JJ Abrams, who directed the first two films in the rebooted Star Trek franchise and serves as producer on Star Trek Beyond, has said there are no plans to recast the role of Chekov following the death of actor Anton Yelchin.
Yelchin died in freak accident last month aged 27 after being run over by his own car.
The Russian actor shot to stardom with several blockbuster films in recent years – including crime thriller Alpha Dog and the teen comedy Charlie Bartlett.
Yelchin appears as Ensign Pavel Chekov in new film Star Trek Beyond – which opens in cinemas across the UK on Friday (July 22) – and Abrams has said the character won’t return portrayed by another actor and that he has thought about killing off Chekov in a future film.
“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 said.
He continued: “I have thought about it [killing off the character], we’re working on it, and it’s too early to talk about it.”
It was recently confirmed that Star Trek Beyond will be followed by a fourth film in the current franchise.
An only child, Yelchin was born in Russia and moved to the USA as a baby with his parents, who were both professional figure skaters.
At the time of his death, he was currently working on a number of projects, including an upcoming Stephen King adaptation called Mr Mercedes.
Speaking about Yelchin’s death, Abrams said recently, “The only thing I can really say about the Anton loss is we knew it was going to be heartbreaking going into this movie on one level because of Leonard (Nimoy, who died in 2015).
“We had no idea it was going to be as devastating as it turned out to be also with the loss of Anton. Because it is so unspeakably sad and insane and wrong that he is gone, I think that the way he is honoured at the end of the movie, which is so simple and so small, it literally feels like the perfect way. Because there are no words, there’s no process that any of us have found to understand this.
“It just feels like it’s a bit of a grace note. It felt appropriate. That kid was special and it really is impossible that he’s not here.”