Moviegoers taking in Star Trek Beyond this weekend will endure a bittersweet moment as Anton Yelchin portrays Ensign Pavel Chekov one final time. Yelchin was tragically killed in an apparent accident at his home last month.
The new Trek film has been tracking well and receiving positive reviews, enough to prompt an announced fourth film in the rebooted franchise. That raises a morbid question. What of Chekov? Do they recast? Collider reports on the answer from producer J.J. Abrams:
Speaking to Postmedia Network [via The Toronto Sun], Abrams said, “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 went on to say they had not yet decided how to address the character’s absence in the next film.
The decision to not recast seems odd given the character’s role in the franchise. This would hardly be the first time an actor’s death resulted in recasting a key role. We all got over Michael Gambon taking over for Richard Harris as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise. Plus, have we forgotten that Yelchin took over the Chekov role from Walter Koenig? Does the passing of Leonard Nimoy make Zachary Quinto‘s portrayal of Spock somehow inappropriate? Perhaps distance from the tragedy will prompt reconsideration.