Paramount has already disclosed that they are planning to move forward with a fourth contemporary ‘Star Trek’ movie and that somehow Chris Hemsworth would appear again as George Kirk, the father of series headliner Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine). One question that lingers is what will become of Pavel Chekov, the navigator aboard the starship Enterprise, portrayed by Anton Yelchin. Yelchin was tragically killed last month in a freak accident involving his SUV. Fans have been looking forward to seeing him once again as the delightfully awkward Chekov as ‘Star Trek Beyond’ was one of his final performances and his last spin in the role that most people associate with him. But then what?
‘Star Trek Beyond’ was directed by franchise newcomer Justin Lin, but J.J. Abrams who directed Yelchin in ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ remains on board as a director and he dispelled any idea that someone else would be cast as Chekov.
“I would say there’s no replacing him. There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better.”
“How will they write Chekov out of the film series? Will they kill him off? I have thought about it, we’re working on it, and it’s too early to talk about it.”
This is probably music to everyone’s ears. Though Chekov certainly wasn’t the main character in the film, his small cameos were quirky and charming. Yelchin brought a wide-eyed innocence to the role that can hardly be simply replaced.
Walter Koenig portrayed Chekov in the original television series but quite often the secondary cast were rotated out through various episodes, so that they rarely all appeared at the same time. What will most likely happen is that there will simply be a new navigator introduced with some mention of Chekov moving on to another assignment. HOPEFULLY, he won’t be killed off off-camera, as that would be callous and disrespectful to Yelchin.
In addition to ‘Star Trek Beyond’, Yelchin has a few other projects in the can, waiting to be released. There’s the sci fi-hewing ‘Rememory’, thrillers ‘We Don’t Belong Here’ and ‘Thoroughbred’ and romantic drama ‘Porto’. All four are due this year or early next.
Are you happy that Chekov will be written out of the films? Or do you think someone else could actually handle the role in Yelchin’s absence?