Zoe Saldana: ‘Star Trek’ Cast “Excited” To Reunite For Fourth Movie; Says It Would Honor Anton Yelchin

Two weeks ago, Paramount announced they were moving forward with a fourth film set in the Kelvin Universe, reuniting the cast of the 2009 Star Trek film. Later, it was reported that the announcement took the cast by surprise. Now one of the actors is talking about how the movie could honor the late Anton Yelchin.

Zoe Saldana talks fourth Star Trek movie and Anton Yelchin

The announcement may have come as a surprise to the Star Trek cast, but according to Zoe Saldana (Uhura), they are looking forward to getting back together for a fourth movie. Entertainment Tonight caught up with the actress on the red carpet for her new movie The Adam Project, where she talked about how the cast feels about reuniting: 

We’re excited. Obviously, it’s bittersweet because we are coming together for a fourth time and one of us is no longer with us… with Anton’s passing. But we honestly feel that going back and keeping the Star Trek family together is a way to really keep him alive in our thoughts and our hearts. Because he was such a fan, and he was such a devoted artist to the craft and also to Star Trek. So it would be great to go back to work and get to be together with again.

Here’s the video:

Yelchin passed away in 2016 in a tragic accident shortly before the release of Star Trek Beyond. A fourth film with the Kelvin cast would be the first one without him as Pavel Chekov. Producer J.J. Abrams has previously said “there’s no replacing him” when it comes to the idea of recasting the character, so there won’t be a new actor in the role. It remains to be seen how the Chekov’s absence would be handled.

Behind the scenes on Star Trek Beyond with Anton Yelchin and John Cho

During the Paramount Investor Day presentation two weeks ago, Abrams said of the project:

We are thrilled to say that we are hard at work on a new ‘Star Trek’ film that will be shooting by the end of the year that will be featuring our original cast and some new characters that I think are going to be really fun and exciting and help take ‘Star Trek’ into areas that you’ve just never seen before. We’re thrilled about this film, we have a bunch of other stories that we’re talking about that we think will be really exciting, so can’t wait for you to see what we’re cooking up. But until then, live long and prosper.

The film is set to be directed by WandaVision‘s Matt Shakman. The latest draft of the script is written by Josh Friedman (Avatar 2) and Cameron Squires (WandaVision), based on an earlier draft by Lindsey Beer (Sierra Burgess Is a Loser) and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Captain Marvel).

If the project moves forward, Paramount is hoping to start production this fall. They have set a release date of December 22, 2023.

Find more news and analysis on upcoming Star Trek feature films.

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I am glad Yelchin won’t be recast though I hope there is an in universe explanation for his absence, as opposed to his simply no longer being there.

Just mention that Chekov has been reassigned to the new Uss Reliant.

Why? They will probably say that he died saving the ship and morn his loss.

I’m guessing Chekov is first officer on the Reliant by this point. Hopefully the crew will have graduated to their maroon TWOK uniforms.

But leave Khan out of it! I mean seriously. Just leave him alone.

Long way from Ensign to Commander in five or six years…

not in the Kelvin universe :)

Really? Cause Kirk kinda went from Cadet to Captain in like 5 min.

I was hoping they’d put that stupidity behind them. Foolish me! :-)

There is no reason to believe that he’ll follow the same path as Prime Chekov. He could have been killed on a away mission or got married and moved to Risa…….could be anything.

Actually, they could discover that John Harrison wasn’t really Khan after all. He was just John Harrison, a British scientist, pretending to be Khan, and Into Darkness is instantly a better movie.

Except… Why would he pretend that? And how would he get the strength and skills? Would he decide to be a comic book villain and test his new drug on himself?

My personal decision would be to recast him. But writing him off the ship for some reason would work too and do understand why that might be the preferred method.

I don’t see the need to replace Chekhov either. And frankly there has been so much time between the last film and considering how fast people get promoted in that universe, he’s probably a Fleet Admiral by now. ;)

But if this movie really does pull off a miracle and actually gets made, the one thing I always wanted to see in the next one was Spock and Uhura married…and with babies! That just seems like the next logical step, right? And they probably been together about 8-10 years at this point, it’s time to make Uhura an honest woman Spock!

Maybe the movie can start with their wedding and Kirk marries them! Just too bad Burnham can’t be…dammit, wrong timeline again!

I agree that it would be great if they evolved the Spock-Uhura relationship and just didn’t drop it out of fear. It’s obviously one of the things, like the destruction of Vulcan, that distinguishes the Kelvin films from the rest of Star Trek. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t take the relationship further if it’s written well.

I’d also like to see them bring back Alice Eve as Carol Marcus. I’m a bit dissapointed that they dropped that relationship from the last film, although I understand why they did. It would be nice if, for instance, Kirk reconnects with Carol and finds he’s now a father. That might be a source of good drama.

One other element that’s similar that I wish they had explored in TOS or its films is from McCoy’s backstory. We know now that McCoy was married and is divorced. However, in the TOS writer’s bible they also said he had a daughter who was originally supposed to be in “The Way to Eden” and be a love interest for Kirk, which would have caused tension with McCoy, one of his two best friends.

