Walter Koenig Reveals Favorite ‘Star Trek’ Movies, Salutes Anton Yelchin, and Approves Continuing Films Without …

When Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry fabricated a organisation of a starship Enterprise in 1966, he wanted to underline a staff that reflected a farrago of his ideal future. In Roddenberry’s prophesy of a 23rd century, Starfleet officers of all cultures and colors would offer alongside any other though sparse conflicts interfering with their five-year missions into low space. The inclusion of Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Sulu (George Takei) on a Enterprise overpass as was a on-going step brazen for network television, and Roddenberry upped a ante in Season 2 by adding a new character: Russian officer Pavel Chekov, played by Chicago-born actor Walter Koenig.

Introduced during a time when anti-Russian perspective was using high, Chekov was designed to put a tellurian face and a nation and enlightenment many Americans usually knew in a context of a Cold War paranoia. “Chekov was a soft character,” Koenig tells Yahoo Movies. “He was partial of a team, not opposite a team. We were looking brazen to a time when all countries could coexist and work together.” Starting his career as an ensign, Chekov usually climbed a Starfleet ladder over a march of a bizarre array and a Trek feature films, remaining a valued and devoted member of James Kirk’s middle circle.

Offscreen, Koenig continues to be a brave Star Trek advocate, frequently appearing during conventions, including Star Trek: Mission New York, a 50th anniversary jubilee that will take over Manhattan’s Javits Center from Friday by Sunday. We spoke with a 79-year-old actor about his near-miss with a cameo on Star Trek: The Next Generation and because The Voyage Home is his favorite Trek film.

Within a Star Trek universe, Chekov’s career has continued over a TV array and cinema into spinoff novels. Do keep adult with his adventures?
No, I’ve never review a novels; we only feel that if we couldn’t put it onscreen, than it unequivocally wasn’t my character. It wasn’t me. Conversely, when we seemed on Babylon 5 as Alfred Bester, my impression was pivotal to a story, even yet it was a repeated role. So when a Bester novels came out, we review those. we identified with a impression so strongly, and my oddity finished me lay down with a books.

Several of a bizarre Enterprise crew seemed on Star Trek: The Next Generation, including Spock, Scotty, and McCoy. Were there ever skeleton for Chekov to revisit a Enterprise-D?
It’s a bizarre story; we have an interpretation of it, and we underscore that it’s my interpretation. we was contacted by one of a writers to speak about what kind of story they could do with Chekov. We had lunch together, and couldn’t come adult with anything. So he asked me to come in and accommodate with all a writers; this was after Jimmy [Doohan] and DeForest [Kelley] had already been on and had both had really successful experiences. In a interim, we had come adult with an suspicion [for Chekov], and was really many looking brazen to sitting down with them. We were in a room, and they had pads and pens prepared to take notes. But only when we finished a introductions, a phone rang and it was [a producer] revelation them they had to leave, that they were indispensable somewhere else. Because we am who we am, and have a turn of neuroticism that includes paranoia, we resolved that this might have been finished purposefully, that a writers had contacted me though consulting [the producers] and they systematic them out of a room. we might be wrong; we never got a full story.

I recently spoke with David Gerrold, who wrote “The Trouble With Tribbles,” that had some good moments with Chekov. Do we have lustful memories of that episode?
That’s a fun episode. It was finished with humor, and Bill [Shatner] carried it off really well. As matter of fact, when my grandson saw his initial Star Trek episode, it was “The Trouble with Tribbles.” He was 6 years aged during a time, and knew we was an actor, though had never seen me in anything. When we had a large quarrel in a bar with a Klingons, he pronounced to his mother, “I can’t trust my Grandpa is a table-hopping maniac!” [Laughs]

What partial of a bizarre array are we asked about a most?
My favorite from a greedy indicate of perspective is “Spectre of a Gun.” we got to go to down to a planet, we got a girl, and we got killed! [Ed. Note: His genocide wasn’t permanent, of course. The partial takes place inside an Old West-themed penetrating illusion.] It was an active partial for Chekov. That partial was a box of prerequisite being a mom of invention; we had overspent on a preceding episodes, and a bill was limited. So they had to come adult with a set they could build simply and quickly, and a fact that a whole uncover dealt with apparition finished a use of facades really advantageous. we suspicion it was a quite well-conceived story.

Turning to a underline films, this year outlines a 30th anniversary of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
I feel that’s best film we did. From my possess indicate view, Chekov got to have some specific action, like a stage we did with a “nuclear wessels” and his inquire by a FBI. He even got his possess thesis music! we had never shot anywhere though on a soundstage, and that was a initial time we got to go out and fire on a streets of San Francisco. we also consider it’s a film that’s many deputy of Gene Roddenberry’s bizarre inspiration, to tell socio-political stories that spoke to what was transpiring in a universe during a time. We addressed a theme of a sourroundings with a storyline about a archaic whales. we feel we did a use for a universe by addressing that theme in cinematic form and creation it partial of their consciousness.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is another installment that fans love.
That’s my second favorite. we had my misfortune moments with Bill Shatner on that film, so that kind of stains a knowledge a small bit. But we desired operative with Ricardo [Montalban] and Paul Winfield. At a heart of each thespian story is conflict, so we need a clever criminal as good as a smashing protagonist. Ricardo was such a clever force, it finished a dispute that many greater. And a genocide of Spock is an unusual scene. Those dual cinema for me are furlongs brazen of a other films.

Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in a rebooted Star Trek film franchise, tragically died this year. The producers have said that a purpose won’t be recast. Do we determine with that decision?
I consider it’s a right call; it’s profitable Anton a many respect. we was ravaged and still am ravaged [by his death]. we spent only a integrate of hours with him, though we could tell he was a really good person. He was unusually gifted and versatile, and a tellurian being that we would like to be friends with.

We’re imprinting a 50th anniversary of Star Trek by celebrating a past, while also looking brazen to a future. What do we consider a subsequent 50 years binds for Trek?
I have no idea. [Laughs] And we had no suspicion when Gene Roddenberry called me in 1969 to say: “We’ve been canceled; wish to work together again sometime.” At a time, we hung adult a phone and said, “What do we do with a rest of my life?” It still astonishes me that this authorization has continued over 5 decades a approach it has. Each of a incarnations have been perceived so enthusiastically. we can’t start to surmise what will come with Star Trek from here on out. we wish it goes on; we always had good things to contend about a word and a future. We’re still perplexing to achieve that future. It’s such a chaotic, destructive time right now; maybe a new Star Trek will in some approach reanimate a wounds that we have and move us closer to a improved place we’ve dreamed about.

 

More about ...