In 2009, J. J. Abrams and a crew of talented actors relaunched the Star Trek franchise with a vengeance, wowing fans with sumptuous special effects, fast-paced action and reimaginations of the Original Series characters that left fans wondering if the two casts had some kind of mental link. Bravely, the film dealt with the destruction of Vulcan, forcing Spock to deal with more emotion in this alternate universe than he had ever faced before. Among that cast was Anton Yelchin, a young Russian-born actor who stepped into the shoes of Pavel Chekov, the Enterprise’s jack of all trades. Even though his time in the limelight in the 2009 film was short, it was so memorable that he was given much more of a chance to shine in the sequel, Into Darkness, and there’s no doubt that he will be just as well loved in the upcoming Star Trek: Beyond.
Incomprehensibly, it will be one of his final films. At just 27, he was tragically crushed by his own car in a freak accident at his home in LA.
The Star Trek community has responded by paying him tribute. This is a man whose star was very much on the rise – not only did he have Chekov down to a tee, he had also taken one of the leading roles across the breadth of film and television, from a lead role in Terminator Salvation to providing the voice for Clumsy Smurf.
Here at Ongoing Worlds, we think that Anton deserves to be remembered for the amazing energy and enthusiasm that immediately sold him as Ensign Chekov. Join us as we look back over his top 5 moments in the role.
5. “Chekov, You Have the Conn”
Sure, he’s an ensign, but he’s also a wunderkind, so he’s got this, right? Right, Pavel?
Chekov: Aaaaay ay ay…
4. Heroic Rescue
The ship is losing altitude. We’re being given a lesson in why the movie’s tech department should not have designed the Enterprise with such high ceilings and why curved corridors are a good idea. Kirk and Scotty’s number is up – they’re dangling from a gantry railing, Kirk holding onto Scotty with one hand and the gantry with another, grip slowly giving out. His fingers inevitably slip from the railing, and they plummet to their…
…no, they don’t! Whose is that hand? Why, Chekov’s, of course!
3. “I Can Do That! I Can Do That!”
Kirk and Sulu falling to their deaths in Vulcan’s atmosphere? Surely it’s curtains for our intrepid captain and his fabulous navigator? Not if Chekov can narrowly make it to the transporter controls in time! Get that man some Romulan Ale!
2. “Wictor, Wictor…”
We all (hopefully) know that Russians don’t switch their ‘V’s and ‘W’s, but hey – Walter Koenig did it with the original Chekov, so it had to live on in Anton Yelchin’s take on the character. Sadly, it did mean he had to repeat his access code to a dumbfounded computer, struggling to pronounce ‘Vweektor’ in a way that it could understand!
We were then treated to a report where as many word with ‘v’s in them were squeezed into strategic locations as possible. But it was fine – the crew understood that they need to ewacuate Wulcan…
1. “Go Put On A Red Shirt”
No lines needed to be delivered in this one. The look on Chekov’s face gave us all a beautiful fourth wall moment that showed us he was thinking the same thing we were…
Anton Yelchin, you will be missed, but always remembered.
This article was written for OngoingWorlds by Diego Herrera from Outpost Eden