The Star Trek franchise is currently alive and well. Trekkies everywhere are celebrating the joyous news that J.J. Abrams and the returning cast of the reboot film franchise will soon begin work on the series’ fourth installment. However, one cast member will be greatly missed in the upcoming film. The absence of the late Anton Yelchin has not only affected fans of the beloved sci-fi franchise but the cast and crew members as well. Recently, Star Trek veteran Zoe Saldana opened up about what it’s like making Star Trek 4 without the late co-star.
Speaking with Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet premiere of The Adam Project, Zoe Saldana was questioned about the upcoming Star Trek film. The Guardians of the Galaxy actress responded that everyone’s excited to be back while stating the experience will be “bittersweet” given the circumstances. Describing the cast, which will once again consist of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, John Cho, Simon Pegg, and Zoe Saldana, as a close-knit group, Saldana said Yelchin’s absence will be felt. Saldana also described the fourth project in the franchise as a way for the Star Trek family to pay tribute to their dear friend. You can read her full statement below:
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 get to go back to work and get to, you know, be together with the gang.Zoe Saldana
Anton Yelchin starred alongside Zoe Saldana and the crew of the USS Enterprise in all three films released in the rebooted Star Trek series. Yelchin starred as Ensign Pavel Chekov, the ship’s head navigator. The young Russian native tragically passed away at the young age of 27. Yelchin died from blunt traumatic asphyxia due to a fatal car accident just one month before the 2016 release of Star Trek Beyond. When the film debuted, it was dedicated in his memory along with original Spock actor Leonard Nimoy, who had passed a year prior.
With the unnamed fourth project in the Star Trek series prepping to begin production later this year, the next installment looks to be a monumental way to keep the late actor alive in the hearts of Zoe Saldana and the rest of the returning cast. While most details surrounding the project remain under wraps, fans can expect J.J. Abrams to return to the franchise as a producer. Matt Shakman (Wandavision) is slated to direct the film with the reunited cast. The confirmation for the film to move forward comes after several obstacles that obstructed the fourth film from being greenlit over the last few years.
As for Zoe Saldana, who has portrayed the USS Enterprise communication officer Nyota Uhura in all three films, the 43-year-old actress has already had her fair share of work this year. On yet another emotional rollercoaster in Hollywood, the celebrity is busy filming what will likely be the last stint with the ragtag crew that makes up the cast of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. As she films the third and (likely) last film in the series, she recently opened up about the emotions felt this time around. Saldana and the returning crew of the USS Enterprise will begin filming at the end of 2022. And while Anton Yelchin will be missed, his legacy will live long and prosper.