The U.S. Department of Defense is typically eager to cooperate with big-budget blockbusters, providing filmmakers with technical advice and access to top personnel and multimillion-dollar aircraft. But the Pentagon drew the line at Marvel’s The Avengers, which officials found just too unrealistic.
It wasn’t the invading aliens, Norse gods or rampaging green monster that caused the military’s suspension of disbelief to falter (after all, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus even has a cameo in Battleship). No, it was skepticism about S.H.I.E.L.D., the global espionage and peacekeeping agency headed by Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson).
“We couldn’t reconcile the unreality of this international organization and our place in it,” Phil Strub, the Defense Department’s Hollywood liaison, told Wired’s Danger Room blog. “To whom did S.H.I.E.L.D. answer? Did we work for S.H.I.E.L.D.? We hit that roadblock and decided we couldn’t do anything” with the film.
Those U.S. military jets you saw aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier were digital creations; the F-22 Raptors in Iron Man 2 were real, though. Likewise, those were actual soldiers of the U.S. Army Reserves in the climactic battle — the military allowed Humvees to be filmed, too.
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