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New Star Trek: Discovery season 3 episode pays tribute to Anton Yelchin

Anton Yelchin in Star Trek
(Image credit: IMDb)

We’re now over halfway through Star Trek: Discovery season 3, and the plot continues to thicken. However, the latest episode still found time to pay a touching tribute to the late Anton Yelchin. 

The Russian-born actor played Ensign Pavel Chekov in 2009’s Star Trek and its sequels Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond. In Star Trek: Discovery season 3 episode 7, a former Starfleet vessel called the USS Yelchin is mentioned twice – and it plays a key role in the episode. 

A 1,000 year time jump at the end of season 2 allowed the show to get creative and create a new canon in the 32nd century after a galactic catastrophe called The Burn. Now, Commander Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green, is on a mission to learn the cause of the calamity that led to the collapse of the United Federation of Planets. 

In the new episode, Burnham recovers some black boxes from ships that were destroyed by The Burn as part of her investigation – and the first of these belonged to the USS Yelchin. The information from this black box leads to a huge breakthrough about the cause of The Burn and makes a key turning point in the season.

Yelchin died from blunt traumatic asphyxia in 2016. He was only 27 when a freak accident caused his car to roll down his steep driveway and trap him against a gatepost. His tribute is the second nod to a late actor to feature in Star Trek: Discovery season 3 – in episode 5, we got a brief glimpse of the USS Nog. This was a reference to beloved Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actor Aron Eisenberg, who passed away in 2019.

A new episode of Star Trek: Discovery season 3 airs every Thursday on Netflix. While we wait for the next one, check out the other best Netflix shows to stream right now.

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.