The 11th feature film in the ‘Star Trek’ universe, the 2009 film is an eponymous iteration of the beloved franchise’s cinematic offerings and follows an alternate timeline that introduces different versions of the franchise’s original characters like Captain Kirk and Spock. The iconic sci-fi saga also delves into Kirk’s childhood as well as the crew’s student days at the Starfleet Academy, making the film’s scale truly grand.
From the rural farmlands of Earth where Kirk grew up to the desolate ice fields of the planet Delta Vega, and everything in between, the film’s roster of different worlds and settings can naturally make you wonder where it was filmed. Let’s take a look at the locations that were used to bring ‘Star Trek’ to life.
Star Trek Filming Locations
Apart from taking place largely in space, ‘Star Trek’ also follows the story of Kirk’s younger days on Earth. Filming for the movie was done in California, Utah, Vermont, and Alaska. The stark natural landscapes found in these states were also used to depict other planets visited by the film’s characters. Unlike many sci-fi and space-centric movies, director J. J. Abrams chose to minimize the use of green and blue screens, preferring to film largely on location instead.
The film’s lengthy production was shrouded in secrecy, with the project given the fake working title ‘Corporate Headquarters.’ Many members of the supporting cast only got to see their lines, as opposed to the entire script, to keep the storyline a secret. Principal photography for the movie commenced on November 11, 2007, and wrapped up on March 27, 2008. Second unit filming was then briefly undertaken in California in April 2008. Let’s take a closer look at the film’s specific filming locations.
Los Angeles County, California
‘Star Trek’ was filmed extensively in and around the city of Los Angeles in Los Angeles County, California. A parking lot near the Dodger Stadium, located at 1000 Vin Scully Avenue, Chavez Ravine in Elysian Park was used to depict a Romulan drilling rig on the planet Vulcan. Scenes of the ice-covered planet Delta Vega were also filmed in the parking lot, using a mixture of real and digital snow. A portion of the filming also took place at California State University Northridge, which can be found at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge.
Exterior shots of the Delmar T. Oviatt Library building and its courtyard were used to depict the Starfleet Academy. The Starfleet Academy assembly hall used the City Hall in Long Beach, located at 333 West Ocean Boulevard, as a stand-in. Scenes showing the highly complex mechanical engine room on the Enterprise starship used the Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Brewery at 15800 Roscoe Boulevard in Van Nuys for filming. Kelvin’s engine room used a power station in Long Beach as a backdrop to achieve its look.
The Vasquez Rocks located at 10700 West Escondido Canyon Road in Agua Dulce have been used in multiple productions of the ‘Star Trek’ franchise and were used to depict the planet Vulcan in the 2009 film. The Vulcan council chamber, as well as other scenes featuring the Vulcan administration, were filmed at Skyrose Chapel at 3888 Workman Mill Road in Whittier in Los Angeles County. The shuttlecraft hangar where the forces congregate is actually the Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin in Orange County, a 40-minute drive from Los Angeles.
The private clubhouse of the Hollywood Post 43 chapter of The American Legion, a veterans organization, was used to depict a dive bar in Iowa. The chapter is located at 2035 North Highland Avenue in the city of Los Angeles. Additional studio filming was undertaken at Paramount Studios, which is located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.
Kern County, California
The second unit filming of the movie, which took place in April 2008, included shooting scenes of Kirk’s childhood. The town of Bakersfield in Kern County, with its wide-open flatlands and farms, made for an effective stand-in for the state of Iowa where Kirk grew up. The Pastoria Energy Facility in Lebec in southwest Kern County was also used for filming scenes of the riverside shipyard.
The Smith Quarry, which belongs to the Rock of Ages Corporation and is located at 772 Graniteville Road in the town of Barre in Vermont, was used to film the scene where a young Kirk narrowly escapes falling down a sheer cliff while driving his father’s car.
Emery County, Utah
The San Rafael Swell, located in the Colorado Plateau in Utah, was also used for filming a few scenes in the film. The peculiar geological structure looks particularly otherworldly and was used to depict the surface of the planet Vulcan.
The stark landscapes of Alaska have been used for other ‘Star Trek’ iterations and were used in this production as well, most likely to further depict the icy world of Delta Vega. A glacier near Anchorage in Alaska served as a filming site for ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.’
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