New ‘Star Trek’ finds orbit amid tragedy

by Lindsey Bahr

LOS ANGELES – When the “Star Trek Beyond” cast and filmmakers gathered in Los Angeles last month for Anton Yelchin’s funeral, they had a decision to make. Their film, the third in the rebooted series, was coming out in less than a month and a rigorous press tour was imminent. They could either put themselves out there to promote the film in the raw and devastating weeks after the death of their beloved co-star, or they could withdraw.

“We came to the conclusion in the end (that) if we withdraw, we’re going to risk not helping a film that should be seen, not least because it stars Anton Yelchin,” said Simon Pegg. “That’s how we found the strength to be here … It’s hard to talk about, but we don’t want to not talk about it. If we don’t talk about it, it’s like we’re ignoring it.”

But persevering in the face of hardship and loss is in the fabric of “Star Trek,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with this new tale of hope and unity in the federation.

Yelchin was only 27 when he died after being struck by his own car last month.

The close-knit cast and crew of “Star Trek” were also able to say goodbye together at the funeral.

The series will live on. On Monday, Paramount Pictures announced that there will be a fourth film, which will see the return of Kirk’s deceased father (Chris Hemsworth). As for Chekov, Abrams said they’ve started thinking about how to deal with his absence in the continuing story, but that it’s also “too early to talk about.”

Everyone is still processing the loss the best they can.

“It will never stop being terrible,” Pegg said.

But he did find some solace in seeing his friend up on the screen again.

“I thought it was going to be really sad. At times it was. But for the most part, it was like ‘there he is, he’s right there,’” Pegg said. “He’s alive and he’s happy and he will be there forever.”

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