With the tragic news on Sunday June 19th that Star Trek (2009) actor Anton Yelchin died at his home, we take a look at the young actor’s career and place in Star Trek.
Being a fan of the reboot franchise or hating it, it would be hard to find a fan who didn’t like or disagree with Yelchin’s casting as the young Pavel Chekov. As we all know the role was originally played by the cute faced Walter Koenig in the original Star Trek series’ second season. Chekov was a character conceived to tap into the Davey Jones and Beatles fan base, to give girls and young men an idol or pop star looking character. This mostly worked and Chekov became a permanent member of the Star Trek crew.
Despite mixed reviews of JJ Abrams 2009 Reboot of Star Trek, Yelchin was the perfect choice to play Chekov. Yelchin was born in Leningrad in 1989 to parents, Irina Korina and Viktor Yelchin and migrated to the US months later under a refugee status.
Failing to take to Figure Skating (his parents’ careers ), Anton turned to acting at a very young age, starting out in independent films in 2000. In 2002 he landed a role in a Spielberg produced miniseries Taken (2002). This role launched him quickly into television roles including Larry David’sCurb Your Enthusiasm (2000) and as a series regular on Huff (2004) alongside Hank Azaria .
In 2007 Yelchin landed a key role in the film Alpha Dog which launched his film career to a new level. It didn’t take long for him to find a role in 2009’s Star Trek as Chekov.
Yelchin had a unique look and growing up with Russian parents, the accent and language came to him very naturally. His young looks and boyish innocent face made him a perfect fit to play Chekov. He played the character with a sense of awe and nervous energy. A depiction that was very fitting to a young cadet thrown onto the bridge for his genius and skill.
Yelchin excelled in his acting career, he could carry himself as a small innocent looking boy or be an unexpected hero springing into action. A great role that shows his ability was as the lead character in Odd Thomas in 2013. In this role, he shone as the vulnerable seer of death while balancing it with a hero out to fight the supernatural.
Yelchin took to music from a young age and showcased his passion in 2014’s Rudderless, alongside Billy Crudup in a story about friendship and a love of music. Yelchin was once part of a Punk band named “The Hammerheads”.
On June 19th 2016, Anton Yelchin Died aged 27 when a fault in his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled into him and pinned him against a pillar in his own driveway. The accident was due to a fault in the car’s design, a model that was under recall. Yelchin was found by friends when he failed to show up to a film set on time. His death at only 27 continues the showbusiness curse and adds him to the infamous 27 Club, with members including James Dean, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain.
Yelchin can be seen this summer in Star Trek Beyond, in what is now his last appearance as Pavel Chekov. Two more completed films are in post production starring Yelchin- “Porto” and “Thoroughbred“- and are due to be released later this year and in 2017.
Tributes to Anton Yelchin have been posted on many social media outlets. Many by Star Trek fans including him in the line up of big Star Trek names who have died over the years.
Yelchin was described by many as a kind and fun loving person. He was friendly and loved by many. Karl Urban (Bones) posted on Twitter and Instagram his love for Yelchin saying:
“Anton was such a beautiful , gentle soul . He sought out new life experience with an unabated passion . He was edgy , incredibly talented and beautifully knowledgeable. His smile was radiant and mischievous . Truly an old soul in a young man’s body . He was a loving son. My heart , thoughts and prayers are with Anton’s family. I’m devastated. Godspeed you gorgeous man .“
As I’m sure you have all heard by now that CBS is making a new TV series of Star Trek. It’s due to air in early 2017 on the coat tails of the franchise’s 2016 50th anniversary. I am a huge Star Trek fan but I’m also a mostly reasonable one. This week the internet went ballistic with hatred for this new show that hasn’t even been written yet. One reason is that Alex Kurtzman who co-wrote the first two reboot films is behind the project. Honestly I don’t think it is really that important who is behind the show, so long as they stick to these 10 very important things.
1) Keep it Star Trek
This is the most important thing that has to happen. Keep Star Trek as it should be. Star Wars is a fantasy in space, “NuTrek” is a Sci Fi action film series. Star Trek the TV show has always been pure Science Fiction that comments on socio-political issues all while being fun with action and adventure. It needs to have heart and make the audience think and ponder. Star Trek aired in 1966 and broke profound social issues on racism and war, putting a mirror up to society. It was this ground breaking social commentary that made Star Trek the dynasty it is today. It’s a tone of morality that is by far the biggest thing missing from the last two reboot films. Without a sense of morals and tone, any new series simply wouldn’t be Star Trek.
