Star Trek: Picard boldly took the world of 90s Trek and brought it into the modern-day, creating a much more mature, contemporary show based around Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc and featuring other The Next Generation characters. One way that it did that was through the cutting-edge special effects.
With voting on the Emmys going ahead this week, CBS is pushing Picard in many categories, particularly visual effects, which Trek shows have often come up trumps in. As per this campaign to grab the attention of Emmy voters, Deadline has shared a new behind-the-scenes look at the series’ visual effects, featuring VFX Supervisor Justin Zimmerman reflecting on his work.
Zimmerman is also the resident VFX Supervisor on Discovery as well and in the above video, he reflects on the differences in effects between DIS and PIC, which allowed him to stretch his legs creatively.
“I am a big Star Trek fan for sure, so it was definitely something when I got the call and the opportunity I could not pass up. From a visual effects perspective, what was appealing about Picard was it is different stylistically from Discovery. And we were going to do different things and that is one of the things we discussed. I was also really excited to stretch our legs as a visual effects team and try different things out.”
That said, Picard season 1 saw many familiar aspects of canon return – in terms of VFX, that includes the Borg Reclamation Project, situated on a deactivated Borg Cube. Zimmerman spoke to Deadline about the challenge of tackling an established aspect of canon like that, explaining that he always intends to stay true to the Trek universe so that those who know it backwards will appreciate their efforts.
“Working with these canon things like the Enterprise and the Borg Cube, it is always a little bit daunting to be responsible for something so revered and been depicted so many times. What you definitely don’t want to do is go back and start from scratch. You have probably the best amount of research and reference humanly possible for any show. So you definitely start there and want to make you don’t do anything that doesn’t make sense. For us, doing our research is an important part of the process and checking with everyone who knows the Star Trek universe to ensure we are actually treating these things appropriately. That we are not doing anything that is not part of canon or would otherwise not be what is expected from Star Trek.”
A couple of months ago, CBS started up “For Your Consideration” campaigns for Star Trek: Picard in all the major categories, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series for Stewart. We’ll soon see whether this pays off and if the show ends up getting any love from the Emmys.