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Sunday June 23rd 2024

Star Trek | 2009

Star Trek (2009) location: Vasquez Rocks, California
Star Trek location: the planet ‘Vulcan’: Vasquez Rocks, California | Photograph: Erik Hollander

JJ Abrams pulled off the unlikely feat of pleasing critics, audiences and diehard Trekkies rebooting the Star Trek franchise.

The surface of ‘Vulcan’ – as it was for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – is the 745-acre Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, 10700 West Escondido Canyon Road, near Agua Dulce Springs, about an hour north of Los Angeles.

This is a sly nod to the original TV series which, although largely studio-based, several 1960s episodes – including Shore Leave and Arena – ventured out to find alien landscapes among the awesome rock formations. Named after the 19th century outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez, who hid out here, this outburst of the San Andreas Fault has been used in hundreds of Westerns and sci-fi movies, pop videos and photoshoots – see it in Apache, Alpha Dog, Starship Troopers and as far back as 1935 in Werewolf Of London.

The park is in the high desert north of Los Angeles, between Newhall and Acton, off Route 14.

Star Trek (2009) location: Oviatt Library, Cal-Tech University, Northridge
Star Trek location: the Starfleet Academy in ‘San Francisco’: Oviatt Library, Cal-Tech University, Northridge | Photograph: flickr/T Hoffarth

For the 'Starfleet Academy', digital technology moves the Oviatt Library at Cal-State University, Northridge in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, to sit alongside San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

The library had previously featured (as the superhero school) in Sky High and, more down to earth, in Legally Blonde 2 and Lindsay Lohan-Jane Fonda misfire Georgia Rule. On the small screen, sci-fi buffs might have seen it in Star Trek Voyager, Roswell and Battlestar Galactica.

Star Trek (2009) location: Long Beach City Hall, California
Star Trek location: Kirk and Spock face off over the Kobayashi Maru exercise - but Kirk becomes Captain of the Enterprise: Long Beach City Hall, California | Photograph: Daniel de Boom

It’s in the circular council chamber of Long Beach City Hall, 333 West Ocean Boulevard, alongside Lincoln Park, that Kirk and Spock initially face off when Kirk is accused of cheating in the Kobayashi Maru (the supposedly unwinnable Starfleet training exercise), but are finally decorated after defeating he Romulan attack, and Kirk is appointed captain of the Enterprise (Los Angeles Metro, Blue Line).

More mundanely, 'Delta Vega', the ice planet was recreated in the parking lot of the Dodger Stadium, 1000 Vin Scully Avenue, downtown Los Angeles, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers (the car park is where Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) is giving his car a workout at the opening of The Fast and The Furious).

The USS Enterprise's gleaming engine room, where the young Scotty (Simon Pegg) gets beamed into a cooling pipe, is the Budweiser Brewery Anheuser-Busch Inc, 15800 Roscoe Boulevard, just west of the San Diego Freeway (I-405) in Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley, while the recently restored 1930s Long Beach Generating Station on Terminal Island became the engine room of the USS Kelvin, aboard which Kirk is born (you can see the plant pre-restoration in Michael Bay’s The Island, with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson) and Next with Nicolas Cage.