Abrams Close to Casting New Chekov – Looking For Big Names For Villain and ‘Federation Captain’

The casting news is coming faster and faster these days…now from the Hollywood Reporter no less. According to trade paper, the up-and-coming  (and Russian-born) Anton Yelchin is in negotiations to play Pavel Chekov for the new Star Trek film. THR also confirms that casting is under way (in New York and London) for "Kirk, Bones, Uhura, Sulu, Scotty, the film’s villain and the Federation captain." It is not entirely clear what they mean by ‘federation captain,’ it is possible they actually mean ‘fleet captain’ which would be Chris Pike. THR reports that Abrams is expected to sign bigger-name actors for the villain and the ‘federation captain.’ roles. Yelchin is only 18, but has been working steadily since 2000, most recently with a recurring role on the Showtime drama Huff. He is starring in two feature films opening in the fall of 2007 (Charlie Bartlett and Fierce People).

The recent leaked casting sheet did not include the character of Chekov, but that seemed to be because the character actually didn’t show up on the series until the second season. One would not necessarily expect Chekov to be in a ‘prequel,’ however even if he did show up that is not necessarily violating (or should I say ‘wiolating’) canon. The Enterprise had a crew of over 400, yet you only saw a handful in each episode. Plus Star Trek II established that Chekov was indeed on board the ship at least by the time of the first season episode "Space Seed."

Youth appeal
Yelchin certainly is ready to play a ‘young Chekov,’ the actor is thirteen years younger than Walter Koenig was when he began his Trek career (although Chekov was supposed to be much than Koenig’s actual age). It is a good sign that Abrams is actually casting someone who was born in Russia, but Yelchin has lived in the US almost all his life and has no discernible accent. The young actor has an active fanbase and seems to be an up and comer. This fall he will be seen in two starring film roles. Yelchin is the title character in the comedy Charlie Bartlett coming out in October and a month later will be seen staring along with Donald Sutherland in Firece People (trailers below). Yelchin’s career trajectory and his being one of the first to be cast may be an indication that the Chekov role has some substance to it in the film. The casting of such a young popular actor may be part of the strategy to give the new Star Trek more youth appeal, something the franchise dearly needs. This of course was part of the rationale for the introduction of the Chekov character in the second season of the Original Series…so it is only fitting   

Casting time
This is the first casting story in the trades since comic con, but by no means the last. I do know that the team are in full time casting mode right now. Expect more and more stories (and rumors) to come in the next few weeks through September.

Original article: Hollywood Reporter 

Trailer for Yelchin’s upcoming "Charlie Bartlett"

Trailer for "Fierce People"

The new Chekov ? and a certain famous friend


More Yelchin:
Wiki Page
Fansite Anton Yelchin Resource

VOTE: Check your Chekov
What do you think of Yelchin as Chekov and Chekov even being in the film? vote in the latest poll…right column


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I’ll bet he does a better Russian accent than Koenig. I was actually unaware that Koenig was that old when he started on Trek.

Doesn’t really look very much like him… but then again Chekov was meant to be eye candy for the young girls that never really panned out. Maybe this’ll bring ’em in.

I’m not sure what to think about this news…However, one thing is certain: it now seems quite clear that Abrams is posturing for REALLY young actors. I must admit that in casting a high-school aged kid, Abrams reiterates just how ‘young’ he is looking to cast. 18 is a bit too young in my mind, but I guess time will tell.

I am not so sure about the need for the actors to resemble their classic counterparts. On the other hand, I think a good one to play Pike who would have some resemblence would be Ben Affleck. Likewise, I had already thought that if they have Number One in the movie, then Jennifer Garner-Affleck would be a good choice for that role, especially given her past with Abrams. An even more interesting piece of stunt casting would be to get Chloe from 24 to be Number One.

For Uhura, I think that Megalyn Echikunwoke from the 4400 (Isabelle) would be a good choice. I also love, love, love Aisha Tyler but she is a little out of the age bracket I think.

Really bad news! First, that guy doesn’t look like Chekov and second, Pavel joined the Crew in the secon season (2267).

According to the article, they are casting in New York and London. Since the British actors tend to know what they’re doing, I think that’s a good sign.

