Star Trek Picard Show To Film In California

The upcoming CBS All Access Star Trek series featuring the return of Sir Patrick Stewart as the iconic Jean-Luc Picard continues to move forward, with news today that the series will not follow Star Trek: Discovery and Short Treks into Canada.

Picard series to film in California, with big tax incentives

Today the California Film Commission revealed details on tax credits for a number of television projects to be produced in the state in 2019, one of which was the upcoming but still untitled Star Trek series featuring the return of Jean-Luc Picard. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, CBS will receive a $15.6 million in state tax credits for the Picard show alone. This was the second highest amount in credits for the shows revealed today, with the highest going to The Orville, indicating Fox is already set to move forward on a third season of Seth McFarlane’s homage to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In their announcement, the California Film Commission noted the significance of CBS choosing California for the Picard show, stating “California-based production of CBS Studios’ “New Star Trek Series” represents a homecoming for the famed TV franchise, which has focused recent production in Toronto.”

Five Star Trek series were all produced in Hollywood, starting with The Original Series at Desilu (which later became Paramount), and then on to The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, all on the Paramount lot. Star Trek: Discovery broke the cycle when it began production at Pinewood Studios in Toronto, Canada in 2017. The spin-off series Star Trek: Short Treks has also been shot in Toronto. Canada has become home to more and more film and TV production, with studios drawn in by lower costs and incentives.

Patrick Stewart with director Stuart Baird, shooting Star Trek: Nemesis on the Paramount lot in Hollywood, CA in 2002

While the majority of CBS’ scripted shows still film in the USA, a good number of their productions have been produced in Canada. The studio recently acquired a new 260,000 square foot location in Ontario, which is set to start up in mid-2019. There is no word yet on where in California the Picard show will be produced, but it is possible they could use the Paramount lot in Hollywood, which CBS Studios has continued to use even following the Viacom/CBS split in 2006.

The tax credit for the Picard show is significant, however it may not be the sole driver for the choice to shoot in California. It’s possible that star and executive producer Sir Patrick Stewart preferred to work in Los Angeles, where has worked on a number of films and TV projects including his most recent series Blunt Talk.  TrekMovie was the first to reveal that the new Star Trek show is planned as an ongoing series, and it is possible that Stewart, at age 78, doesn’t want to commit to spending that much time in Ontario. Production on the new show is set to start in April, with a planned debut later in 2019.

Shooting in Los Angeles has additional benefits as well, with easier access to the larger pool of talent of both actors and behind the scenes professionals in the area. In addition, offices for the writers and producers are in Los Angeles, giving them easier access to the set on a day to day basis.

Details on the show are still unavailable, beyond the fact that it will be set 20 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis.

Sir Patrick Stewart announcing new Picard Show at Star Trek Las Vegas, August 2018


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Stage 31 at Paramount has good Trek mojo from TOS onwards. Hopefully they will film it there.

I thought it was 8 & 9 that were the principal TOS/TMP stages.

But the main deal is access to the immensely talented pool of pros in the area, who would probably love to be able to drive home for dinner at the end of a long day. Recently, more of the films I’ve covered have been shooting some or all of the work in L.A. (Capt Marvel, Bumblebee, Happytime Murders) and the crews seem delighted. Even a UK-based DP was happy about it, owing to the skillsets he can draw upon.

I read that Stage 9 on the Desilu lot was renamed Stage 31 when it was absorbed into the Paramount lot – same stage, different ownership.

It was still stage 9 well into this century, so far as I know. Check out:

This may be the incentive needed to secure the Okuda’s and others who were reluctant to move to Vancouver.

Is that true? Were the Okudas approached? I’d love to see them involved!!

As far as I know they were never approached. Discovery was an entirely new Trek series under totally different management.

I’m pretty certain the Okudas were never approached and can you imagine them handling the continuity of Discovery. It’s a nightmare of continuity issues!

It’s the equivalent of a one-page story treatment that got rushed into production after the showrunner either left or was let go following all the work he put into pre-production.

The Okadas might make a nice addition to future projects in terms of story continuity. But I’m glad that on both large and small screen we got at least one version of ST that was not tied to the ’90s era of the franchise.

I think the Okudas were reluctant to move to Vancouver because Discovery is filmed in Toronto!

Well, there is that! ; )

This is good news because it means they won’t be using Discovery’s sets and will have easier access to Star Trek’s experts and production teams as well as actors from 24th century Trek, which it would be absurd not to bring in from time to time. If they try to detach Picard from the TNG family, it will be go over a lot worse than the Klingon re-imagining did.

