Check Out The Secret High Tech Location Where The Star Trek Sequel Is Shooting This Week

As we reported earlier this week, the Star Trek sequel is in its final stretch of production. The last couple of weeks are being shot inside a very secret facility (perfect for JJ Abrams) in Northern California. This time there will be no spy photos because everything will be indoors, but see below for pictures of the location where they are shooting (possible minor spoilers).


JJ is shooting at GIANT LASER facility at Lawrence Livermore

Previous reports that JJ Abrams has brought his Trek crew to the Lawrence Livermore Lab in Livermore, California have been confirmed by the lab. A spokesperson told the San Jose Mercury news that filming at the lab will be done at the facility and noted that they were not allowing any media in and that there would be "noting on any open road" to see.

A member of Livermore’s Chamber of Commerce added some additional details saying that the filming was taking place at the labs National Ignition Facility (or NIF), home of the world’s biggest laser. Opened in 2009 at a cost of $3.5B, NIF is a research facility that is hoping to make a breakthrough in fusion energy (and Like the USS Enterprise, it is powered by deuterium!). The NIF is capable of directing nearly two million joules of ultraviolet laser energy in billionth-of-a-second pulses to the target chamber center.

Here is a video that explains what the NIF does:

And video of CBS visiting the NIF (where they make Star Trek reference):

Here are some pictures of what you can find inside the NIF:

Laser Bay

Laser Bay

Target Chamber

Target Chamber

That all looks sufficiently high tech, but for what?


Thanks to Zach and others who send in tips

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May 3, 2012 7:46 pm

Hey, does JJ and Co. ever get pissed that you post spoilers and stuff?

May 3, 2012 7:47 pm

Also: Looks the the engine room of the Event Horizon. Sam Neil will turn up and pull out everyone’s eyes.

May 3, 2012 7:48 pm

This is where Khan genetically engineered clones are being bred, right?

Or perhaps it’s a high-tech sanitation system. (Oh wait… that’s what engineering looks like)

May 3, 2012 7:48 pm


May 3, 2012 7:50 pm

If they use this as part of Engineering, I may do a happy dance. :D

C Miles
May 3, 2012 7:50 pm

This would be news… had some of us not been commenting and linking to this very thing (including linking to pictures of the NIF) since right here since Monday.

May 3, 2012 7:52 pm

@ 2. SherlockFangirl – May 3, 2012

“Also: Looks the the engine room of the Event Horizon. Sam Neil will turn up and pull out everyone’s eyes.”

lol, man, Event Horizon was such a good space horror movie, I watch it every once and while.

May 3, 2012 8:06 pm

NIF and Lawrence Livermore Lab are (or were) associated with the University of California, but are located in Livermore, rather than Berkeley.

May 3, 2012 8:10 pm

Different levels to engineering was my first thought. It is a pretty big shape with ample nacells.

Dee - lvs moon' surface
May 3, 2012 8:21 pm

Someone said on twitter May 02, 2012:

“Wow – Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine & “Ohura” actress having dinner right next to us here in East SF Bay Area, CA. New Star Trek I’m progress?!”

“Oh yeah, sorry Zöe, Simon Pegg, Anton, and …Producer? #startrek”

Yeah she said “Ohura”… ;-) :-)

Radioactive Spock
May 3, 2012 8:23 pm

The Botany Bay interior, I’d guess. Looks awesome!

May 3, 2012 8:35 pm

It’s where Khan the geneticist makes his device to use on the Klingons in the guise to restore them to their original ridged appearance but in doing so he enslaves them at the same time and becomes absolute ruler of the Klingon Empire in order to defeat Starfleet and rule the galaxy. Thus the Klingons are restored to villain status while presenting a moral dilemma for Kirk and the crew. Do they try to destroy the Klingon threat? Or save the Klingons from themselves?

Let Them Eat Plomeek Soup
May 3, 2012 9:02 pm


May 3, 2012 9:04 pm

Looks like V’ger platform in St1
However I know it isn’t and yes I have personally seen the NIF on a tour in 2007 it was cool in person

May 3, 2012 9:11 pm

Of course it’s Lawrence Livermore Lab, when they’re in the Bay and need something awesome for Sci-Fi it’s only natural they’d go there :)

May 3, 2012 9:11 pm

Its where Spock is hung on his wires in that leaked mirror reddish suit a few weeks back still cannot get over them using Khan that will sink the movie for many fans its like Indiana Jones/Han Solo being recast!!!

May 3, 2012 9:22 pm


I wonder where they were eating in the East Bay. and on that note I’m surprised the person tweeted “…in East SF Bay Area” …must not have been a native of Livermore or the EAST BAY! yee!

I told my friends and family living in Livermore to be on guard with their camera for shots of Star Trek celebrities.

jonathan evans
May 3, 2012 9:23 pm

didn’t part of that book the cuckoo’s egg take place there?

May 3, 2012 9:24 pm

Maybe it’s the new engine room. Oh right Cumberbatch already said that they still use a fracking brewery for that.


Put Trek back on TV please.

