Star Trek producer J.J. Abrams is adamant Anton Yelchin's role in the sci-fi franchise won't be recast.
The 27-year-old actor, who played Pavel Chekov in the movie reboot of the franchise, died in a freak car accident in June (16), a month before the third installment, Star Trek Beyond, was due to be released in cinemas.
J.J., who directed Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness and serves as producer on the third flick, has revealed the team behind the movies have already began talking about how to tackle the loss for Star Trek 4 but they're determined not to recast Chekov out of respect to Anton.
“I would say there’s no replacing him,” he told Postmedia Network. “There’s no re-casting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better.”
He wouldn't reveal how Chekov would be written out of the script, adding that the team haven't decided if he will be killed off. He said, “I have thought about it, we’re working on it, and it’s too early to talk about.”
During the interview, J.J. also said everyone knew the Star Trek Beyond shoot would "be a bit of a heartbreak" because of the death of actor Leonard Nimoy, who originally played the character of Spock in the 1960s TV series and reprised the role for two of the reboot films.
"We had no idea just how devastating events would become," the producer admitted, referencing Anton's shock death.
Co-writer and actor Simon Pegg recently revealed he had written a tribute to Leonard, who died in 2015, into Star Trek Beyond, and director Justin Lin re-edited the movie's final moment as tribute to Anton.
The fourth installment was recently announced and castmembers including Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, and Simon are set to return, while Chris Hemsworth will reprise his role of Captain Kirk's father from 2009's Star Trek.