Abrams, who directed the first two films in the series and has stayed on as a producer, told the Toronto Sun that the role of Pavel Chekov will not be re-cast.
“I would say there’s no replacing him,” Abrams said. “There’s no re-casting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better.”
Yelchin died June 19 in a freak accident involving his Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was presumed to be defective following a recall by Fiat Chrysler less than two months prior.
The 27-year-old actor who was born in Leningrad played the Russian-accented Chekov in all three “Star Trek” reboots, including “Beyond,” which opens this weekend.
Abrams said everyone involved in the production knew going into this movie it would be something of a heartbreak because of the death last year of Leonard Nimoy, who originated the role of Spock in the 1960s television series and reprised his role in the 2009 film. “We had no idea just how devastating events would become,” he added.
As to how things will play out for Chekov remain undecided, but Abrams admitted he has considered killing off the character. “I have thought about it, we’re working on it, and it’s too early to talk about.”