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.
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.
Stay up to date on all the Picard show news here at TrekMovie.com.