“Star Trek Beyond” opens in theaters this weekend, and while “Star Trek” fans will certainly be pleased to see their favorite characters traveling around the galaxy on another adventure, it’s not entirely a joyous occasion. “Star Trek Beyond” marks one of the very last film roles for actor Anton Yelchin, who recently died at the age of 27. Yelchin played the role of Ensign Pavel Chekov, originally played by Walter Koenig in the TV series, whose mathematical ability and quick thinking help pull the Enterprise out of close calls. Though it’s unclear what producer J.J. Abrams will do with the character in future installments of the franchise, one thing he won’t do is recast the character.
In an interview with the Postmedia Network, Abrams said that discussions have been had as to how to deal with Yelchin’s passing, but that “there’s no replacing him.” “There’s no recasting,” Abrams continues. “I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better.”
Even before Yelchin’s death, the “Star Trek Beyond” team were already dealing with tragedy when actor Leonard Nimoy, who played the iconic Spock, died when the film was in pre-production. Early reports say that both Nimoy and Yelchin are memorialized in the closing credits.
“Star Trek Beyond” opens nationwide on July 22nd.