Confirmed: Star Trek Sequel 2nd Unit To Shoot In Iceland

Last week we reported that principal photography production for the Star Trek sequel had wrapped, but it appears there is still some filming to do. TrekMovie has confirmed that the Star Trek sequel is headed to Iceland for some 2nd unit shooting. Exclusive details below.


Star Trek Sequel To Shoot In Iceland

News that the Star Trek sequel may be shooting in Iceland first came from the Frettabladid newspaper in Iceland (spotted by TrekMovie’s Hallbjörn Guðjónsson), but their report only noted it was "possible" and it came out shortly before the Star Trek sequel wrapped. At the time it couldn’t be verified so TrekMovie held off. After doing some more digging with sources, TrekMovie can now confirm that there will indeed be Star Trek filming in Iceland, however the shoot will be for the Star Trek sequel’s second unit.

The crew headed to the island nation in the North Atlantic will be filming solely for visual effects shots. The 2nd unit is headed up by visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett (of ILM). Director JJ Abrams may also go, but that is still being determined. As this is for VFX, none of the main Star Trek cast will be heading out to Iceland. Even though none of the main cast are going, filming in Iceland does fit in with the promise that the sequel will be "bigger" in scale than 2009’s Star Trek.

The Icelandic paper speculates that filming could be for the planet Vulcan, but they are probably not up on their Star Trek lore to know that the planet was imploded into a black hole in the 2009 movie. It is likely to assume that if the Star Trek crew are taking the trouble to travel all the way to Iceland, it is for some kind of interesting alien vista. Nestled up to the Arctic Circle, the small island of Iceland certainly offers opportunities for frozen landscapes, but there are also volcanic areas and even green plains.

Iceland offers many opportunities for alien locales for the Star Trek sequel

Some regular readers may remember that back in 2007 JJ Abrams had seriously considered shooting for two weeks in Iceland, however the plan was eventually scrapped. While it is 4,400 miles from Los Angeles, Iceland is growing in popularity for location shooting. As noted above, the "land of ice and fire" has stunning vistas and the government also offers significant incentives.  Just this year, three other productions have shot there: Ben Stiller’s Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Horizon starring Tom Cruise, and Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. And last year Ridley Scott shot alien planet locations in Iceland for Prometheus.

"Prometheus" cast in Iceland

And HBO’s Game of Thrones headed to Iceland for their second season to film scenes “north of the wall.” The below video is from the GoT Iceland location shooting.

Historic trip for Star Trek

The Iceland trip marks the first time any Star Trek production has done any location shooting outside of the USA. The longest a Trek film crew has gone before was a trip to Alaska for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The second unit brought stunt actors (standing in for William Shatner, DeForest Kelley and Iman) to a glacier to shoot Kirk and McCoy’s escape on the Klingon prison planet Rura Penthe.

Alaskan glacier used in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country"

For those that are wondering, it is not uncommon to do some shooting on a film after what is considered the official "principal photography" production wrap. For example, JJ Abrams wrapped production on his first Star Trek film in late March, 2008. However, Trek’s 2nd unit filmed some shots for little Kirk’s Iowa Corvette chase in the Bakersfield area in early April.

2nd unit shooting for "Star Trek" corvette scene in April, 2008

Counting down – now less than a year away

As always, stay tuned to for all your Star Trek sequel news. The movie is now less than a year away, opening May 17, 2013. You may have noticed but a countdown clock has been added to the front page in the sidebar (scroll down). Here is another version of it…


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