Anton Yelchin had a long career in Hollywood that went back to his days as a child actor, but he shot to international stardom by playing Chekov in J.J. Abrams’ successful 2009 reboot of Star Trek. Yelchin died Sunday morning in a car crash. He was only 27.
Pavel Chekov is the U.S.S. Enterprise’s navigator, sitting next to Sulu. The role was first played by Walter Koenig in the original Star Trek series and subsequent movies starring the original crew. Since the character’s Russian accent was used as a joke to great effect in Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home, Abrams and Yelchin paid homage in 2009. The Enterprise’s computer couldn’t quite pick up the word “Victor” from Chekov.
Yelchin played the role again in Abrams’ 2012 follow-up Star Trek Into Darkness, which found the Enterprise team against Khan, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Below is an interview from before Into Darkness‘ release.
Yelchin just finished work on Star Trek Beyond, which has Justin Lin sitting in the director’s chair. Paramount will release the film on July 22. Abrams, who is a producer on Beyond, posted a handwritten note on Twitter.
“All of us at Paramount join the world in morning the untimely passing of Antony Yelchin. As a member of the Star Trek family, he was beloved by so many and he will [be] missed by all. We share our deepest condolences with his mother, father and family,” Paramount said in a statement.