Since Discovery and the Picard show are set more than a century apart it’s highly unlikely they would have used Discovery’s sets even if the show was also shot in Toronto. The times when Star Trek V and VI used barely redressed sets of TNG to save costs are probably over.

Star Trek has a long history of redressing sets so I see where he’s coming from.

As a native Californian, born and raised this is delightful news to me. Part of the appeal of going to LA and Hollywood growing up was knowing it was the home of Star Trek. I just knew I’d see a Klingon or Romulan crossing the street one day on break from TNG. That never happened because I’m from San Francisco (Starfleet Command) and the odds were low but the idea delighted me nonetheless. Live long and prosper Californian (and Star Trek), literally.

Good news day, Trekmovie! Much appreciated. Very hopeful about this show.

Both Stewart and Star Trek are coming home! :)

Not surprised, this is probably one of the demands he had to shoot the show that it wold be back in L.A. And thats great for the production since there is so much Star Trek history there, which was such an advantage for all the producers and set designers to use all those costumes, sets, etc. I love reading trivia that so and so show used a prop or part of a set from another show or film.

And Discovery is only in Toronto because of Fuller. HE was shooting American Gods there also and it made sense to have both shows there so it would be easier to coordinate between the two. And now the guy is on neither. It’s amazing the kind of clout you can have when your name becomes big enough.

But Star Trek back in L.A.just feels right. Especially for this L.A. native.

By all accounts Discovery moved to Toronto because it’s cheaper to produce there than in the US. That’s why quite a few American shows are produced in Canada. I don’t know if Fuller was actually based in Toronto but it probably wasn’t his clout that moved the show there. In any case, Discovery’s writers and producers are based in the US even though the show is shot in Toronto.

Yes but in Discovery case I do think it was partly because of Fuller. American Gods was already shooting there (probably for the reasons you cited) so it made sense to add the show there as well. So it was probably a little of both. But Hollywood has been shooting in Canada since the 80s and yet every Trek production from TNG through Enterprise and the films has stayed in L.A. during that time. Again partly because so much of the Star Trek sets, props, costumes and long time talent who worked on those shows were already in L.A. I guess so it just made sense to shoot in the place where you have all those resources.

What’s funny is for the Kelvin movies they did want to shoot them outside of L.A. given their crazy budgets but Abrams wanted them shot in L.A. They only moved to other locations when Lin directed Beyond, although how much it saved them doesn’t seem to be much lol.

Costs of filming and production may have been a lot higher if Beyond hadn’t shot in Canada.

I imagine there is plenty of movie production talent to be had in Canada these days.

Frankly the whole tax-break formula really grates on me, but that’s for reasons political, which I won’t get into here. OTOH if it brings us great Trek, that’s for the good. And the money made by actors and production staff will go into the local economy, hopefully making up for the tax breaks.

I imagine Sir Pat’s wanting to stay local had a lot of influence on the decision to film in L.A. area, since he is the reason d’etre for the Picard show, LOL.

Fuller was a small part of it. Canada is historically cheaper and Discovery is not inexpensive to produce. Incentives are being offered to lure productions back to L.A.

While talent can be a major factor in where a show gets produced, and almost everyone prefers to shoot in LA, it is very expensive. I can’t see CBS ever agreeing to shoot a sci-fi show in LA, had they not won the tax-credit lottery, which is a very complex process. CBS is very lucky they managed to get this tax-credit.

I am somewhat disappointed by this news. I take great joy and pride in seeing _Discovery_ filmed in Canada. But perhaps this might be the way of things going forward: one series each to be filmed in Canada and the States respectively.
That would not be a bad future.

Well good news, because DSC is still being filmed in Canada.

The news on this series just keeps getting better. They once again have access to the best resources possible to create this series, and convenient proximity to the creators and actors that powered TNG in the first place.

Stage 8 at Paramount housed the Enterprise D Bridge from season 2 onward.
Would be awesome to hear of it being shot there.
I recall when I did the Paramount Tour a couple years back that at its peak in the mid 90’s Star Trek was so huge (when TNG was wrapping, Voyager starting and DS9 and Generations in full swing) that an entire street of sound stages perhaps more on the lot were soley devoted to Trek.