I just hope hope Kirk doesn’t wind up talking with a Brooklyn accent, like Anakin Skywalker, though!

The Brits will probably end up as either admirals, or bad guys…

Well, I think its good that they went with somewhat of an unknown. Honestly people, would you really want to see big name stars like Damon, Affleck, or any of those kinda guys as the TOS crew? It would be distracting. Unknowns are better, I think.

But I do admit, the whole idea of recasting TOS still kinda makes me uneasy. I know its gotta be done, but still….I’m glad Nimoy is in (and hopefully Shatner too but I’m guessing not) because first of all its just awesome to see him back in Trek, but it also makes me feel a bit better about the whole idea.

Re #6

“The Brits will probably end up as either admirals, or bad guys…”

How about Malcolm McDowell as an admiral who hates Kirk’s guts?

He could have a scene where he leans in close to Kirk and says, “One of these days, Kirk, you’re going to get what’s coming to you. I’m going to make sure of it!”

It would provide a nice laugh for people who remember him as Soran. Plus, he’s already played an Admiral–Admiral Tolwyn–in the Wing Commander games!

As the article states, Khan recognized Chekov in Star Trek II, so technically Chekov had to have been on the ship in the first season episode “Space Seed.”

#9 OMG, you’re right, sorry for that! But he was never shown on the Bridge, what means that he couldn’t have been the tactical officer in that time. Hope Abrams notices that fact!

Herr….’fanon’ is not ‘canon’…your opinions are not facts

I bet Checkov isn’t on the bridge in this one. He will probably be a top cadet training on the Enterprise, who catches Kirk’s eye by his performance of his duties. Kind of like Scotty’s nephew in Trek II.

I would like to see Chekov in the movie – and I think Anton Yelchin is a good choice and looks also in a way like Koenig.

I don’t know about Yelchin playing Chekov… I can’t really comment on his acting ability, having not seen any of his work, with the exception of those he had bit parts in (15 Minutes, Geppetto – ugh!), but he doesn’t really look like Chekov. I’d like the performer to have *some* similarity to their counterpart… but, whatever. If Abrams thinks Yelchin can pull it off, then I shall withhold my judgment… until I actually see the film, that is. ;)

As for Chekov’s place in the movie, I don’t recall seeing any report stating the film would only be set during the earliest part of the Enterprise’s voyage, before Chekov became navigator/tactical officer. Plus, as the report said, it was revealed in TWOK that Chekov was aboard the ship before he began working on the bridge. So those of us worrying about precious canon can relax, methinks. ;)

Great choice if they got the hair right! No curls please…

And Chekov WAS aboard the Enterprise in Season One. Otherwise, Khan wouldn’t have known him in TWOK. That’s a fact. He wasn’t shown or named. Maybe he was played by another actor in the background…but he was always aboard…great decision!

#13 “Anton Yelchin…looks also in a way like Koenig.”

Where in the world do you see that??? :P

If this film can capture 1/3rd of the spirit, feel, look, and fun of the Trek “trilogy” of II through IV, we are in good shape.

Star Trek has always gotten into a bit of trouble when the story pursues the vague nebulous high concept formulas unfortunately, since that’s the essence of Star Trek. Trek seems to excell when there is a fairly straightforward narrative and plot device.

Khan seeks vengeance.
Let’s search for Spock.
Let’s go home and save whales while we are at it.

Contrast these simple premises with-

An alien intelligence seeks it’s creator and is convinced Earth is the key.
Let’s look for God, oops, it’s really a pissy alien.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually love The Motion Picture, but you have to remember, the average moviegoer isn’t interested in high-brow stimulation but rather pissing away two hours away from work ,or the partner, or kids etc.

Having taken a look at his photos at IMDb, he does kind of resemble Koenig/Chekov… sometimes. Again, though, haven’t seen him act, so I don’t know if he has the “acting chops”, as it were, but with a little bit of hairstyling and makeup, I can see him as Chekov.

