J.J. Abrams has lead tributes to the late Anton Yelchin at the premiere of Star Trek Beyond.
Anton was much loved for his role as Russian starship lieutenant Pavel Chekov in the last three Star Trek films, and his loss made a huge impact as his fellow cast and crew members honoured him on the opening night of San Diego Comic-Con yesterday.
Abrams, who directed two of the most recent Star Trek films, and acted as producer for Beyond, gave a touching speech.
“As wonderful as this is to be here with all of you and to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, there is something wrong tonight,” he said according to RTÉ Entertainment.
Much-loved: Anton played Pavel Chekov in Star Trek | PARAMOUNT PICTURES
“There is something missing tonight, there is someone missing tonight.
“Anton Yelchin should be here. Anton’s parents are here, Irina and Victor. We love their son and if I could ask everyone to have a moment of silence for our dear friend, Anton,” he said.
The cast and crew were also spotted wearing black Star Trek command lapel pins on the red carpet, in Anton’s honour.
Speaking about the future of Anton Yelchin’s Star Trek character, J.J. Abrams insisted that he could not replace Anton, as he “deserves better”.
“I would say there’s no replacing him. There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better,” he told The Toronto Sun.
The famed director admitted that he has thought about killing the character off, but he’s not ready to approach that topic just yet.
“I have thought about it. We’re working on it, and it’s too early to talk about it,” he saod.
Star Trek Beyond will open in cinemas nationwide on July 22.