Making History through love
2) Keep the Original Cannon
Star Trek as a TV series, even before the JJ Abrams reboot, kept the feature films very separate from the TV show. Although the films were canon stories, their style, mood and tone were very different. From Star TrekThe Original Series (TOS) all the way up to the end of Star Trek Voyager (not to discount the prequel series Enterprise) a whole world of canon, history, characters and rules were long established. Despite the reboots, it would be a shame to stray away from this long fan loved history of 703 episodes that spanned five TV shows. To just disregard the 40 plus years of stories and history that were established to attract new audiences would be a crying shame. Many fans are calling for their dream version of Star Trek. The problem there is that everyone has a different vision. I’ll be happy if the new series is set after Voyager, before The Next Generation or set during the Romulan war between Enterprise and TOS , as long as it’s not the NuTrek alternate timeline. A new series has to add to the legacy, not start over.
Boldly Going into the Future of TV
3) Be Brave
As much as we love what Star Trek has done in the past the new series has to be different. The new series has to be brave and try new things and stand on it’s own two feet. Voyager set itself up to be a very different show at the beginning but fell back into old routines, never quite rising itself. Enterprise once again tried to be different but took several season to be brave about it. It would be great to see a darker side to Star Trek and the Federation. After all change and progress is the fundamental ethos of Star Trek.
4) Have Cameos
We would all love to check in our favourite characters. The last we heard of Commander Riker, he was Captain of the USS Titan, Worf was ambassador to the Klingon Empire and Janeway was an Admiral. It would be great to have those characters pop up on a view screen of a new ship or for them to pop by for an episode. In the case of a prequel series, Captain Archer could throw in an appearance as a wise admiral. The big thing however is that the new series does have to be able to stand on it’s own two feet just like Deep Space Nine and Voyager did with some small cross over characters in their pilots. Over use of known characters would unfortunately just turn into fan service and result in unlikely stories and scenarios unless it’s done in the right way. For an example of this done badly just see how little sense it makes for Walter Koenig to be in Star Trek Renegades.
“I should be long dead” (Russian Accent)
5) A New Ship
A new Star Trek needs a new ship and to me, that ship can be any ship. It doesn’t have to be the next Enterprise or an old one for that matter. Despite my personal feelings towards certain characters in Voyager and some of the storylines, adventures on a different ship were exciting and fascinating to see. I would be hesitant to be on the Enterprise F, J or H far in the future and being thrown into a universe we really don’t know, with technology that’s reached a point of being completely magical. This was a pitch made by Bryan Singer about eight years ago. A new ship is essential for the series to work. Trying to recreate the Enterprise E again with a different crew would just be sad and would lack imagination and progression. I’m sure thousands of fans are probably calling out for the return of the TNG crew to a new series, it’s been over 20 years and it ran for seven seasons and four movies. Let it go friends, let it go.
6) A New Enemy
We need a big new threat. DS9 struggled through it’s first few seasons despite some great stand out episodes, it just didn’t connect with audiences well. Then they introduced The Dominion and if you haven’t gone back and watched it, I highly recommend it. It became a fantastic war series. The same in Voyager, they’re ultimate enemy most definitely being The Borg. Since however there has been a throve of novels, comic books and games with The Borg as the main enemy and we are done with them. Janeway crippled them and that’s that. What we do need is a whole new threat to the Federation. A new species that are hard to understand, something truly alien or a well known ally turned foe. The last we checked in with our universe the Romulan home world had been destroyed not long after making peace with the Federation. How interesting would it be for Starfleet to have to now defend and care for their former enemy, against forces trying to take advantage of the fallen empire.
“We are the Borg. Using us is futile”
7) Have an Overall Story Arch
DS9 and Enterprise changed how Star Trek ran. With the exception of the odd two part special, every other Star Trek series ran with very independent episodes with very little relationship to one another. We rarely got a hint of a new enemy or story direction in TOS or TNG that would later reappear. In DS9 we had The Dominion War span three seasons, an idea that was planted in early season two and was carried to completion in season seven. That show had some great frame work. Enterprise, despite having some terrible story arch’s, still had full season stories. This is how most TV works these days, giving little hints each episode for a big final. It would be a shame for Star Trek not to evolve with TV. The new series is going to be released on CBS’s All Access online subscription channel and I would be very surprised if they’re stand alone episodes in our modern binge watching society. More likely we’re going to get HBO or Netflix style 10-13 episode season that supports one main story like Game Of Thrones, Daredevil and Jessica Jones.
