Between and the production of promotion of Star Trek Beyond, tragedy struck when 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin, who played the Kelvin timeline’s Pavel Checkov, passed away.
During a panel at this year’s Star Trek Las Vegas Convention, Yelchin’s co-star Karl Urban remembered the young actor.
“Anton was such a beautiful man. He is irreplaceable – irreplaceable,” Urban said (via Trek Movie).
Urban mused on how young Yelchin was when they first began working together and how filming three Star Trek movies gave him the opportunity to see the young actor grow.
“When I met Anton he was literally just a kid,” Urban recalled. “He had his mom on set on the first movie and I remember them arguing with each other in Russian with lots of hand gestures. And then through the course of the films, he got older but he was still fundamentally a kid at heart. He was the smartest guy in the room but you wouldn’t know it.”
Urban also recalled how difficult it was to continue promoting Star Trek Beyond after the incident.
“We were obviously devastated at his loss, absolutely devastated,” he said. “It was brutal. And to literally four weeks after we lost him to go out there and promote Beyond was the toughest thing we ever had to do.”
Yelchin was found dead outside his home by his friends on the morning of June 19, 2016. He had been pinned between his vehicle and a brick pillar.
Star Trek Beyond included memorial cards to both Yelchin - “For Anton” - and Star Trek: The Original Series star Leonard Nimoy - "In loving memory of Leonard Nimoy” - who also died shortly before the release of Star Trek Beyond.
Star Trek reboot series producer JJ Abrams has stated that the role of Chekov will not be recast in future films.