MANDO CAME TO SO CAL
One thing that the new Disney+ series of The Mandalorian is doing new is that it is the first Star Wars property to not be filmed in England. New technology allows the show to show amazing photo real effects in "the Volume." There's an awesome video from ILM you can (and should) check out about it here. But sometimes there is just too much action to fit into a box studio.
When Chapter 14 of The Mandalorian Season 2, debuted a few weeks ago, we were all treated with a new planet in the Star Wars Universe, "Tython." Many people oddly thought it looked a lot like Southern California... and they were correct! In fact, we can confirm this was shot inside the Central Coast! On Christmas Day, Disney+ released an episode of Disney Gallery, a behind the scenes look at making the new season, it was revealed that director Robert Rodriguez and the production filmed on location in Simi Valley.
Simi Valley lies just along the border of the Ventura and Los Angeles County line, and is a part of Ventura County, which is a part of the Central Coast. This episode was shot using stages and the new "Volume" technology, but the large action scenes involving the Mandalorian (Din Djarin), Boba Fett and some stormtroopers were shot in the hills above Simi Valley and was actually about 500 feet away from being in Los Angeles County. We will still claim it as Central Coast!!
Take a look at a Google Maps look at the area the Boba Fett and Fennec Shand action scenes took place. You can see from the image above the round rock in the upper left corner matches what is behind Boba Fett.
The rocks to the bottom of the image are the same ones that Fennec Shand runs across while the stormtroopers shoot at her feet. You can see in the still below matching holes along the bottom, as well as the round rock on the ridge from the other still. Digital artists we able to simply blur out the San Fernando Valley in the background.
ABOUT THE "STUDIO ZONE"
Many films are shot in Simi Valley because it is in the TMZ. Yes, like the popular show, but the TMZ is an actual term that stands for the "Thirty Mile Zone" and several parts of Ventura County fall within that line. In fact, the Screen Actor's Guild has only two "Studio Zones" which is a TMZ in LA and a TMZ in New York City. You can see that info here. The one in LA is centered at La Cienega and Beverly Blvds.
Productions have been taking advantage of the labor agreements and government tax incentives to produce within this zone since 1934. For example, actors and crew members are expected to transport themselves to these locations and will not need hotel accommodations, which is a huge budget savings. Older major studios regularly purchases "movie ranches" on the outskirts of the TMZ and made them large outdoor studios, most without any formal backlots or stages, and were meant for exterior shots only. You can see in the map below, the MGM Conejo Ranch was to be considered being in the Studio Zone, even though it is further than the actual TMZ.
While Ventura County is the furthest south on the Central Coast, it still is a vital part of the TMZ and is quite literally Hollywood's Backyard. Take a look below.