It’d be cool if they had a daughter for McCoy in the Kelvin films.

In any case, I really hope the film is great. I really loved all three of the Abrams films (though of course I have quibbles and some things I wish they’d changed). Beyond in particular was so much better than its box office. My wife said that she thought it was far better than The Force Awakens. I hope this next film is great too!

Exactly! What’s the point of having a relationship if it’s not going to grow? And I think the one cool thing in Star Trek is that every show actually had a couple who eventually got married: Tom/B’Elanna, Dax/Worf, Sisko/Kassidy and obviously the most famous non-couple couple Riker/Troi. Add one more to the list!

Of course they can break up or moved on but I think that would disappoint their fans more than anything (at least the ones who like the relationship) by this point. I was also disappointed Carol didn’t come back in Beyond either. I was hoping she just became part of the crew and you saw her and Kirk form a relationship in the next film. Could still happen I guess, so we’ll see.

I actually heard for the first time Bones had a daughter from someone on this site. But I had no idea was suppose to hook up with Kirk. Man how old is Bones suppose to be lol.

The writers guide puts the two characters at 11 years apart in age. Interestingly, the two actors are both 11 years apart as well! Regarding Kirk falling for McCoy’s daughter… You do the math. It’s probably a good idea to NOT pursue that storyline….

Burnham is likely actually serving her sentence for mutiny in this universe. Are Spock and Sybok not speaking in this universe, either?

That is kind of interesting actually…….with the Nero thing, would any of the Klingon stuff even happened? Where is Burnham them?? She may never had be orphaned in the first place and never been Spock’s sister at all in the Kelvin……….

Actually, after recently watching the first season of Discovery, I wonder if there was even a Federation-Klingon War. Wasn’t the Kelvin destroyed years before the Klingon attack that killed Burnham’s parents?

After that point, the timelines diverge. Initially, for ST 2009, Nero and his crew were captured by the Klingons before escaping after 20+ years. That, of course, was cut from the final release of the film, for time and pacing reasons, but it’s a good explanation of what Nero was up to in that over 20 year span. The only thing that’s left in the film is a reference to Klingon ships being attacked by Nero’s ship. IMO, they should have kept this in, since it’s a better explanation than just having Nero waiting around for Spock Prime.

Anyway, what I’m saying is this: An early encounter with Nero after the battle with the Kelvin may have impacted the events leading up to Kvuma (or whatever his name was) attempts to ressurect the Klingon Empire by starting a war with the Federation.

If there was no encounter, as was implied by the theatrical cut of ST 2009, then it all becomes more iffy.

On another note, I think it’s high time the Okudas got to work again on a new edition of the ST Encyclopedia and Chronology. The last one had material up to ST 2009. Now we have 2 more films and 4 new series that need to be documented and, hopefully, with gaps patched.

LOL I didn’t think about that at all. But as Rocketscientist stated, I don’t think there was ever a Klingon war in this universe. That would basically erase the entire point of STID since Admiral Marcus issue was fear of one happening.

As for Sybok, we saw Spock starting as a kid to a full grown adult in this universe too, Sybok was never even hinted there either. I think we’ll learn in season 2 of Picard that in order to save existence itself, they had to wipe Sybok from every known universe and why no one remembers him. Canon saved.

I’m betting it’s only a matter of time before Lower Decks has fun with the Sybok thing.

Good grief, Star Trek V was bad. By comparison, it makes Nemesis look like an Oscar winning film.

Though TOS is my favorite show of all time, I’m afraid I agree with you, One Lion.

TFF was a huge letdown.

TNG’s GEN, INS, and NEM weren’t nearly as bad.

TFF is at the bottom and I think Shatner bears all the blame for that.

That said, I’ll take TFF anyday over Shoemaker’s Batman and Robin or Campbell’s Green Lantern. Those were worse for me.

Great post — I agree with all of it!

You need to read up on all the issues Shatner faced making that movie.

It’s probably best for the KU to completely ignore Burnahm and all of them.

Say what you will but I am super glad that they’re not having Tarantino directed or touch the film at all.

I can not express this fully enough when I say I 100% agree with you!

And I was one of the people originally intrigued with the idea and supported him doing it. But once he started talking about it, really didn’t sound like he respected or even cared about canon at all and worse, what the premise of the film was going to be…just a hard pass! For the record, it could’ve still turned out great, but on paper it sounded like the complete opposite of a good idea to me and happy it will only remain on paper.

And I never buy fans who say they don’t care about canon because of all the whining over the Kelvin movies seem to be direct proof most actually do care about canon lol. The biggest irony being those movies were made to make their own canon by doing their own thing and yet you still have people who want to ‘reset’ the Kelvin universe to the Prime one even though these freaks know it takes place in a parallel universe and timeline. That’s a huge reason why so many even hate the films today, they can’t seem to just accept it as its own entity, rules and characters away from the Prime universe.

And Tarantino sounds like all he was going to do nothing was muddy the waters even more with his screwball ideas and make things much worse when it came to canon. The Kelvin movies actually respected canon by saying they were going to touch as little of it as possible. Tarantino blatantly sounded like he just didn’t care.

