StarTrek.com is deeply saddened to report that Anton Yelchin, Star Trek’s current Chekov, died today, June 19, at the age of 27. The actor was killed, in a freak accident, at home in Los Angeles by his own car. Yelchin played Chekov in Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness and will be seen next month in Star Trek Beyond.
Yelchin was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and moved with his figure-skater parents, Irina and Viktor Yelchin, to the United States when he was just six months old. He was already one of Hollywood’s most-exciting young talents — a screen natural — when he signed on to play Pavel Chekov in Star Trek (2009), having logged film and television credits that included ER, Hearts in Atlantis, The Practice, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Alpha Dog, Huff and Charlie Bartlett. Since playing Chekov in the first J.J. Abrams blockbuster, he’d appeared in Terminator Salvation, The Beaver, Fright Night, Only Lovers Left Alive, Experimenter and the recently released Green Room, in which he co-starred with Patrick Stewart. In addition to Star Trek Beyond, he’d completed several projects set for release in the near future, among them We Don’t Belong Here, Porto, Rememory and Thoroughbred.
Back in 2011, StarTrek.com spoke with Yelchin about playing the young Chekov and the the likelihood that he’d be playing Chekov over the course of several films. Asked if he felt his version of Chekov served as a bridge to Walter Koenig’s, Yelchin replied, “I don’t know if it builds to Walter’s Chekov, that if we make more films then suddenly it’ll totally become that guy. I just think that I tried to capture as close as possible all of the great qualities that Walter brought to his Chekov. So I hope there’s a continuity. I don’t know if it’s necessarily an evolution, but I hope there’s a continuity where you can say, ‘Oh, yeah, I buy that person being that age.’”
John Cho, Star Trek’s current Sulu, was among the first to comment on his friend and colleague’s passing. He tweeted, “I loved Anton Yelchin so much. He was a true artist – curious, beautiful, courageous. He was a great pal and a great son. I’m in ruins.” Paramount Pictures released the following statement: “All of us at Paramount join the world in morning the untimely passing of Anton Yelchin. As a member of the Star Trek family, he was beloved by so many and he will missed by all. We share our deepest condolences with his mother, father and family.”