8) A Strong Female Lead
In an ideal world this point should go without saying, however, women haven’t been depicted well in the reboot films. Falling into the Hollywood trope of sex sells, Doctor Marcus in Star Trek Into Darkness had the sole purpose of existing to be topless for the trailer.
“I’m a Doctor. Not a stripper!”
The Original Series sadly is a testament to it’s time and is extremely misogynistic. Thankfully Star Trek evolved. Back in the 90s we had this sorted, in 1995 we put a woman in the Captain’s chair. I personally had a lot of problems with Janeway as a character, but having a woman in command was no big deal and it worked for seven seasons.
DS9 had great female leads in Major Kira and Lt. Dax, the types of characters that TNG just didn’t hold well. I’m looking at Councillor Troy here, she was always so weak. Despite the strong start with Lt. Tasha Yar, her character was never replaced with a similar trope after her death. The closest we got was Whoppi Goldberg and she only made guest appearances. So I’m cool with it whether the Captain is going to be a man or a woman. No matter which way the casting goes the next senior officer has to be of the opposite sex. A Female Captain needs a male 1st Officer and vice a versa. It’s a dynamic that works and creates characters that everyone can relate to.
9) An LGBT Character
As mentioned above Star Trek has a long history of breaking social boundaries and highlighting modern thinking. One fact that has always failed Star Trek is it’s portrayal of Homosexuality in the future. It’s a part of life in the Federation that has only been hinted at and brushed with very lightly. Many writers and producers were very shy about portraying it and the only on screen appearances of homosexual relationships have been two women. David Gerrold wrote an episode of TNG entitled “Blood and Fire” that featured a gay couple. Sadly the show’s producers were terrified of public backlash and they buried the episode. It’s since been adapted as a fanmade TOS episode and you can see it here
What we need is a strong, male lead character, a senior bridge officer, somewhere between the Captain to Helm Officer. A man with a position of authority who is just as capable as any other male character, who just happens to be in a same sex relationship with another crew member. The most important thing is that it has to also not be a big deal, it has to be subtly written and portrayed just like any other relationship.
The main reason I’m calling out for a male/male relationship is that unfortunately studio executes wouldn’t be able to help themselves with a female same sex relationship and it would turn into sexy scenarios. For proof just look at the increasing tightness of T’Pol’s cat suit’s in Enterprise and Seven of Nine’s outfit’s on Voyager. Sex sells. But the point of showing a relationship like this is to almost not draw attention to it and to depict it as the norm.
Look at how Caprica did it with Sasha Roiz portraying the cold blooded gangster who was married to a man. Until we saw this character sitting at home entertaining dinner guest holding hands with his husband and offering a tender forehead kiss, there was no mention or attention given to his sexuality.
Caprica more equal than Star Trek
10) Be Set After Voyager
Now this is just a personal preference of mine. I really want to be able to check in with my favourite characters and see what is going on in the future of the Star Trek universe. However I wouldn’t be heartbroken if we were given a series set between TOS and TNG or any other timeline. I made a comparison to Game of Thrones earlier for a reason. My dream show would depict several locations, with a lot of characters and cameos to work with. Follow a new ship and crew but have us check in with Starfleet Command, visit the USS Titan with Captain Riker and his crew. Lets us see Worf struggle with politics and have all their stories connected. Both Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn have been trying to get their own spin off shows made for years. Lets join them all together with a new ship and crew and make some fantastic poignant TV while we’re at it.
So that’s really 9 things I think are very important and 1 hopeful wish for 2017. So what do you want to see in the 2017 from the New Star Trek Series?
