Yelchin: Chekov Is No Kirk Or Spock

Anton Yelchin continues to do the rounds promoting the film Charlie Bartlett, opening this weekend. In a new interview with the Toronto Sun, the young actor goes into depth on his starring role as Bartlett and contrasts it with his very much supporting role as Pavel Chekov. The young Russian-born Yelchin says that he will be honoring Koenig’s classic accent, but also noted that Chekov is not exactly the center of attention. He also confirmed a certain plot point.

Yelchin on Chekov’s accent:

It was fun to take things from the old character and bring them to the new one. Words like ‘wessels … wery strange … Wulcan,’ stuff like that was fun. Everything in the film is as much its own thing as it is very respectful of the original.

Yelchin puts his role into perspective:

It’s like all the other movies, Chekov is there on the ship and in a couple of important scenes, but it’s not like he’s Kirk or Spock

Yelchin finished his scenes on the bridge in January and will be back in March to shoot another scene, but again Pavel is the odd man out. Yelchin reveals:

There is an away team, but Chekov’s not on it



When pointing out that playing a supporting role isn’t as challenging as being the lead (as he is in Charlie Bartlett), Yelchin also confirmed what is becoming clearer and clearer about the new Star Trek:

There’s only so many layers you can find to Pavel Chekov. But at the same time, it is fun to sit on the bridge of a spaceship screaming about Romulans

The last time Yelchin talked about what he was ‘seeing’ on the green screens he said it was Klingons. Of course as some one who was not a fan before he started on Star Trek he may get them confused, however has confirmed with sources that both Romulans and Klingons are in the film so Chekov may be seeing all sorts of ‘wessels.’

Charlie Bartlett, starring Anton Yelchin opens in the US on February 22nd. More info at IMDB, Trailer below.


More from Yelchin at The Toronto Sun

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How could he be in the away team? Isn´t he just a trainee?

#1: That’s why he is NOT in the away team.

Yeah! Space battle!

Sounds logical.

Perhaps Pavel Chekov is a Cadet in this movie – and aboard the Enterprise as part of his field-training for his last year at the academy.

If that`s the fact I`m looking forward seeing the new cadet-uniforms they`re coming up with.

Oh boy, just wait until the Canon enthusiasts hear about this one! I’m getting an itch now, and the only way to scratch is with more Star Trek!

Oops, just realized it, they didn’t actually *see* the romulans themselves, but certainly may have encountered their “wessels” especially after the Romulan war. Okay, my apologies. Cool none the less. Thanks ANthony

God just once, i’d like him to say it. “NUCLEAR Wwwwessels”

Maybe he is the midget??

But seriously, I have a feeling that Chekov might be the ‘Wesley Crusher’ of this movie.

THAT little Kid is Gonna be Chekov?

M-BETA give the kid a chance , for one, and for two, don’t blame Wes Crusher’s poor reputation on TNG on Wil Wheaton, instead blast your torpedoes at the writers . Wil Wheaton is an awesome guy to meet in person , and he is a funny writer too. Don’t buy it? Fine check out his blog for yourself then and try not to laugh.

I’m wery wery glad he’s keeping that accent.

#10 Wow… what a reaction…. I don’t think anyone has anything against Yelchin to play Chekov.

It would have been a greater travesty to have left Chekov out of the Star Trek movie.

#10 Fleet Captain Kor’Tar – You really misunderstood.

I liked the Wesley character. I also would like the fact that Chekov could be portrayed in the same vein. A young smart cadet that people would at first underestimate until he saves there lives.

I didn’t say anything negative in my older post, and I certainly didn’t have a go at Wil Wheaton. Don’t be so touchy and defensive. There was no attack.

Away team? Kirk’s era called it a ‘landing party’. Another sign canon has been tossed in the dumpster.

Chekov might be no Kirk or Spock, but that Yelchin guy definitely does a lot more talking than that Pine guy who’s obviously lost his voice for good, and I think Yelchin’s even getting ahead of that Quinto guy who seems to suffer from some sort of aglossia recently. Maybe Quinto’s rebuilding and let’s Yelchin do the babbling in the interval.

If only he knew the difference between Klingons and Romulans…

Romulans?Pre “Balance of Terror”? Uh oh.

#14-On that point, I agree. It’s a landing party, PLEASE!!!