So much more excited about this Picard show, than Discovery. I wish the Discovery team had just gone straight into the voyages of Captain Pike, rather than the direction they did. I still hold out that we get a 100% Pike show, without Discovery.

No more Burnham-centric POV either. She’s not a good character and not played by a spectacular actress.

One saving grace.

Agreed, Tom.

How many times did Picard lose a fight to a girl in Next Gen? Now Stewart wants to helm a show in his 80s? Please.

This is a weird argument lol.

what a delightful combination of sexism and ageism.

Thank you for saying it, Binyamin. I was just about to mention it. Some people can’t STAND that Discovery is centered on Burnham, a woman and POC, and SMG is a VERY good actress. I just don’t understand the criticism of her and Yeoh.

Oh, wait.

Agreed, Marja. I don’t get it either. And all the “I’m not racist or sexist, but…” people are protesting too much.

When I was 8 I used to see Picard as Mr Burns. Obviously now I don’t. Ha, ha!

I too wish Picard beat more women. Then we would know for sure the new series would be good. /s

This gets the award for the Strangest Post I’ve Seen In A While.

Perhaps an old coal can breath new life into Treks dead camp fire.

Are you per chance Canadian? Pot is legal here now. It would explain things…

Well, I will watch, As long as Sir Stewart does Not wear a dress in the first episode, or any other.

Um… Huh?

People are getting really excited over this but we have no indication it’s going to be anything more than Picard sitting near a fire telling stories. That just isn’t the comeback for TNG fans will want.

I have a feeling he will be directing Starfleet actions from SFHQ in San Fran. But I could be wrong; we shall see.

> Implying hoards of TNG fans wouldn’t get excited over the prospect of Picard telling stories by a fire

Depends on whether the fire was a funeral pyre or ship wreckage or whether we were in ST 5 territory (I’d prefer the latter, though not with Picard.)

I’m more worried it’ll be Picard telling stories to children about when he was younger. How underwhelming that would be.

I just don’t think a whole series around one TNG character can work when you’ve had seven years already with a great ensemble cast.

I have the sneaky feeling, we’re going to see the Starfleet Academy show centered around Picard. In the early parts of TNG, he disliked kids. That changed along the way.

Yay! I Hope this means it will have more the old-school feel! Like alien planets filmed at Vazquez Rocks! Seriously, I love this.

Haha I can’t see Vasquez Rocks without seeing Kirk and the Gorn, or Kirk and Finnegan, or ….

I made the pilgrimage out there once. It was pretty damn cool.

I wonder if Stewart’s age had anything to do with this? He’ll have a lot of say in things by virtue of them not being able to do the show without him. I can’t imagine the icy weather of Canada would have been comfortable. He already has arthritis.

He’s from the U.K. and lives in New York. I don’t think its the weather that bothers him. ;)

And plenty of old people live in these places. If they been living there all their life its not an issue.

Besides arthritis, he has bursitis, bronchitis, gastritis and rhinitis. And he can’t physically move, so they have to animate his body using CGI. And his excessive flatulence triggers the smoke detectors and is a potential fire hazard. Oh, and he’s near death.

I mean, will he even survive the pilot? /s

A tax cut in a state that is raising taxes.Has ANYONE (Californians)seen what has been happening in Paris?

“… and it is possible that Stewart, at age 78, doesn’t want to commit to spending that much time in Ontario.”

LOL… Can you blame him ;)

Just kidding!

I’m happy for the LA talent pool and I have to admit that it felt strange when Star Trek production left California. But, Stewart has seemingly been spending a lot of his time back in the UK in recent years and I was curious to see what a Star Trek show would be like if it was produced in London or Cardiff. On a tangentially related note; does anyone know if Canadian produced TV shows get more tax credits if a certain percentage of on camera talent come from Canada or other Commonwealth countries? I’ve noticed a lot of actors from the UK, Australia and New Zealand mixed in with the expected Canadian and American actors in recent years.

Being French, I think should be film in France!

France so much nicer than America and Picard is suppose to be French!

I’m glad your proud of France and you think it is so nice.I wish you the best in reclaiming your country from socialism

Good luck in reclaiming YOUR country from stupidity, racism, megalomania, narcissism, ignorance and intolerance.

Much agreed, Jon C!

I wish that tax incentives for special interests would be outlawed. States should compete on their overall tax policy, not special favors.

Alex Kurtzman says that ”Picard Show is in Cannon but will Free itself from it moving Forward” Thanks this sounds great this says it won’t be you Daddy’s Star Trek.