Pavel Chekov is a Russian ensign in the original TV series Star Trek (1966-69), played by Walter Koenig. He was portrayed favorably in the midst of the 1960s Cold War between America and Russia. With the inclusion of an international crew, the series’ creator Gene Roddenberry hoped to eradicate this and many other forms of prejudice. While the original Star Trek may seem sexist from today’s standpoint, in many ways it was groundbreaking for late the 1960s.
Roddenberry also wanted Star Trek to appeal to teens, so thought a young, fresh face would do the series good.
Walter Koenig appears not just in the TV show, but in the first seven Star Trek films. In the eleventh Star Trek film, Anton Yelchin depicts Chekov as a likeable math whiz who’s a bit hard to understand because of his Russian accent.
Chances are Pavel Chekhov is named after the Russian doctor, dramatist and short-story writer, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904). The people behind Star Trek had a knack for recasting famous names and ideas into Sci-fi. This arguably helps the show resonate within viewers’ collective unconscious.
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