When production began on Stark Trek Beyond, the cast and crew knew that it would be without one of their most important founding members. Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock who reprised his role in the Star Trek reboot and its sequel, died in 2015 before shooting began, and screenwriters Simon Pegg and Doug Jung made sure to pay tribute to Spoke Prime (as he was known in the reboot films) in Star Trek Beyond. What they could not have anticipated was losing another member of their beloved crew, though, yet they did, and the Anton Yelchin tribute in Star Trek Beyond will bring everyone to tears. Yelchin, aka Chekov of the Starship Enterprise, died tragically in June, barely a month before Beyond's release, and while obviously, the actor's death is not touched upon in the movie, filmmakers do pay tribute to the actor with a heart-wrenching dedication.
In a truly classy tribute, Beyond addresses the passings of both Nimoy and Yelchin with two, simple, black title cards before the end credits scroll. "In loving memory of Leonard Nimoy," reads the first. And the second says simply, "For Anton." Both cards appear only briefly on the screen, but the decision by filmmakers to have them appear without music — the famous original Star Trek theme stops before the first title card — makes the tributes all the more poignant.
The additional title card wasn't the only change made to the film in order to pay tribute to Yelchin. According to Pegg, director Justin Lin re-edited the final scene (spoiler alert) to add in a subtle tribute. "Justin went back and edited the final moment so that when Kirk says, 'To absent friends,' it cuts to Anton, which is really moving," Pegg said in an interview with The Daily Beast.
The heartbreaking tribute continues off screen as the cast of Star Trek Beyond continues their international press tour without Yelchin. In his interview with The Daily Beast, Pegg revealed that doing promotion for the film and seeing it on-screen has aided the actors in dealing with their castmate's death. "It's helped, it really has helped," Pegg said. "When I watched the movie... when I saw him, it made me happy. It didn't make me sad. It was quite upsetting at times, but generally speaking, it was Anton — and he'll be there forever."
Star Trek Beyond is bound to cheer fans mourning Yelchin's death as well. Despite his tragic passing, the actor appears in the film as eager, happy, and endearing as ever. It's a fitting tribute to both Yelchin and his character.
Images: Paramount Pictures (2)