Zoe Saldana Recalls Anton Yelchin Being ‘Nervous’ To Do Star Trek Justice

Star Trek Chekov checking calculations on a board

A decade ago this week, Star Trek brought the legendary sci-fi franchise that Gene Roddenberry created for audiences in the ‘60s into a more modern context. And the cast and crew involved knew just how daunting a task that was, especially the actor playing the young version of Ensign Pavel Chekov, the late Anton Yelchin.

Anton Yelchin’s thoughts were conveyed by fellow Star Trek co-star Zoe Saldana in a new documentary entitled Love, Antonsha, which reflects on the untimely passing of Yelchin, and the legacy his brief, but luminous career has left behind. Saldana recalled the young man’s bout of nerves as follows:

He was so aware about the importance of Star Trek and the message that Star Trek had. He understood why it managed to live for such a long time, and he was nervous about being a part of it and giving it that justice.

When the character of Pavel Chekov was initially created, it was in the name of the brand of sci-fi optimism that Gene Roddenberry and his Star Trek brand were always meant to uphold. So obviously, rebooting such a staple of pop culture in the present day is a task that has to be handled very carefully.

This was especially true with Chekov, a Russian member of the multi-ethnicity crew of the USS Enterprise that signaled not only would the Cold War raging in reality eventually end, but that Russia would have a place on the greater world stage in the future. While that prophecy would be fulfilled, Anton Yelchin obviously still felt the weight of keeping this character true to his roots when making Star Trek with J.J. Abrams.

Anton Yelchin’s fears about doing justice to Ensign Chekov is just one of the many stories populating Love Antonsha, which the projects director, Garret Price, apparently didn’t have a hard time gathering. While talking to EW about the projects’ status, as well as sharing the clip of Zoe Saldana recounting her co-star with this beautiful story, Price mentioned that about 60 different A-listers had contributed in some way or another to this collection of memories. And the best part was they didn’t need to be convinced all that hard to say yes.

It’s not difficult to see why Anton Yelchin is so fondly remembered, and that extends even to the Star Trek franchise itself. While he was able to make the first three films in the modern reboot series, there’s still a bit of a discussion as to how his role will be filled, should Star Trek 4 move forward.

A fourth film is a rather questionable prospect at this time, but should any movement be made, it’s safe to assume that J.J. Abrams’ previous remarks about how both Anton Yelchin and Chekov are irreplaceable in the Star Trek universe will inform the decision that pertains to the helm of the Enterprise in its continuing mission.

Love Antonsha will be released into theaters at some point this summer. As soon as we have more information as to when to expect that film, we’ll report back, as well as update our 2019 release schedule accordingly.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.