The Secrets of Star Trek Into Darkness' Future Cities

One of the most striking things in Star Trek Into Darkness is its depictions of the future versions of London and San Francisco, centuries from now. The film's designers and visual effects people didn't just create brand new cityscapes from scratch, they re-engineered the existing spaces, as our exclusive interview excerpt shows.

Issue #45 of the official Star Trek Magazine is a Star Trek Into Darkness special — and we're excited to bring you an exclusive excerpt about the making of the film, an interview with Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett.

Star Trek (2009) earned him his second Academy Award nomination for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Now back for Star Trek Into Darkness, Guyett dug even deeper in to his bag of tricks to not only maintain the same quality of work as in the previous movie, but somehow to top it.

Star Trek Into Darkness boasts a whopping 1400 visual effect shots. As Guyett puts it, “your imagination and creativity is constantly being stretched.” But taking into consideration budget, deadline crunch, and expectations, it can get a little overwhelming at times.

“That’s what makes the business exciting,” concludes Guyett. “You’re always going, ‘Okay, can we do that?’ We have such a fantastic team here. Everybody is excited by the challenges movies like this offer up. They just want to give it their all. It is a business, but boy, the enthusiasm of everyone in trying to make the most exciting images is really the driving force behind it all. Especially with a leader like J.J.”

On creating some of the movies set pieces:

“Our philosophy about doing cities, and respecting the canon of how the work is described by Gene Roddenberry, is that you’re only a few 100 years in the future,” reports Guyett. “You’re not that far away. If you look historically at the way somewhere like London has changed in the last 100 years, there are many buildings that would potentially still exist. We go through this process of, ‘What would have happened? What buildings would they have hung on to? How would it have changed the nature of some of the design choices they made?’ We like to take things that are real and try to make the architecture scalable. In other words, a scale that is not just totally ridiculous and massive. At the same time, you want a few landmarks in those shots to get the sense of what city you are in. In that case, there’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and the River Thames. We even went to London and took a lot of pictures from different angles, to try to maintain the real geography of it. But, at the same time, we want to elaborate on that and use our imagination on how that might have changed.”

Star Trek Magazine #45 Movie Special

Available at all good magazine retailers from May 7, 2013. For more information, visit Titan Magazines.

The Secrets of Star Trek Into Darkness' Future Cities