@18: Have a look at the “Fierce People” trailer. It has got a complete voice over by Yelchin. He has git Chekov’s voice. Just imagine the Russian accent and he’s simply perfect! There is something Frodo-ish about him with these curls though…


O.K. Here is a definite answer to the Chekov question- Look at the stardate of Chekov’s first appearance in `Catspaw’. It’s 3018.2. `Space Seed’ had a date of 3141.9. Chekov was already on the ship and the stardates prove it! (In addition to TWOK.) :-D

#20 Good catch, forgot all about that. Not that stardates are a reliable way to tell what happened when, but i definitely lends to the whole “Chekov was already there” thing.

Speaking of casting, has there been any information as to who the casting director is on this film? Casting has been going on for a while, so they obviously have a casting director. I’m sure it’s April Webster, who also cast Mission: Impossible III, Lost, and Alias for Abrams, but I wish there was something official.

In “Who Mourns for Adonais” Chekov says, he is 20 years old. So Yelchin would have the correct age (Walter Koenig was 30, but looked younger). Maybe they are getting younger actors because they are planning a series and a now 28 year old actor can play a 35 year old even in ten years, so aging would not be that obvious. When you look at TMP, the cast played 10 years younger (and had to be filmed by filters).

#22 Chekov said he was 22, not 20. ;)

#23 OK… My memory seems to be fading… :(

#24 No worries. It happens to the best of us. :)

…what were we talking about again?

#22 – Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. That’s my last hope that they aren’t going the “Star Trek Babies” route, but may instead be casting people who can still believably play TOS-age characters (i.e. during the 5-year mission) for several sequels, which would likely be made 2-3 years apart.

Also possible: there may be some chronological shifting in the movie (NOT time-travel, but story-wise), with parts taking place before the 5-year mission, and parts during. In that case, casting young (for some of the characters at least) may be a way to have them believably play different ages.

Anyway, I’m at least glad that actual info is starting to come out.

Big name actor for a villian????

I really liked Christopher Plummer as General Chang. He played an atypical Klingon. For me this was a refreshign change. Keeping on this parallel, someone who does theatre comes to mind is Tim Curry. Before some of you guys crap all over this suggestion, perhaps thinkig outside the box is what’s needed here. He has an off the wall charisma. Not sure if he would be “big” enough for JJ.

I also think too much of a ‘big’ might be a distraction from the movie. I wonder exactly how big JJ actually is thinking? Perhaps a villain who plays some nut case that intends on converting everyone to some religion that doesn’t use drugs during child labor, is an unscrupulous commercial enterprise that harasses its critics and victimizes its members. hmmmm

I’m sure whoever the villian is, this will be a one shot picture deal.

505 dtst

#27 I have been wanting to see Tim Curry in a Star Trek role for years. I think it would be awesome to see him in a Trek role, plus I would love to write the article for him at Memory Alpha. If Tim Curry is cast in any Trek project, I will be ecstatic.

Re-casting the whole crew at all sounds for me like a reunion of a cheap family-series. JJ shouldn’t pay attention to get that “Star Trek family-feeling” if the story of the film itself gets worse because of that!
There was a good novel that told how the crew came together, must have been written by Carey in the 80s…


Star Trek: The Wrath of Dr. Frank-N-Furter?

Tim Curry would make a good Q.

I agree I’d rather just see whats left of the original crew reminisce on the show in a TV special or something. The new film with new actors playing beloved characters we’ve grown up with might be just too ludicrous to stomach

#30 Ha! I was expecting comments like that. You’re the first to do so, congrats. ;)

This Russian actor looks alike a bit of a pansy to be honest.

btw, that last image makes me cringe to no end… any reason we needed an image of a drunk-looking Yelchin next being eyed by a bulldog?

*ignore the word “next” in that previous post (#35)

He seems ok to me, heres one out of left field. How about Tom Hanks as a Klingon for the film villian.

They’re casting Chekov a few years younger than the youngest of the others, which is about right.

Two things:

We don’t know that Chekov is on the Enterprise – he may be a cadet or assigned to another ship;

We don’t know that there’s only a single sequence on the ship taking place at a single point in time – we may see the characters early in their mission and then hop ahead to the second-season time frame.

