Interview with Jason Zimmerman (Visual Effects Supervisor of ‘Star Trek’)

“It’s something I grew up wanting to do when I started out as an artist,” admits the visual effects supervisor Jason Zimmerman how passionate he is about creating spectacular visuals on all three “Star Trek” live-action series (“Star Trek: Discovery”, “Star Trek: Picard” and “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”). For our recent online chat, he adds, “Being able to work on ‘Star Trek’ is always an honor and a pleasure, but being able to do something that goes back to the roots of the show’s legacy, where it all began, comes to be truly exciting,” referring to the latest iteration of the evergreen “Star Trek” canon, which takes viewers back in time to the origins of the famous franchise. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” is a prequel to the legendary 1960s “Star Trek” original series, starring Captain Christopher Pike (Mount Anson), Science Officer Spock (Ethan Peck) and number one (Rebecca Romijn), who reprise their roles from the second season of “Discovery”, as they continue to explore new worlds around the galaxy on the USS Enterprise. Created by Akiva Goldman, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumetthe sci-fi drama co-stars Jesse Bush as nurse Christine Chapel (created by Majel Barrett-Rodedenberry in the original series), Celia Rose Gooding as young Uhura (originally played by Nichelle Nichols), Melissa Navia as helmsman Erica Ortegas, Bruce Horak as chief engineer Hemmer, Babs Olusan Mokun chief medical officer M’Benga and Christina Chang as Officer La’an Noonien-Singh, who is related to famous “Star Trek” villain Khan Noonien Singh, played by the late Ricardo Montalban in the original series and fan-favorite feature film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”

Zimmerman, who recently won an Emmy in visual effects for the third-season episode of ‘Discovery’ titled ‘SuKal,’ said going back to the roots of the revered ‘Star Trek’ franchise was a huge undertaking he wanted to succeed. “From the beginning, we had a very clear vision of what we wanted it to be, and like every ‘Star Trek’ show, it has to be a little different from other shows. Every show has to have its own personality and its own cinematic style, if you will. So from the start, we knew that this retro-tech take on “Star Trek” was what we wanted to do, to set it apart from other series. Zimmerman and the entire production team were d ‘all the more aware of the pressure to hold the landing due to the very high expectations of the franchise’s loyal fans.’The fans are very, very passionate and they will tell you if you are doing a good job and if you are doing a bad job “, he explains. “One of the things that I noted over and over again,” he says of reading fan comments online, “was that everyone wanted to see the plans more long and see the beautiful ships and how they look have and they would always reference the original series and how they presented their shots and so that’s something we strive to do; go back and look at how the original show had blueprints of ships and all the different things they did and then what can we do with the technology that we have now to make it a better version or a more evolved version of that, but at the same time, stay true to the spirit of what got us there to begin with.

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Briana R. Cross