Star Trek: Into Darkness - Filming Locations
Part 2
 The Southern California locations where
"Star Trek: Into Darkness" was filmed.

0:36:22: Next is a scene set in the Enterprise's warp core, where Scotty warns Kirk about the
dangers of taking the torpedoes onboard, and then resigns in protest when his warnings go unheeded.

This is the only major location that isn't in the Greater Los Angeles area.

This was filmed inside the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,
at 7000 East Ave, in Livermore, California.

To be more exact, it was shot inside the lab's National Ignition Facility (NIF),
the world's largest and most powerful laser system, which can simulate underground
nuclear testing, and conduct experiments that require
producing temperatures of
hundreds of millions of degrees and pressures of hundreds of billions of atmospheres.

Here is a photo of the Livermore Lab's NIF:

Livermore is about 300 miles north of Los Angeles, and 50 miles west of San Francisco.

And the irony is that even though it's actually fairly close to San Francisco, this is one location
that isn't supposed to be in San Francisco - it's supposed to be out in space, aboard the Enterprise.

Here's a Google StreetView of one of the entrance roads to the facility.


The same location was used again later (at 1:48:16 for the warp core scene
where Spock rushes to the dying Kirk.

1:42:19: As  the crippled Enterprise is plummeting to earth,  Kirk & Scotty rush through this
large industrial room, on their way to restart the warp core.  As the ship spins out of
control, Kirk & Scotty fall & dangle here, but are caught & rescued by Chekov.

This scene was shot inside the Budweiser Brewery, at 15800 Roscoe Blvd, in Van Nuys, CA.

(So you can guess what's inside those huge tanks..)

Van Nuys is located in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, and the brewery
is just west of the San Diego (405) Freeway.

This property was once the location of the Busch Gardens theme park & bird sanctuary, which
featured lush gardens, a monorail, boat rides, bumper cars, lagoons and waterfalls.

That theme park operated from 1966 until 1979 -  when they went back to being just a brewery.

(Here is a Google StreetView of the brewery.


As Khan's crippled starship (the Vengeance) plummets into San Francisco bay, we have
a brief shot of Star Fleet cadets watching the disaster from a distance.

This scene was shot back at the Getty Center, with more CGI used to create
the fake background of the San Francisco bay (and, of course, the starship).

The lengthy
final chase scene, where Khan escapes from his crashing starship

(as it wipes out the San Francisco skyline), and where Spock pursues him,
was actually shot at two different locations, 10 miles apart:

One was in downtown Los Angeles and the other was in Century City.

The downtown scenes were shot near 450 Grand Avenue, at the spot where
California Plaza and the Wells Fargo Center sit across from each other.

The Century City scenes were shot both inside the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) building,
at 2000 Avenue of the Stars, and out in the plaza behind (east of) that building,
between the CAA building and the landmark Century City twin towers.

The scenes from those two locations were then intercut, and so heavily doctored by
3D CGI effects that it's often impossible to tell where the real locations
end and the CGI fakery begins.

( And some shots in the mix, such as the crashing ship destroying downtown
San Francisco, seem to be almost completely computer-generated. )

So, lets go step-by-step through the scene:

1:52:52Kahn's ship crashes into the city.

The lawn gives away the location here, despite all the fake background.  We are in the grassy park/plaza between
the Century City twin towers and the Creative Artists Agency building, at 2000 Avenue of the Stars.


Below is a view of that same lawn, and the CAA building:

1:54:19: Khan survives the crash & flees through the panic.

On the lower left side of the screencap above, what you see is the rear (east) entrance to the
Creative Artists Agency building, at 2000 Avenue of the Stars.

(Those patio chairsare also a normal part of that Century City plaza.)

Everything else, such as the collapsing buildings, is CGI.

Here is a photo of that east side of the CAA building (including those patio chairs):

1:54:32: Spock beams down and chases Khan.

In the photo above, they are still on the plaza behind (east of) the CAA building.

(Note the reflections of the Century City twin towers in glass behind Spock.)

Here is a Google StreetView panorama of those twin towers.

1:54:45: Khan runs into a glass building (followed by Spock in pursuit), then crashes out through the glass doors.

This is the lobby of the CAA building.  The camera is looking east/northeast, out towards the
plaza and the Twin Towers. (You can see the base of those twin towers in the background,
through the building's glass windows.)

( Here is a Google StreetView panorama of the front of the CAA building. )

1:54:56: Crashing out of the glass building, Spock chases Khan down the street
and the action suddenly shifts from Century City to Downtown Los Angeles, a good 10 miles away.

( Here is a matching Google StreetView panorama. )

In the photos above, Khan is running south down the west side of Grand Avenue,
just north of 4th Street.  (The camera is looking northwest.)

The brown building on the left side of the photo above is
the 45-story KMPG tower, at 355 S. Grand Ave, the southernmost
of the two brown skyscrapers that make up the Wells Fargo Center.

  Behind Khan's head is the 54-story Wells Fargo Tower, at 333 S. Grand Ave.


1:54:58: Khan runs across the street, with Spock in hot pursuit:

( Here is a matching Google StreetView panorama. )

In the photo above, we are looking south/southwest down Grand Avenue,
from the crosswalk at 450 S. Grand Avenue.  The Wells Fargo Center is on the right (west).

(The downtown L.A. landscape has been heavily enhanced by CGI)

In the photo below, on the left (east) side of the street is California Plaza.  The building with the round
 windows is the base of the Two California Plaza tower, a 52-story skyscraper at 350 S. Grand Avenue.

( Here is a matching Google StreetView panorama. )


Here is a matching Google StreetView panorama:

  [ After they reach the other side of the street, Khan leaps aboard a red, flying transport.
Spock follows him there, and they battle.  That scene was shot back on the land at

Playa del Rey (which we mentioned at the start of this article), on an outdoor set.]

 2:00:59:  The movie ends with a memorial scene, set a year after the crash, a ceremony
designed to rechristen the Enterprise and honor those who died in the crash. 
The scene has Kirk giving a speech at a podium, to an audience
filled with dress-uniformed Star Fleet officers.

The building behind Kirk looks a lot like The Getty Center - but it's not.

It was, however, designed by the same architect (Richard Meier),
which may well have influenced the decision to use it in the film.

This scene was actually shot on the campus of the
Crystal Cathedral
, at 12141 Lewis Street, in Garden Grove, CA.

(That's in Orange County, about 3 miles southwest of Disneyland.)

The building seen is not the Cathedral itself, but is rather the nearby
Welcoming Center, located about 80 yards west of the
They added lots of fake CGI buildings on the horizon, but it' still
very identifiable in the closer shots, such as the photo above.

The camera is looking west in the photo above.

Here is a photo of the Welcoming Center:

[ The Crystal Cathedral has been renamed Christ Cathedral. You can read more about it here. ]

(Here is a Google StreetView of the Cathedral.


The photos on this page are stills from "Star Trek: Into Darkness"
(which you can buy by clicking here) and are copyright Paramount.

The rest of the page is Copyright  1999-2024-Gary Wayne /