Creator Seth MacFarlane reimagines the world of ‘Star Trek‘ in the sci-fi comedy streaming series ‘The Orville.’ The third part, ‘The Orville: New Horizons,’ ups the ante with mindful social commentary while taking the viewers to the farthest corners of the universe. The narrative is set 400 years into the future as it follows the crew of the spaceship USS Orville on their exploration of new life.
While the mysteries of the universe bare themselves open in front of the prying eyes of the space crew, their interpersonal struggle reaches new heights. Following its release, ‘The Orville: New Horizons’ garnered praise owing to its production value and sheer storytelling brilliance. Most of the story unfolds in space (a la studio space) and formidable planets. However, you must be eager to know where the third season of the series was filmed. If the thought is bugging you, we are here to illuminate the darkness.
The Orville: New Horizons Filming Locations
‘The Orville: New Horizons’ was filmed in and around California, especially in Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Production for the third season commenced in October 2019, coming to a halt in March 2020 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around half of the season was completed in this duration. In December 2020, the team went back to set, but production was suspended once again in January 2021, following another spike in infections. However, with determination, they returned to set in February 2021, wrapping up production by August of the same year.
Given the nature of the series, a great deal of effort went into post-production as well. Initially, the show’s producers looked for locations in New Mexico and Colorado. But after being blessed by the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, the production crew zoomed into California, finding opportune and unique locations in the state. Since the state government promotes added benefits for filming outside the Hollywood Studio Zone, the cast and crew also ventured out towards the southern part of the state. Without further ado, let us now take you to the specific locations where the season was filmed.
Los Angeles County, California
Most of the season was lensed in a controlled studio set up in Los Angeles County, the seat of the 30-mile zone where most of the studios in the state are situated. The cast and crew lensed most of the segments in Fox Studio Lot, a central movie production facility located at 10201 Pico Boulevard in the Century City suburbs of LA. The able team put together a stunning two-storied set (which is quite rare for soundstages), where most of the interior scenes of the ship were captured. The set went through a significant upgrade to capture Seth MacFarlane’s grand vision and accommodate the production.
It took around US$5 million to redesign the entire set. The lighting system itself cost a fortune, which shows in the series. The crew used the lighting system to mimic the ship’s ambiance, highlighting the characters by assigning them different color schemes in separate quarters. Besides the main soundstage, an additional swinging set is used to capture alien worlds. Due to the VFX-intensive nature of the production, the team relied on both green screens and a blue screen to create otherworldly places.
Additional locations included the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch, a famous movie ranch located at 20019 Blue Cloud Road just outside Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County. From ‘Iron Man‘ to ‘American Sniper,’ a slew of blockbusters have visited the ranch in the past. Another iconic location that the team visited is the Golden Oak Ranch, or the Disney Ranch, a vast 890-acre movie ranch located at 19802 Placerita Canyon Road in the Newhall area of Los Angeles County. From ‘Back to the Future‘ to ‘Pearl Harbor,’ the ranch has been featured in iconic productions. Although, you would not recognize these locations following the post-production since they are morphed into alien worlds in the show.
Ventura County, California
In their sprawling filming schedule for the third season, the cast and crew seemingly ventured out towards Ventura County in Southern California. Scenes for the third season were filmed in Piru, a small unincorporated township located near the Santa Clarita River in Santa Clarita Valley. The land originally belonged to the Tataviam Indians, Christianized under the San Fernando Mission. Then, nonprofit Christian publisher David C. Cook stumbled upon the area in 1887, and while hoping to establish a “second garden of Eden,” he forged the township instead. Over the years, Piru has become a popular filming destination, as showcased in movies like ‘Happy, Texas’ and ‘Race to Witch Mountain.’
Other Locations in California
Several parts of the show were lensed on locations in the desolate parts of California. Some scenes were taped in the southern Kern County of California, just like the debut season. While in the area, the cast and crew reportedly shot sequences in the Red Rock Canyon State Park, getting some shots of the naturally outlandish topography. Additionally, scenes were likely taped in Mammoth, the community surrounding the titular lake, in the Mono County of California. The crew filmed essential scenes in the area, especially those requiring snow.
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