Patrick Stewart returned to Starfleet this spring in “Star Trek: Picard,” reviving his iconic character Captain Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” for new adventures. Picking up 20 years after the events of the 2002 film “Star Trek: Nemesis,” the series begins with Picard in a mournful retirement.
Such a grave introduction begets a more dramatic tenor than other “Star Trek” series. Lead visual effects supervisor Jason Zimmerman spoke on Variety Artisans, presented by HBO, about working on the project and approaching the special effects with this tonal shift in mind.
“When Alex Kurtzman first mentioned that this was a project that they were looking to do, it was that it would be different from ‘Discovery’ visually,” Zimmerman said. “Tonally, it would be a little bit different…So it was really important early on to understand how we, as a visual effects department, contribute to that…There were going to be less flashy visual effects and more about helping to aid the story [with] things like set extensions.”
Zimmerman also commented on the intimidating challenge of recreating “Star Trek” mainstays, such as the transporter, and retaining their original spirit in “Picard.”
“The transporter is always something that’s a little bit nerve-wracking because it’s such an important part of canon for ‘Star Trek.’ We can’t just go make something up. We have to honor what came before. Fortunately, we have a lot of vendors that are also ‘Trek’ fans. We do all that we can to honor it, by doing something that looks cool or with a slightly different approach.”
Watch the full video above.