When the fourth Star Trek film arrives in theaters, it will do so without Pavel Chekov.
Speaking to the Toronto Sun, producer J.J. Abrams said there were no plans to find a new Chekov following the death of Anton Yelchin, who played the character in three Trek films, including this week’s Star Trek Beyond.
“I would say there’s no replacing him. There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better,” Abrams said.
Yelchin died in June after being crushed by his car in front of his home. Abrams, who directed the first two Star Trek films, called the actor “our little brother” in a tribute to Yelchin shortly after his death. “But only by years,” he added. “He was as wise and clever and intellectually curious as anyone we ever knew. His laugh was preposterous — you couldn’t hear it and not laugh yourself. He was funny, edgy, wild and talented beyond measure. His focus and dedication was admirable, as was his love of family, friends, literature and music.”
In the weeks since his death, the Star Trek Beyond cast has used the film’s press tour to honor Yelchin’s memory. “He’s an irreplaceable person, and the kindest person. He loved what he did,” costar Zoe Saldana told Stephen Colbert this week on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. “I’m here today, and the rest of the cast and J.J. [Abrams] and Justin [Lin], we’re here promoting the movie mainly for him, because he would have wanted that.”
Star Trek 4 does not yet have a release date, but Paramount announced this week that the film would bring the original film’s cast back together with Chris Hemsworth, who played George Kirk in the 2009 Trek film, but was killed off in the opening minutes.