Check Out The Secret High Tech Location Where The Star Trek Sequel Is Shooting This Week |
jump to navigation

Check Out The Secret High Tech Location Where The Star Trek Sequel Is Shooting This Week May 3, 2012

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Spoilers,Star Trek Into Darkness , trackback

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


1. SherlockFangirl - May 3, 2012

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

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.

3. ST:EXP - May 3, 2012

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)

4. Lousy_Canadian - May 3, 2012


5. CarlG - May 3, 2012

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

6. C Miles - May 3, 2012

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.

7. Ahmed - May 3, 2012

@ 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.

8. mudshark - May 3, 2012

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

9. Bucky - May 3, 2012

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

10. Dee - lvs moon' surface - May 3, 2012

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”… ;-) :-)

11. Radioactive Spock - May 3, 2012

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

12. L4YERCAKE - May 3, 2012

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?

13. Let Them Eat Plomeek Soup - May 3, 2012


14. ECHUSA - May 3, 2012

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

15. Matt Wright - May 3, 2012

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 :)

16. Paul - May 3, 2012

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!!!

17. kevin - May 3, 2012


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.

18. jonathan evans - May 3, 2012

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

19. claypool2011 - May 3, 2012

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.

20. Obsidian - May 3, 2012

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.

21. CarlG - May 3, 2012

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

22. njdss4 - May 3, 2012

The Target Chamber reminds me of Cerebro.

23. Paul - May 3, 2012

@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!

24. Peter Loader - May 3, 2012

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.

25. Peter Loader - May 3, 2012

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

26. Buzz Cagney - May 3, 2012

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

27. Bill Peters - May 3, 2012

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

28. Jim Nightshade - May 3, 2012

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

29. Alessandro - May 4, 2012

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

30. It's Paramount - May 4, 2012

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

31. Cameron - May 4, 2012

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.

32. somethoughts - May 4, 2012

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

33. Hat Rick - May 4, 2012

Okay — even better than a brewery. ;-)

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

34. hdreier - May 4, 2012

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?)

35. kevin keene - May 4, 2012

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

36. Shunnabunich - May 4, 2012

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.

37. NCC-73515 - May 4, 2012


38. NuFan - May 4, 2012

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

39. Ciaran - May 4, 2012


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

40. Orb of the Emissary - May 4, 2012

I have been to Livermore, a beautiful town…

41. Thorny - May 4, 2012

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

42. rm10019 - May 4, 2012

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

43. rdlwriter - May 4, 2012

It’s a 23rd century beer plant.

44. ToMaHaKeR - May 4, 2012

Engineering upgrade?

45. Phil - May 4, 2012

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

46. La Reyne d'Epee - May 4, 2012

Warp core.

47. BaronByng - May 4, 2012

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.

48. No Khan - May 4, 2012

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.

49. Craiger - May 4, 2012

Its Cold Station 12 from Enterprise.

50. Andy Patterson - May 4, 2012

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.

51. Dee - lvs moon' surface - May 4, 2012

#17. kevin … Well, I have no idea…

……………but a guy posted at same day a picture on twitter… he, ZQ and Zoe Saldana… he was saying they were in his work…

52. vonneke warlich - May 4, 2012

Please don’t use that lab as the new engineering room. I know it costs alot for re-shoots, but that seen in your first Star Trek film that was shoot in the Budwiser plant threw me out of the movie. That was much like when Nick Meyer re-used the space dock seen from STTMP in the TWOK, and that threw me out of that picture. I know Nick was under a strict budget at the time, but you sir Abrams and co. I think have a bigger budget. So if you are using that as a cost cutting , realistic looking thing, please at least use some CGI to make more Star Trek like.
Oh,, and please keep up the great work. Also now that Fringe is on its last leg next season, can at least consider a new Star Trek with the same team as Fringe. I think they could do it, with a different take on Trek.

53. captain_neill - May 4, 2012

THis looks cool


I wil only do a happy dance if the Engine room is a set like it was before.

54. dmduncan - May 4, 2012

Yeah, it’s all just fun and games until someone gets an eye poked out with the giant pencil.

55. CarlG - May 4, 2012

@53: Well, a nicely dressed location shoot is better than a shoddy set. I wasnt crazy about the brewery last movie, but I truly believe with enough set dressing, a jusdicious use of CGI to erase some elements that didnt fit and add some extra stuff, it really could have worked spectacularly well.
Curse you, real-life budget!! :P

@25: I don’t think so, location shoots are prohibitively expensive to go there for just a bit of corridor, I think.

56. Kev-1 - May 4, 2012

When they designed the TMP engineering, they must have been influenced by the Superhilac linear accelerator ( If this new movie is using this lab, I hope they make it look like part of a ship.

57. Sebastian S. - May 4, 2012

Parts of the Livermore lab would make a FAR more convincing engine room, that’s for sure. Too bad we’re back to the Bud plant for that one….

This location could also be used as a high-tech, secret facility where Khan (or whomever Cumberbatch is really playing) and his followers are revived (perhaps by evil Peter Weller villain?). It’s good that Abrams tries to bring a genuinely intriguing real world locale into the movie.
Adds enormous production value…

58. Gary Makin - May 5, 2012

I said on here that they should make the engine room look like a particle collider. Or shoot in a real one.This is close enough.

59. crazydaystrom - May 5, 2012


njdss4, that was exactly what I thought when I saw the pics. All that’s missing is Patrick Stewart in a wheelchair!

60. Basement Blogger - May 5, 2012

This thing looks like it could be used as a giant super weapon in real life.

61. Shilliam Watner - May 6, 2012

They need to put some big brewing vats to complete the look ;-)

Sorry, that’s the one pet peeve I have about the film, but I won’t beat a dead horse.

62. Keachick - rose pinenut - May 6, 2012

#51 – In the Twitter picture, why has Zachary Quinto got longish hair (non-Spock haircut) and a beard? Presumably Quinto/Spock will not be appearing in the scenes that are being filmed at the Lawrence Livermore facility. I wonder, if that is the case, why he is even there…

63. AJ - May 6, 2012

This is a Simon Pegg-tweeted photo of himself and and Quinto at Hooters (notice the orange butt to the right) last night.

Quinto does indeed look somewhat slovenly.

64. - May 8, 2012

I still highly doubt the villain is Khan. I think that leak was orchestrated just to get fans talking. As were the supposedly leaked pics.

Not that i think it will have much effect. Getting people talking is normally considered good marketing and if you can get people doing it for little to no dollars then great but the only people discussing the subject of Khan is the fan base. It won’t add one bum to a seat.

Personally i think they would do better to hire some actors to pretend that they are part of some religious sect who take offense at the movie due to Spock looking like the devil and have them fly all over the world picketing out the front of cinema’s in protest.

Maybe even do some research to see if there are such groups that exist (that think trek is the devils work) then fund a documentary interviewing members and have it screened the week before the movie comes out.

65. Cat - May 11, 2012

If we can speculate about Khan, we can speculate about anything. How about this angle: the NIF facility is being used as the inside of the Xindi weapon sent to destroy Earth. Cumberbatch is a leader of the Xindi humanoid species directing the mission to destroy Earth.

66. MikeZ - May 17, 2012

At least it’s not another damn brewery. is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.