A space battle? Klingons? Romulans? These are spoilers? If the movie were being made in a hermetically sealed lockbox, these would still be givens!

Beards ears and eyebrows!!

No. 14
Please tell me that was sarcasm.

I’d love to say I loved Koenig’s accent…well…he tried :D
He tried hard and you’ve got to love him for that. As about the size of the part I’m not surprised at all, just glad to have him there, the ol’ Russian. Well and this Yelchin boy is a cutie, isn’t he?

#14…”Away team? Kirk’s era called it a ‘landing party’”

Even Enterprise had the smarts to call the group a “landing party”. I can’t imagine they would put those 24th century words in the mouths of 23rd century exploreres. That particluar term takes me right out of the 23rd century state of mind and plops me right down in the counselor’s seat right next to Picard. Engage? Sure. Pike said it, so that’s cool. But I hope they left “away team” where it belongs.

With Kirk around, every away team mission was a landing party.

But really, I would prefer not to hear that term outside the NG era. However, that’s just the guy talking, doesn’t mean it’s used in the script.

Sounds like Chekov gets to scream some more.

I know he’s new to all this and he’s trying to be respectful of things and not ruffle feathers but I’d actually like to see some development to Chekov’s character. Always thought, along with Scotty, that it was a much undeveloped character.

“Away team…” Kirk never called it an “away team…” Or anyone else from TOS for that matter.

Try “LANDING PARTY.” Crummy TNG references… ugh

Sounds a little like Yelchin is less than pleased with his lack of attention in the ST movie.

#23 – my thoughts exactly. In keeping with tradition, it’s time for Chekov to get a plasma burn, be bitten by a rabid tribble, or have the turbolift doors close on his foot (while in transit).

#25 HAHA!

I wonder if Levar Burton had anything to do with changing Landing Party to Away Team.

Remember this?

How is it a “Landing Party” if they’re not landing anything on the planet.

And…get ready folks…if Romulans are going back in time to destroy the Federation….very likely our crew will encounter a Romulan ship. That’s right…BEFORE Balance of Terror.

That way, Checkov can scream…”Romulan wessels! My precious canon! Dear God! My precious canon! It burns. It burns. Arrrrrrrggggghhhh!”

#22 jonboc

Absolutely agree with you and others on this point. It’s details like this that will show whether the makers really care about the TOS era ‘feel’ in this. Hopefully it was just a general term, although used in TNG, that has been casually said by Anton.

Is it just me or have things gone a little (predictably) quiet since the release date was put back?

I wonder if we would have seen the ship or the crew in uniform by now if things were still on track?

If they call it “Away Team” that is another strike against.

Cringed the first time I heard the term and each time since.

Putting Chekov in the movie is another blunder.

In Abrams’ universe, it’s called “away team”. It means they stay away from the original as far as possible.

Good point. I’m not saying they must be slaves to canon, but the first Romulan encounter is a crucial event and can’t be just explained away or even ignored. Furthermore, “Balance of Terror” is one of the best and most significant eps and in not sticking to the events shown there they would only demonstrate that they don’t respect the original. Thus, IMO Romulans in STXI could be set into the film’s frame only by means of alternative timelines; and that exactly would be the advantage of different timelines and alternate universes – to be able to introduce events to the big pattern without violating established and well-known ken.

I tend to think that perhaps at least ONE of the references to Klingons/Romulans may have been from a scene during Kirk’s Kobayashi Maru test. A simulation.

Just because he SEES the Wessels doesn’t mean they’re real ones :)

#16, #33 –

It’s already been established that the new TREK film will hit all sorts of different timelines and jumping back-and-forth with flashbacks and all…

How do we know that the Romulan scenes are PRE-“Balance of Terror?” Perhaps there are scenes set around the first voyage of the Kirk/Spock crew, coupled with a storyline that happens a few months AFTER “BOT.” The Romulan arc is the NOW part of the film, whereas the Academy/first voyage scenes are the flashbacks.


“I was never dat young.”
“No… You were YOUNGER.”

#35 SPB

My head is ALREADY hurting at the way this may turn out to be ‘structured’…

Canon?? What’s that?

Canon makes good digicams…..

#15: “If only he knew the difference between Klingons and Romulans…”

Who cares? It’s not important.