Three points…

1. If those involved in the casting decisions…especially J.J. Abrams himself…are looking at Russian-born actors for the “Chekov” role, then I will fully expect them to cast an actual Scottish actor in the “Scotty” role too…NOT just anyone who can muster a supposed “flawless Scottish accent”…whatever that is…as there are many dialects… I know it’s called acting…but I really want the actors in this to be from the countries that their characters are meant to be from… :)

2. Please can we get away from the Brits being given juicy “villainous” roles all the time…as a Brit myself, it gets monotonous listening to “plummy-voiced” thespians as the bad guys in too many movies ( although I’ll make an exception for Alan Rickman’s turn in the original “Die Hard” )…

3. Does this imply that the ( “terrorist”?) villains may just be Klingon or Romulans then?…oh well, not my first choice of adversaries for this Movie then…

He’s friends with Paris Hilton? I hope he comes with his shots…

“Charlie Bartlett” looks interesting, the kid appears to have acting chops. Man, I have to admit it is WEIRD seeing new actors walking around in these old characters’ boots. I think I’m going to freak out internally when they announce the “new” Kirk.

Just for the record…I hope for something unfamiliar and unseen before as adversaries in this “first mission” of Kirk’s. Keep the Klingons and Romulans for the sequels if you must, but give us something NEW at this point…

Anthony–if you read Koenig’s ST-TMP book, that’s Vwiolating, thank you vwery much! Of course, STIV’s nuclear wessels works in your favor.

The new Spock works good, but I personally think it won’t if every caharcter gets recasted. I could accept one new face for one of my heros but not the whole crew + Pike + ? ! In the end it’s like Battlestar Gallactica!

Maybe they get all the original actors to speak the new ones. It would help to accept them when we’ve got something we’re familliar with…

Of course except De and James Doohan (unfortunatly)!

That dude looks like Justin (American Idol) Guarini in the above picture.

Everything was fine, including the trailers for his other movies coming out soon, until I got down to the bottom…and threw up a little in my mouth :(

Was that last picture ‘really’ necessary? At the very least, perhaps ‘infamous’?

I wonder… Chekov wasn’t on the show until the second season, but is it possible that he was some random crewman? Did he, Kirk and Scotty frequently hang out at the ship’s tavern/bar/pub??

To repeat, canon is whatever Paramount says it is. If the new movie has Chekov on the ship and on the bridge from day one, then, shazzam, he was there all along.

Paramount’s obligation is to make a movie that’s consistent with Trek tradition as viewed by normal people, not hard-core fans. If you ask normal people if Chekov was in the crew, they will say yes. They will expect to see Chekov in the new movie. If he’s not, they will leave the theater asking “Yeah, but here was Chekov?”.

Looks to me like were gonna see a movie about the crew’s first Enterprise mission, complete with Kirk bucking the brass and trying to come to terms with Spock. At some point, Spock will save Kirk’s life when it would have been logical to let him die. Big bonding moment. Nimoy will, at least, frame the movie, but he could easily be involved in a more substantial manner by having a secondary plot set in the post-Generation era. I don’t see Shatner being in it without hocus-pocus.

as much as i like TOS over the spin-offs,recasting this crew never bothered me,in fact i’m looking forward to seeing what n00bs can bring to these iconic characters.

as long as the story is good and these new actors do the characters justice,i really do look forward to 2008 :)

Canon may be what Paramount says it is, but it’s not like we’re expected to ignore stuff on screen. For example, in ST6, Valtane was alive. Due to the sheer stupidity of Brannon Braga, the character was killed off at a time when he was known to be alive, rendering the entire episode of Flashback inaccurate.

#48–As for Shatner being in it, that’s a simple matter of writing him in. I bet 10 different people can come up with 10 different scenarios, all of which are viable, doable, and can fit within canon. That’s not an issue. I won’t say more on it though here since we don’t want another Shatner thread and I don’t want to upset Anthony.

Back to the topic…Chekov can definitely be in this movie. As has been pointed out many times, there are 400 people on this ship. We don’t see them all. Having him as a lower decks character would actually be a great nod to TWOK. The character was 22 years old in Season 2. So casting a very young actor isn’t that big of a deal.