a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber (this craft is referred to in issue #70 as the "X-Wing"). One of the airplanes has been referred to casually as the "Blackbird", but it bears no visible relationship to the SR-71.
In other media
- The Blackbird appeared in X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men and frequently in the X-Men animated television series.
- The X-Jet (along with a helicopter) appeared in the more recent animated series X-Men: Evolution.
- The Blackbird also appeared frequently in the animated series Wolverine and the X-Men.
- The Blackbird is also featured in Marvel Anime.
- The Blackbird is the setting of Storm's stage in the arcade and console-imported game X-Men: Children of the Atom. The players fight on top of the Blackbird, which is parked on top of an aircraft carrier itself. It also appears again in the arcade and console-imported game X-Men vs. Street Fighter. The players must once again fight on top of the Blackbird, though this time it is not on top of an aircraft carrier, but rather getting prepared for lift-off. The stage returned in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter. The players must once again fight on top of the Blackbird, though this time it is not ready for takeoff, but rather having recently landed.
- The X-Jet's look from the Ultimate X-Men comics was used in the games X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. It served the purpose of taking the characters to their next location.
- The Blackbird is mentioned by Wolverine at the beginning of Deadpool when he is heard at the call-answerer saying "NO! You can't pilot the Blackbird!". Later on, the X-Men reluctantly let Deadpool pilot the Blackbird to take them and himself to Genosha, but Deadpool crashes it during landing.
- The Blackbird is briefly featured in the first X-Men film, where it is used to bring the X-Men to Liberty Island. It played a larger role in the sequel, X2. It is first used by Jean Grey and Storm to locate Nightcrawler. It is later used to rescue Wolverine, Rogue, Pyro, and Iceman, and is then flown to Alkali Lake's dam to save captured Xavier Institute students and to foil William Stryker's plan. When they were asked to stay, Rogue and Iceman waited in the X-Jet while Pyro abandoned them to join the Brotherhood of Mutants. Rogue and Iceman fly the X-Jet to save the X-Men and the captured mutants. Jean Grey stays behind to counter the flood and sends the X-Jet to safety from the incoming wave from the broken dam.
- In X-Men: First Class the Blackbird (which Hank McCoy/Beast states that he designed) is almost externally identical to the SR-71, though its internal layout is very different. The film is set in 1962, when the real-world SR-71 was still in development, making it more likely an A-12, which was first flown in April of that year. Though such a craft with VTOL capability is technically possible, all but the briefest use of it would severely diminish its usable range.