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Sci-Fi Connections to Oregon Coast Include Star Trek, LOST, Stargate, 65

Published 2/21/24 at 3:55 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Oregon Coast) – From mythical coastal towns, massive dinos and universe-jumping kids to an “interstellar” review of a local town from the 31st century, the Oregon coast has found its way into various high-profile and some indie-produced sci-fi out there in movie, streaming and TV land. Sometimes it's outright mentions or supposed locales, and other times there are local residents who were actors in some spaced-out faves. (Above: angry birds terrorize Ariana Greenblatt at Whaleshead Beach on the south coast in 65)

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It's a varied and surprising list.

The Road. That super-depressing apocalypse film stars Viggo Mortensen, child actor Kodi McPhee, and Charlize Theron – albeit briefly. The Wreck of the Peter Iredale is the star for a little bit, as the child and dad wander a desolate, foggy beach. They also made use of Portland and the Columbia Gorge in the movie.

65. The rather tense and underrated 2023 flick 65 had sizable portions filmed on the south Oregon coast, including near Brookings and Coos Bay. Seeing giant dinos pound about Oregon beaches is pretty spectacular and cool. (See photo at top or 65 Sci-Fi Flick on Streaming: Parts Filmed on S. Oregon Coast - Review)

Tierra Del Mar

The OA (Netflix). The outstanding and way underrated series The OA filmed some segments of season 2 at Tierra Del Mar. Look for the beach scenes. The pair who created that series, Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, are two of the more inventive minds out there in the sci-fi / fantasy world. It's about a woman and eventually a group of others that have found a mysterious way of jumping between alternate realities, and this was one was cut way too short.

Short Circuit. The goofy 1986 hit was famously filmed in Astoria (and part of the Oregon Film Trail), with plenty of recognizable shots of that elder Oregon coast town. The sequel in '88 was filmed in Toronto, however.

Star Trek. There's a couple of interesting little ties to the half century-old franchise of movies and TV, one of which is the fact that Tunnel Beach at Oceanside was for awhile nicknamed Star Trek Beach. That happened because of a really cool arch in that hidden stretch that looked somewhat like the Guardian of Forever in the early series (and which later reappeared in Star Trek: Discovery).

By far the coolest connection is when Star Trek: Discovery mentioned “Astoria...on Earth's Oregon coast” by name. The final episode of season 4, during some of the peaking moments, there's a chaotic scene where the ol' bridge is shaking out of control and some officers talk about their bucket list of visits. Lt. Commander Eva Nilsson (Sara Mitich) blurts out “Astoria …. on Earth's Oregon coast....It's heaven.” According to Star Trek: 'Astoria. On Earth's Oregon Coast. It's Heaven'

That's quite a review from the 31st century.

There was a moment in the '90s that Star Trek: Voyager connected itself to Seinfeld with Jason Alexander playing a sneaky alien, but there is an actress living on the north Oregon coast who has been in both series. Megan Cole, otherwise known as Liz Cole, has been in the Manzanita / Cannon Beach area for a couple of decades, still putting on interesting solo shows there herself.

Cole was a periodic guest on Seinfeld as Elaine's rather uptight coworker, including the Suzy episode and the germaphobe episode. Cole also played a couple of roles in Star Trek: Next Generation in the '80s and a Romulan in the final episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the '90s.

Twilight. The movie had a brief surfing scene that was filmed at Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach. While it's in the horror genre, it's worth honorable mention that some locals show up in that brief scene where you can see what is erroneously sometimes called Goonies Rock.

Cthulu. The 2005 indie studio film was filmed around Warrenton and near Astoria.

Charleston, courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts

Stargate SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis. The two are definitely some of the highlights of the genre for TV and they both have a link to this area.

In season six of SG1, episode 5 is called “Dreamwalkers” and set in a small town in Oregon which is clearly a kind of beach town. This coastline is not mentioned, however. The harbor has a look not unlike Charleston but the town buildings somewhat resemble Florence, though it was all filmed in British Columbia.

Don & Ann Davis Park

In Newport, there's a Don & Ann Davis Park in Newport, once called Don Davis Memorial Park, which is the same name of actor Don Davis who played General Hammond in much of SG1. Yet in Newport itself is a very real connection to Stargate: actor David Ogden Stiers lived there for a good while. He's best remembered for his groundbreaking role in M*A*S*H in the '70s, but he was also a recurring nemesis in Atlantis as well as playing a couple of different characters in the second incarnation of the Outer Limits series.

The Ring II. Astoria gets the Hollywood exposure again in this potent horror sequel as it's actually set in Astoria. One building was transformed into the Daily Astorian newspaper – although their real offices have always been in a different location. There's quite a few striking scenes where Astoria appears in the flick.

Ursula K. Le Guin. The famed sci-fi writer mostly lived in Portland but she also had a part time residence in Cannon Beach. She and husband Charles were quite active in local issues at times. She penned numerous substantial sci-fi books including The Lathe of Heaven, which became a movie in the '80s.

Frank Herbert's Dune and Florence. The series of novels (and thus the movies) were inspired by Herbert's study of the dunes near Florence. See Dune Novels, Movies Began with Frank Herbert's Visit to Oregon Coast Dunes, Florence.

LOST. While this coastline is never actually mentioned in the influential series on ABC, parts of it do take place in and around Portland, and there's some inferences you can make that lead you to the Oregon coast. The back story of “Other” doctor Juliet shows how she's recruited by the mysterious Richard Alpert and asked to meet in a sleek office in Portland, Oregon, in an even more mysterious firm that never really gets named. It's from there she's spirited away by submarine to the island. Where is the nearest sea to Portland? Hmmm.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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