We’re all intrigued to see the next instalment of the Star Trek reboot films. Star Trek Beyond will be the first in the series not to be directed by JJ Abrams, but instead is being taken on byFast and Furious alumni Director and Producer Justin Lin. It’s going to be different and Simon Pegg (Scotty) is heavily involved in the writing too. We’re a little concerned that once again a director with heavy Producer credits and action film experience is involved. Lin also has very little experience with SciFi so it could go horribly wrong. But with self proclaimed geek and fan Pegg behind the project it could end up the best Star Trek film of the reboot. At this point it’s just too early to tell. What we do know is that there will be less lens flares and more of a Star Trek feel to what will still be a big budget SciFi adventure.
News broke this week about the shifting release date of the film’s delayed 2016 release by a few weeks. Instead of being released on July 8th it’s now going to be July 22nd.
The reason is very simple, Summer is the time of big blockbusters, for them all to succeed they need to be spaced out a bit, to share room at the box office.
Since STAR TREK BEYONDis still in production in Vancouver and then going to Dubai in the coming weeks, the move is more likely due to logistical issues rather than any “problems” with the film.
Another reason could simply be the logistics with having freed up IMax theaters as pointed out by Anthony D’Alessandro -Deadline that Tarzan is going to be a huge film and will be most likely sitting at the top spot in early July leaving little room for Star Trek Beyond 7 days later.
Late July proved quite fruitful for the Melrose Ave. studio this year when they launched Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation on July 31, clocking a FSS of $55.5M and a total cume to date of $189.2M.
The reason why M:I5 played late July, versus its original December 2015 date, was to take advantage of those Imax venues that were open, and that’s the same reason why Par is taking the Enterprise out on the late July date.
Apparently, Warner Bros.’ Tarzan has roped up all the Imax hubs on July 1, leaving none for Captain Kirk and Spock. Seven weeks into its play, M:I5 is still hanging around the top 5.
As to how good the film will be. Well We’ll just have to wait an extra 2 weeks and see.
Five television series, each with their own crews, spanning seven hundred and twenty six episodes and twelve movies (About six good ones), and countless fan-made stories from 1966 and still going strong, Star Trek can be daunting to get into. It came back into focus in 2009 when JJ Abrams released his reboot movie, Star Trek. The movie helped create a new generation of Trekkies, but the sheer enormity of the Universe and source material makes it difficult to take in exactly what the Star Trek Universe is all about. I will be giving a crash course in the most important parts of Star Trek, starting with the most fundamental aspects and working towards the base details.
At a very basic level, The Federation is the Space United Nations. It is an alliance of planets, sharing personnel and knowledge, with the primary goal to seek out new cultures and map the Galaxy. The Federation has several different aspects to it, including a military presence, though it has always maintained its primary mission is one of peace. There are dozens of species, and hundreds, if not thousands, of planets, in the Federation. Each planet has its own contribution to the group, whether with ships, technology or resources. Those who do not wish to join, or are not yet warp capable, are left alone. this is the most important rule in the entirety of The Federation: the Prime Directive.
The Federation is usually portrayed in a positive light, showing the potential Humanity has for ultimate good in the Future. There are very few, if any, internal struggles among humans, there is no economy as money has been eliminated, and gender equality is certainly all sorted by the 24th century. The Federation is not above forming treaties with other species without assimilating them into the larger group. The Federation has non aggression pacts with the Klingons and the Romulans, a result of wars with both their species, and has even allied with them before, most notably in the war with the Dominion.
Starfleet is the military and exploration division of the Federation. It consists of multiple fleets of Starships deployed throughout Federation controlled, or unexplored areas of Space near the Federation border. The primary mission of all ships in Starfleet is to seek out new life and new civilisations, though all their ships are also equipped to defend themselves. Starfleet was founded in 2161 with the Federation by four races; Humans, Vulcans, Tellarites and Andorians. Its purpose was to provide protection against aggressive species such as the Klingons.
The military might of Starfleet has been tested several times, to a point where, within the space of just six months, they were challenged by the Borg, the Dominion and the Klingons. These battles, and especially the war with The Dominion (Which I will touch on in a later article) led Starfleet to rapidly develop more advanced weaponry and defences for their ships.
The Federation are, simply put, the “Good Guys”. They’re the ones you are supposed to root for and the ones you’re supposed to aspire to be. Even more than that, they are what humanity could be should we find ourselves not to be alone in the Universe. A galactic Governing body which humans have a great hand in running, and are responsible for helping create. I leave you with the famous monologue which lives on in the hearts of Trekkies everywhere.