Just weeks before Star Trek Beyond was set to debut in theaters this weekend, a horrible freak accident left star Anton Yelchin dead. In the wake that followed, Paramount Pictures decided to keep the star's character Ensign Pavel Chekov out of any new marketing materials, including the TV spots and banners. The movie does pay loving respect to both Yelchin and iconic Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy in the end credits. But it isn't known how the franchise will move forward without Anton Yelchin just yet.
The PostMedia Network caught up with producer J.J. Abrams, and asked the difficult question about what will happen to the character of Chekov. Abrams made it very clear that Paramount Pictures and the team behind the recently announced Star Trek 4 will not recast Anton Yelchin's character. Though, they are not sure how they will move forward without the actor.
The producer says that his team is still weighing their options. Abrams claims it is just too early to make a final decision on whether or not they want to kill off the iconic, beloved Star Trek character that was first introduced in the 1960s TV show, or if there will be a backstory explaining his absence. When it came to Universal's Fast and Furious franchise, the team behind those movies felt it was too disrespectful to kill off Paul Walker's Brian O'Connor and let that character literally ride off into the sunset. Abrams says this.
"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 goes onto admit that killing Chekov off is still a definite possibility. But it's a hard aspect to approach with sensitivity. He explains this.
"I have thought about it, we're working on it, and it's too early to talk about it.
Leonard Nimoy was supposed to appear in Star Trek 3, but he passed during the pre-production period of the movie. He was ultimately written out of the script before it started shooting. Says Abrams about handling the situation surrounding Nimoy.
"We knew going into this movie it would be a bit of a heartbreak just because of Leonard. We had no idea just how devastating events would become."
The end credits are first to acknowledge the passing of old Spock with, 'In Loving Memory of Leonard Nimoy'. This is followed by the words, 'For Anton'. Yelchin had completely finished shooting Star Trek Beyond before his accident. He also has a number of other completed movies coming in the next two years that are awaiting release dates. These include Rememory, We Don't Belong Here, Porto, and Thoroughbred.