The Star Trek reboot series is moving forward with a fourth film, but one major piece of the franchise won’t continue on: the character of Ensign Pavel Chekov, who was played by the late Anton Yelchin. Following Yelchin’s untimely death in a freak accident last month, the filmmakers don’t plan on recasting his character, said series producer J.J. Abrams in an interview with the Toronto Sun.
"I would say there’s no replacing him," said Abrams. "There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better." Yelchin played Chekov in 2009's series reboot, Star Trek, and its two sequels, 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness and the new film Star Trek Beyond.
As for how the filmmakers will handle the Chekov character going forward, Abrams said "it’s too early to talk about it." The plot of Star Trek Beyond does make note of the death of the alternate-timeline Spock, according to the Toronto Sun. Leonard Nimoy, who played an elderly Spock in Star Trek and Into Darkness, died before the filming of Beyond.
Yelchin died in June at the age of 27. He was killed when his SUV rolled backward down his driveway, crushing him against a brick pillar. The vehicle in question, a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, had been recalled for its confusing electronic gear shifter.
The fourth movie in the new Star Trek series, which Paramount Pictures announced earlier this week, will star Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk, the father of Chris Pine’s Captain James T. Kirk. Hemsworth previously played the character in the 2009 reboot. Star Trek Beyond premieres this Friday.