Chris Pine Reflects On Anton Yelchin’s Secret Illness Filming Star Trek Beyond

Anton Yelchin and Chris Pine

Before J.J. Abrams helped to kickstart the Star Wars franchise with The Force Awakens, he had his eye on another intergalactic property. Abrams brought the Star Trek series back to theaters with his trilogy of movies, starring a talented cast and plenty of lens flares. The fate of the potential fourth movie remains unclear, although the Star Trek family suffered a loss with the death of actor Anton Yelchin.

Anton Yelchin played Pavel Chekov in all three Star Trek movies, although the threequel Beyond was released after his unexpected death at the age of 27. The Star Trek cast recently assembled to celebrate the first movie's 10-year anniversary, and Chris Pine spoke to working with Yelchin. It was revealed posthumously that Yelchin suffered from cystic fibrosis, and Pine remembered a scene where he's sure the young actor was silently suffering. As he put it:

While we were shooting [Star Trek Beyond], especially towards the end, I think we could all tell that something wasn’t right with Anton. I don’t think anyone knew that he was battling the illness that he was. We had about a week of doing a pretty intense stunt, like a really grueling, physically demanding stunt. I haven’t actually thought about it until now, but looking back on it, I remember how hard it was for him to get through it. And he never complained. He didn’t use [the disease] to get out of this fight scene, which he could easily have done, obviously.

It looks like Anton Yelchin was determined to shoot all of his scenes in Star Trek Beyond. So this included silently suffering through symptoms of cystic fibrosis while shooting a weeks worth of stunt footage. It's this type of dedication that made his tenure as Pavel Chekov such a fan favorite aspect of the trilogy.

Chris Pine's comments to THR just continue to highlight the tragedy of Anton Yelchin's unexpected death. The Russian-American actor clearly had a strong work ethic, and was able to juggle his diagnosis and the long grueling hours of working on a film set. Besides not asking for assistance, Yelchin didn't even share his experience with co-stars like Pine.

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

Anton Yelchin's life is being explored through the new documentary Love, Antosha. The doc explores the actor's life and death, with both Chris Pine and J.J. Abrams among the cast who speak to their experiences with Yelchin. You can check the trailer for Love, Antosha below.

Anton Yelchin died on June 19th, 2016 at the age of 27. He was involved in a freak motor vehicle accident in his own driveway, before Star Trek Beyond made it way to theaters. It's particularly tragic that Yelchin didn't get to see the scene that Chris Pine described above, considering the hard work involved.

The fate of the Star Trek franchise is still a mystery. But if a fourth movie is finally green lit, it would mark the first installment without Anton Yelchin's character.

CinemaBlend will keep you updated on all things Star Trek. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.