One of the biggest questions since last month’s tragic death of 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin has finally been answered. At least partially.
J.J. Abrams, who directed Yelchin as Pavel Chekov in the first two Star Trek movies in the reboot era and continues to serve as a producer in the franchise, told the Toronto Sun that he will not cast someone else to play the iconic role.
“I would say there’s no replacing him,” Abrams said. “There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better.”
Yelchin died June 19 after his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled in his driveway and pinned him to a security gate. He already had finished filming “Star Trek: Beyond,” and soon after family, friends and fans mourned the passing of the young actor.
While “Beyond” is packaged, sealed and ready to go, Abrams does have to consider how Yelchin’s absence will be dealt with in a planned fourth film in the franchise. Chekov, one of the primary bridge characters in the original “Star Trek” and its subsequent movies, is a tricky role to handle. But the universe is new, which does provide Abrams some flexibility. However, he’s still pondering how to move forward without Yelchin.
“I have thought about it,” Abrams said. “We’re working on it, and it’s too early to talk about it.”
Some fans who have watched early screenings of “Beyond” have mentioned a dedication at the end of the film for both Yelchin and Leonard Nimoy, who appeared in the first two reboot films before passing away in February 2015.
“Star Trek: Beyond” debuts July 22.