Anton Yelchin’s portrayal of Star Trek crew member Pavel Chekov has been one of the rebooted series’ highlights through two films. But after the actor’s tragic and untimely death in a freak car accident at the age of 27 last month, the upcoming release of Star Trek Beyond has taken on some dark overtones. Yelchin’s co-stars and contemporaries have been remembering and honoring the actor since his passing and the film is dedicated to him alongside Leonard Nimoy, the late and beloved Trek star known for his role as Spock.
Now, a month after Anton’s death, Star Trek Beyond producer JJ Abrams has revealed that the next movie in the series will not include a Chekov character because Yelchin “deserves better” than being recast. The sci-fi movie veteran told The Toronto Star,
“I would say there’s no replacing him. There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better.”
Although Abrams hasn’t confirmed whether or not Chekov will be killed off or shifted out of the film’s narrative in another way, the decision makes sense based on the tragedy that spurred it. It wouldn’t be shocking for the series to write Chekov out similar to how Paul Walker was written out of the Fast and the Furious series after his death prior to filming of the seventh installment was completed. That the next movie in the series was only just announced means that there is plenty of time for the studio and the team to make plans for how to handle this character’s departure. Yelchin will be missed in the films, but his memory and talent will live on in the work he has already put on screen as Pavel.