Exclusive: Star Trek's Walter Koenig wants you to help him kill Chekov

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Nov 20, 2015, 9:26 AM EST

Which way to the nuclear wessels? Walter Koenig knows. He also knows that after all these years, it’s time for him to retire the character of Lt. Pavel Chekov, who he’s been playing on television, movies and video games since 1967, when he first appeared on classic Star Trek’s season 2.

The successful Kickstarter project Star Trek: Renegades was the last time we saw the now-Admiral Chekov. The Kickstarter for Star Trek: Renegades episodes 2 and 3 is still running and has at the time of this writing reached $235,000 out of $350,000. Koenig didn’t put it this way, but I will: He needs your help to kill him.

Why did you decide to do this new project, Star Trek: Renegades episodes 2 and 3?

[Executive Producer] Sky [Conway] came to me with Renegades the first time, and I did it reflexively because he’s my buddy. But when he came to me again, I said it’s really time to put [Chekov] six feet under. You come out with the shovels, and I’m happy to cooperate and do Star Trek one more time.

Why do you want to kill your character?

Because I’m done! Star Trek was about the future. It wasn’t a historical document. I carry the same philosophy that we should be looking at the future, not dwelling in the past, no matter how comfortable that might be. 

I love the character. I love playing him. I have always wished that he would be more involved in the action. I always had the sense that I was riding the coattails of a project where my contribution was minimal. Maybe that’s my ego speaking, but I always felt I could do more.

In fact, I even went so far as to do semi-professional Star Trek stories [here and here] because they allowed me to present a Chekov who was more dimensional and had more involvement in what was going on. I’ve always had that feeling of yearning to present a character with more shades and more introspection, so we learn about who he was. 

You managed to flesh out Bester, your character in Babylon 5

I loved playing that role, it was really great fun. I loved the people I worked with, all of the cast, and I emphasize the word "all." I’m speaking of a cast member on Star Trek, with whom we have all had problems. 

Joe Stracyznski, who created and wrote virtually all of the scripts—that’s an extraordinary achievement, to write a script for every week the show was on the air—he was pretty adamant about people not changing his dialogue. But when I came to it,  I didn’t even mention it. I gave him a frozen hand, and the reason I did that was really an actor reason: 

Jerry Doyle and Bruce Boxleitner are really tall guys, they’re both about 6’2" or 6’3", and I was supposed to be the antagonist. When I look at these guys, I said I need to feel that I could hold my own and prevail. And what I decided was if I had a hand that didn’t work, I had to be pretty tough and bullheaded and have a lot of tenacity. … It gave me a sense that I could accomplish as much as I can with Bester, a leader that people follow, [if I had] prevailed over my own handicap. 

So. why should we participate in the Kickstarter for Star Trek: Renegades episodes 2 and 3?

I heard a story pitched to me by a writer which was kind of phenomenal, and if they bring that to the screen, that would be terrific. The Kickstarter on Renegades 2 is close to $250,000, and they need another $100,000. Anybody out there who reads this and is inclined to participate and make this happen would be very much appreciated …. I want this to be the end of Chekov.

Last thing: Tell me how to get to the nuclear wessels.

You gotta go to Alameda.

Want to kick in to the Kickstarter, so that Chekov can kick the bucket? Click here.