To be perfectly honest, I never believed a QT Star Trek movie would ever happen. Once we got a few years past Beyond none of the talk, until the recent Abrams statement, felt like there was a chance in hell of happening.

While my initial reaction is this idea is no, I will give it this, it would be bold and new. And I wonder if a cute Vulcan toddler might get the same kind of overwhelming positive public reaction that Baby Yoda got?

You are kind of talking me into this against my better judgement…LOL

They would have to write that they got back together at this point. They broke up in Beyond.

I just hope they give Saldana something substantial to do as Uhura. And more of a truer portrayal of the character of Uhura than we got? In the 2009 film her role was basically to be Spocks girlfriend. She needs an arc of her own.


Agreed! Besides, she’s and A-list actress and more famous worldwide then Pine, so they really need to up her role from that perspective as well.

Subtle wording in this article – IF the project moves forward….
Saldana’s statement is also carefully crafted. This cast has been excited about making another Trek feature for years now. Nothing new there. Notice she didn’t say “of course, I’ll drop everything I’m doing now for principle photography in the fall”…

Yeah I’ll still remain skeptical it’s fully happening until they are all signed on and standing on a set in uniform. I think a lot of people will be. ;)

But this is the closest it’s been to happening in over 3 years, so progress!

It’s a different timeline, so if Vulcan is gone, then Chekov can be, as well… as sad as that is. But an in-universe acknowledgment of his passing would add more stakes to the Enterprise’s mission. Not everyone gets out alive, even the youngest among us.

That said, we have the technology to replace the character with Mr. Arex, which I think would be awesome. They can use a combination of prosthetics and CG effects to make the character look absolutely real, and I think his extra arm could come in handy on a dangerous away mission, and add a grace note of humor, too, if handled correctly.

They can have Simon Pegg voice him.

Notice that her quote doesn’t mention one thing about her being surprised, and she basically confirms (using “we” multiple times) that the cast all wants to make the fourth movie.

As I said previously, I think that whole “the cast is all surprised thing” was THR talking to a couple of the cast’s agents, who are trying to manipulate this (as they should, it’s their job) to get their clients the best deal.

So that entire headline from THR I am calling BS on.

That was way overblown. Some folks need to kick their addiction to doom posting and chill.

I had an idea that it would be interesting for this movie to take place at the end of the 5 year mission – Enterprise and crew are coming back to earth, and we learn of Chekov’s passing. The crew is tired and ready to be home but of course – they are called back into action, just when they were ready to move on. Then the end of the film could begin to set up the events in TMP, if those events still exist in the Kelvin universe. But since the “end of the 5 year mission” is one that hasn’t really been explored in film or TV (except for the fan films and the novels) it might be an interesting place to tell a story.

Beyond was kind of almost the end of the 5y mission

have the opening pre titles sequence be the end of TMP: v’ger exploding. “Out there, thataway”

Main titles (movie font style) Horner-esque score.

Then maroon uniforms/Admiral Kirk/Captain Spock/Lt Saavik/mushroom spacedock/movie nacelles time

I like the end of the Five Year Mission setting, but they don’t need to kill off Chekov. They could just say he was promoted to Lieutenant and went back to Earth for Command Training (what Saavik was doing in Wrath of Khan) a few months before at the same time Ensign Jayla, fresh out of the Academy came aboard as the new Navigator.

Agreed – but I think there is a kind of poetic finality and tribute in recognizing Yelchin’s death by having Chekov die. The only reason to leave him alive in the ST Kelvin universe would be to tease a possible return and there’s really no reason to do that. We know already that all bets are off in terms of the future of our characters because it’s a different universe, and in the first movie McCoy does his “space is disease and death” thing – it would be good to pay that off for once. We know that death really is only permanent in the ST universe if you’re not a main character – and this would be an opportunity to reinforce that what they do – exploring the galaxy – has real risk and real repercussions. Let the crew (as the cast has) deal with his death and make it part of the story – why we’re out here…”risk is our business” – right?

You know… Just spitballing here… There could be an opening sequence where Chekov dies off screen. Maybe using the “Egon” type of thing from the beginning of Afterlife. Maybe use some Yelchin lines that were cut from other films. And the rest are dealing with that sad reality.

I feel that they should make the death of Chekov an integral part of the story, with Kirk and crew dealing with the impact of the loss

Here’s the issue….there are several shifts, and bridge officers on this (or any) starship. There’s been plenty of action where the Big E is getting the snot knocked out of it, with plenty of crew getting blown to bits, sucked into space, or vaporized by the technobabble weapon of the week. Why would a Chekov screen death tie this crew up in knots, when others close to the senior crew have also died? At a minimum, this movie is going to hit the big screen eight years (or so) after the last one, so why is having to have Kirk and crew deal with it interesting theater, as opposed to gratuitous fan service? It sounds cold, but no one is really going to care if he’s just not there.

Ugh, no. Enough dark and gloomy in Trek. Let’s have some optimism and success in this movie.

This guy seems to have been genuinely loved. It’s typical in Hollywood for lip service to be paid to the deceased but all the cast members I have seen quoted about Anton have expressed genuine affection and devotion to him.