As for “Away team,” it wouldn’t hurt them to put in a few references to the popular TNG. Enough people actually watched *that* show so that it wasn’t cancelled early. ;)

It was never established that Romulan vessels had remained unseen before BOT, just the Roms themselves. The Feds and the Roms fought a war, after all.

#40… VERY good point! Some act as if Roms had never been HEARD OF before BOT. But they simply had never been seen in person.

Two thoughts…

1) ENT actually did slip up a couple of times and refer to Away Teams. They usually avoided it, but it was a visible artifact of the syndrome of how the writers often defaulted to latter-era thinking when they got rushed or tired and fell back on what they were conditioned to.

2) If Yelchin spent a lot of time watching various Trek series while getting ready for the role, he might just have called it an Away Team for much of the same reason as my first point: he may have gotten used to the term from watching TNG et al., rather than it being written that way in the script.


…but that’s the ONE thing that always bothered me about “Balance of Terror”… the Federation fought a whole WAR with the Romulans for YEARS and never once got a good look at them??? It seems that whole idea was thought up simply so they could build up to the Big Reveal in the episode where–*gasp!*–the Romulans look JUST LIKE SPOCK!

In hindsight, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and they kind of wrote themselves into a corner with that one. That’s why a whole movie and/or TV series built around the Romulan/Federation war would be a dud… you would NEED to have some sort of face-to-face conflict in there somewhere. If it’s just a bunch of ships shooting at each other, it would get old VERY quickly.

Did he really say “away team”? In TOS it was called “landing party”…

What scares me this young man, from previous interviews, isn’t a big fan. Hell, he’s a teenager who probably hasn’t given Trek much though in his life. If that is the case, then the terms he uses are probably derived directly from the script and his experiences on the movie.

If this is the case, then we will likely see the term “away team” and the infusion of 24th century “terminology” into the radically different TOS era will be like washing down my sweet delicous milk duds with fish oil. Yuck.


brilliant- this explains why Khan knew him in tha second film… If Checkov was aboard Enterprise since he was an embryo then, hey yarrr, sure he met good ol’ Khannie…

and fur the young actor, well don’t be harsh… fur him Romulans=Klingons and Away Team=Landing Party… not all of us have had time alone at sea to explore the details of Trek… including identifying entire races properly…

Avast ye, Away Team!

1. GermanTrekker – February 21, 2008

How could he be in the away team? Isn´t he just a trainee?
2. Jan – February 21, 2008

#1: That’s why he is NOT in the away team.

If he’d been on the away team, you can bet dollars to donuts he’d have died in some horrible fashion. Probably that’s why we always saw Chekov in a gold “command” shirt. He knew better!

#1, #2–He may be a “trainee” or cadet for PART of the story.

#16–It is not necessarily a scenario prior to “Balance Of Terror”. Why is it that some believe everything is set before WNMHGB, when it is clear that the story moves around within the timeline (and possibly in an alternate one)?

#33–Much of the “canon” in that episode has already been disregarded. For example, instead of Romulans painting “giant birds of prey” on their ships, we ended up with Klingons doing it instead. We also discover that Earth/Federation ships are NOT in fact deploying atomic weapons and maneuvering at sublight speeds 100 years prior to TOS. “Balance Of Terror” is a great episode (a “Das Boot” in space, if you will), but its dialogue has never held up as “canon”. Why does it now, all of a sudden, need to be in order for you to feel that the new team is” respectful of the original”? I do not understand the logic behind your conclusion. If this is disrespectful, then so is the existence of Klingon Birds Of Prey (not the ship design, but the painted markings) and Zephram Cochrane’s warp flight.

#35–Glad I’m not the only one who caught that.

#43–“In hindsight, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and they kind of wrote themselves into a corner with that one.”

They did. However, there are “canon” elements established throughout the first half of the initial season of TOS which are disregarded later in the series and films. If Orci, Kurtzman, and Abrams were to disregard some more of the “canon” in TOS, “Balance Of Terror”—why would it be any different? Sometimes I feel like Abrams and co. are being held to a standard which even the legendary TOS writers failed to live up to.

Wow, we have people picking apart over whether he said “Landing Party” or “Away Team” in the interview. Great.

# 43 – Wasn’t that what “The Wrath of Khan” basically was? Other than the brief view scene, Kirk and Khan had no face to face contact at all. It depends on how it’s executed if it’s done right or not.