There’s Already A Character Star Trek 4 Can Use To Fill Chekov’s Role

ytsfreeSeptember 6, 2022

Star Trek: The Animated Series already has a perfect character who can fill Pavel Chekov’s role as navigator of the U.S.S. Enterprise in Star Trek 4.

With Star Trek 4 aiming for a 2023 release, the burgeoning question of who can fill the shoes of the U.S.S. Enterprise’s navigator Pavel Chekov can be answered by Star Trek: The Animated Series. Out of respect for Anton Yelchin, J.J. Abrams stated the sequel to Star Trek: Beyond will not recast Chekov’s character. It is not the first time a new character in Star Trek has needed to take over Chekov’s role as navigator, as is shown in TAS.

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Pavel Chekov’s final appearance in the Kelvin Timeline is in Justin Lin’s Star Trek: Beyond. The 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin passed away in 2016 a month before the film’s premiere, which included a respectful In Memoriam for Yelchin in the credits. Since then, Star Trek director J.J. Abrams has claimed there will be no recast of Chekov’s character. “I would say there’s no replacing him. There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better” (via Toronto Sun). The Russian navigator, originally played by Walter Koenig in Star Trek: The Original Series is absent from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek: The Animated Series due to budget cuts. Taking over Chekov’s position in TAS is his navigation instructor, an Edosian Lieutenant named Arex.


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Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek: The Animated Series to explore the remainder of the Enterprise crew’s 5-year mission, as TOS was canceled after season 3. TAS could not afford to bring back the entire cast since the budget was significantly lower than its live-action predecessor. Walter Koenig was one of the Star Trek actors unable to return, so the show had to come up with an excuse for the character’s absence. In TAS, Chekov is said to have transferred to a new mission aboard a different ship. His position as primary navigator is taken up by an Edosian, an orange alien with 3 arms and 3 legs. Regarding the news that Chekov will not be recast for Star Trek 4, it would be practical for the creators to use a pre-existing explanation that can offer a perfect career-driven reason for the Ensign’s departure from the Enterprise. Lieutenant Arex also has a history with Chekov that can help expand the Ensign’s story in the Kelvin Timeline without recasting him against Abram’s wishes.


Why Arex Is A Perfect Replacement For Chekov In Star Trek 4

Other than having the perfect background in Star Trek canon to replace Chekov as the Enterprise’s navigator, there are other compelling reasons why Lieutenant Arex should take Chekov’s spot in Star Trek 4. Namely, Arex’s species have not been shown in any live-action Star Trek series or film. Only recently has the animated show Lower Decks brought them back to the franchise in the form of an unnamed medical officer. If Star Trek 4 replaces Chekov with Arex, the classic species can be expanded upon, since little is known about Edosians other than their appearance. Although there has been debate regarding whether TAS is official canon, Arex can still be a valid call-back. The nature of the Kelvin Timeline proves there are infinite parallel universes, and one of those could be the animated universe. The choice is also supported by Abrams’ Star Trek era having access to better resources and a higher budget. Arex’s non-human design should not be a problem with how far CGI has come since TAS first aired.


Seeing as Star Trek 4 will have the opportunity and budget to show the never-before-seen design of a live-action Endosian, there is little reason not to include the Lieutenant. Though there are debates about the validity of TAS’ canon, Gene Roddenberry envisioned Arex as the right character to take over Chekov’s role as navigator. As a result, Star Trek 4 already has a perfect way to fill Chekov’s shoes without recasting the unparalleled Anton Yelchin.

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