May 3, 2012 9:26 pm

16 – I can’t believe the Kahn thing either. That’s going to be either disastrous or brilliant. I can’t imagine anything in between. And I fear it’s more likely to be the former… Is it possible that the Kahn story is just not true? Is it a diversion?

The NIF video above. 1:58. That’s the point in the video where I realized my eyes had glazed over and my brain hurt.

May 3, 2012 9:58 pm

I can’t imagine them doing much action shooting there — strikes me they’d have a lot of fairly delicate equipment hanging around.

May 3, 2012 10:29 pm

The Target Chamber reminds me of Cerebro.

May 3, 2012 10:39 pm

@20 Khan must be true no-one is dumb enough to string fans along this long it was first rumoured over a year ago sadly then I thought it was just a rumour now its been confirmed as true=a lot of letdown trek fans right now!

Peter Loader
May 3, 2012 10:39 pm

Okay so JJ’s using this location to film the final showdown between Kirk and Khan as he tries to activate the Red Matter Laser and destroy Earth.

Peter Loader
May 3, 2012 10:42 pm

21. Probably just see Kirk chasing Khan through here and then cut to a shot of them entering a set for the final showdown.

Buzz Cagney
May 3, 2012 11:03 pm

#23 has it been confirmed as true? Who by?

Bill Peters
May 3, 2012 11:11 pm

I hope it is Engineering or a new one after the old one gets Damaged?

Jim Nightshade
May 3, 2012 11:46 pm

LL labs were used in the original Tron all those years ago…..i believe thst was the first time filming was allowed,,,anyone know how many others since then have shot somewhere in the livermore labs..

tron n animated scifi fans..first tron uprising this month on the 18th i think on disney xd with series to start in june—a new trailer looks fascinating

May 4, 2012 12:59 am

As a physicist, this is cause for a double nerdgasm!

It's Paramount
May 4, 2012 1:14 am

This is the facility that Peter Weller’s character owns that deals with genetics.

May 4, 2012 2:56 am

Friend of my works there and told me about this the other day. Was wondering if I should say anything but it looks like the cat has be let out of the bag. Looks very cool.

May 4, 2012 3:30 am

Sweet, just as I hoped, I asked for CERN a while back, but this will do :)

Hire me boborci I’m the next big thing lol

Hat Rick
May 4, 2012 4:10 am

Okay — even better than a brewery. ;-)

Let’s just make sure no one presses the “on” switch at NIF by accident….

May 4, 2012 4:30 am

I always thought that the red matter storage chamber in the 2009 movie looked like a tokamak reactor, now they are filming at NIF. Does the Abrams team have a special relationship to fusion research? (Will there be a stellarator in the next movie?)

kevin keene
May 4, 2012 4:35 am

you would think with how much Orci lurks here that all have read the comments (i use “here” loosely to represent the entire website) and ARE NOT doing a story with Khan.

just my $0.02

May 4, 2012 4:47 am

I’ll just echo the others and say that if Engineering HAS to be a 20th-century industrial setting…please let this be the new Engineering. :)

@34: You’d think. But then again, this is the crack team that came up with ST09.

May 4, 2012 5:59 am


May 4, 2012 8:30 am

I like that they use big locations instead of a tidy room with a lava lamp in the middle.

May 4, 2012 8:33 am


Dammit, I was just gonna say that!! LMAO!

Orb of the Emissary
May 4, 2012 8:34 am

I have been to Livermore, a beautiful town…

May 4, 2012 8:38 am

Does that horizontal thing in the Target Chamber say “Ticonderoga No.2” on the other side?

May 4, 2012 8:54 am

Do we know if this is first or second unit shooting going on here?

May 4, 2012 9:03 am

It’s a 23rd century beer plant.

May 4, 2012 9:22 am

Engineering upgrade?

May 4, 2012 9:24 am

Damn it, that doesn’t look futuristic enough. Add some plexiglass panels and glowing buttons and then you might have something…..

La Reyne d'Epee
May 4, 2012 9:33 am

Warp core.

May 4, 2012 10:06 am

That’s the laser lab where Kevin Flynn was first digitized into the ENCOM system.

It’s not KHAN… it’s TRON!

he’s back. and he’s not happy.

No Khan
May 4, 2012 10:21 am

I’m not wild about these on location current day sets. The enterprise Budweiser plant sucked. And that place where Scotty was hole up in.

May 4, 2012 11:05 am

Its Cold Station 12 from Enterprise.

May 4, 2012 11:09 am

I guess this is cool. But funny how the latest highest tech places never look quite as cool as the guys in Hollywood make them up from their imaginations. Just watched the original 2 hour movie for The Six Million Dollar Man. They were using, then state of the art, prosthetics from the University of California prosthetic department. “Look, Steve! This will be your arm! It will look, feel and behave exactly like your real arm did.” The look on Steve’s face was exactly my feeling as I looked at this very plain, limited, and un futuristic looking device. They got smarter in the later episodes and started making things look better than they really are. That is after all, the magic of Hollywood.