JJ Abrams Has No Plans to Recast Chekov After Anton Yelchin’s Death

Star Trek Beyond beams into theaters nation-wide this week, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the venerable Sci-Fi juggernaut, and Paramount Pictures also announced that another sequel was already in the works leaving millions of fans wondering what will happen to the character Pavel Chekov.

Anton Yelchin, the actor that portrayed Chekov in Star Trek 2009 and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, was killed last month when he was crushed by his SUV when the car reportedly rolled into him at his home in Los Angeles. His car, 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee was part of a recall by Chrysler just two months before for a defective parking gears.

The stars of Star Trek Beyond mourned the loss of their friend in the days and weeks following his death, and it was announced recently that there would be a memorial to him in the new film. A memorial for Leonard Nimoy was already planned.

JJ Abrams posted a handwritten note saying:

“You were brilliant. You were kind. You were funny as hell, and supremely talented,”

Appearing on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Friday July 1, Zachary Quinto said:

“Beautiful, beautiful guy,” Quinto said, shaking his head. “I don’t even know how to talk about it. We already knew this was going to be a bittersweet experience as a result of the loss of Leonard [Nimoy, who died in February 2015]. But this has been absolutely devastating for all of us. I think our goal just has to be to celebrate his incredible life and honor him. It was a terrible loss, not only to us but to audiences and the industry. We are truly and inextricably entwined and I think we always will be. Our goal has to be to celebrate his incredible life and honor him as much as we can.”

John Cho, who portrays Sulu in the new movies remembered his friend this way:

“He was a young man who was just starting to become what he was going to become. I can’t even begin to express how badly my heart has been broken by his passing. Star Trek showed just 1/100th of his range. He was an excellent mind, a courageous artist and a great hang. I’m just missing him and still processing his loss.”

So with Star Trek Beyond out this week and Star Trek IV (or XIV depending on how you count them) what is to become of the navigator of the Starship Enterprise? In the newly minted, “Kelvin Timeline,” the sky really is the limit. In the Prime Timeline, Chekov left the Enterprise to serve aboard the USS Reliant as it was investigating suitable planets to test detonate the Genesis torpedo on. Eventually, Chekov rejoined the Enterprise crew after Khan Noonien Singh tried to destroy Kirk and company for a perceived wrong dating all the way back to the Original Series Episode Space Seed.

In this rebooted timeline, Khan is no longer a threat, and could ostensibly be aboard the Reliant serving as first officer for years to come. One thing is for sure, JJ Abrams has no intention of recasting Chekov for any future Trek films. Speaking to the Toronto Sun on the topic, Abrams said:

“I would say there’s no replacing him,” he said. “There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better.”

When asked how he planned to wrap up Chekov’s storyline, Abrams admitted that he has considered killing off the character, but has not made a final decision about it.

“I have thought about it. We’re working on it, and it’s too early to talk about it.”

Many people have mixed feelings about the NuTrek films, and say what you will about them, but one thing is for sure, Yelchin’s portrayal of Pavel Chekov was substantially fun to watch to say the least. How many times have fan’s caught themselves quoting him from Star Trek 2009 saying, “I can do that I can do that!” or, “Wictor, Wictor 2?” Anton Yelchin may be gone, but he will, Live Long and Prosper,” in the hearts and minds of Trekkies all over the world.

Star Trek Beyond premiered this week at the San Diego Comic Con, and opens in theaters on Friday.  Star Trek has a massive presence at SDCC this year, and Trekkies are ready to celebrate!



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About the author

Tim Piland

Timothy Piland is a classically trained tenor and opera singer. He was born and raised in the Springfield, Mo. Area.

He has performed Roles for Springfield Little Theater, Vandivort Theater, Springfield Regional Opera and Mobile Opera. He has also worked for the Puccini Festival, and the Kansas City Lyric Opera.

In his performing career he has performed roles in: Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Man of La Mancha, Die Fledermouse, La Fanciulla del West, Gianni Schicchi and many other shows.

In 2007, he toured the United Kingdom with the Church of the Incarnation out of Dallas, Texas. This included a week long engagement at Westminster Abbey, as well as a 9 day engagement at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In 2009 he originated the role of the Priest in "Frankenstein, Monster" by Le Wlhelm at the Gilloiz Theater.

He appeared onstage as Rupert Giles for, "A Class Act productions," in their ongoing presentation of Buffy The Vampire Slayer: A Reader’s Theatre Parody, from March 2010-July 2013.

In November 2011, he made his directoral debut, directing "Star Trek Live Onstage: The Trouble with Tribbles," also for "A Class Act." He went on to direct 14 of the next 17 episodes of that live stage show.

Each Christmas you can also catch him at the historic Pythian Castle where he performs in a, "Night of the Dueling Santas," a Christmas dinner show of his own writing. He has been the Ghost Tour Guide for the castle since 2010.

He has been featured on The Discovery Channel, SYFY Channel, The History Channel, NPR.

He is the founder of Harvest Moon Productions and oversees events ranging from concerts to straight plays. He is currently writing a book called "Ghostly Tales From Pythian Castle," which hopefully will see production at some point in 2014.

In 2013 he was cast as Dr. Howard Lagrasse in the 5 episode silent Horror web series SHADOW BOUND, for Arcane Productions. Most recently he was cast in a role in the feature film EVERYTHING, for Parallax Studio.

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