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Anton Yelchin Referred To The Star Trek Encyclopedia To Brush Up On Chekov's Physics Knowledge

It stands to reason that the cast of the "Star Trek" Kelvin timeline had their work cut out for them when they agreed to be cast in J.J. Abrams' 2009 version. This was a strange kind of reboot, designed not so much to ignore the vast lore that had already been built through six TV series, ten films, and four decades, but to pivot from it. Locating the three Kelvin films in an alternate dimension is a nifty trick, but it creates all kinds of problems concerning continuity that, at first glance, wouldn't be a problem.

Given that the Kelvin timeline would revolve around the crew of the Enterprise, fans of the original "Star Trek" series were bound to bring a high expectation of authenticity. But given that these were entirely different actors with entirely new plots, the balance between filling the massive shoes of those who came before and giving the characters a fresh spin must have been a precarious one.

For the most part, the new cast seems to have carved a niche for themselves. Paramount has enough faith in Chris Pine's version of James T. Kirk that they have put him at the center of their intended, though long delayed, fourth Kelvin film. Likewise, Zachary Quinto's Spock, John Cho's Mr. Sulu, Zoe Saldana's Uhura, and all the rest are supposedly coming back (via The Digital Fix). 

Sadly, there will be one cast member who definitely won't be returning. Someone who reportedly put their all into recreating his own "Star Trek" role.

Anton Yelchin got deep into research for his role as Chekov

When he was cast in the role of crew member Pavel Chekov, Anton Yelchin wasn't even old enough to drink. Still, he had managed to rack up an impressive resume already, with a wide film career and TV appearances including turns on "ER," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and "NYPD Blue" (via IMDb). Clearly committed to his craft, he did some serious research to familiarize himself with his new "Star Trek" role.

Speaking with TrekMovie.com, Yelchin said that much of his research consisted of reading "The Star Trek Encyclopedia" and watching the entirety of the original series. "The Star Trek Encyclopedia" is about what it sounds like, and if one is looking to fully immerse themselves in the world of "Star Trek," they could do a lot worse than read it cover to cover. Its 2011 edition explicitly declares it a resource that was compiled for the sake of those involved with "Star Trek" who found it difficult to keep up with the massive expansions in the "Star Trek" universe. 

The entry on Pavel Chekov is not intensely long, though it does mention the most significant moments in his arc, including his genius-level physics knowledge used to help the Enterprise get out of some tight spots. Yelchin took it much further by watching the original series as well. "I kept going. I loved it," he said. "I even watched the episodes that Chekov wasn't in." (via TrekMovie.com)

Yelchin's dedication to his craft didn't go unnoticed. In fact, it seems more missed than ever since his untimely death in 2016 from a freak car accident. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter in 2019, Pine praised Yelchin's commitment to doing his own stunts during "Star Trek Beyond."