Koenig Hopes Future Chekov Will Play Larger RoleBy Michelle
May 8, 2007 - 6:42 PM
Walter Koenig doesn't have a lot of patience with academics who try to read US imperialistic pride into the original Star Trek and hopes that any version of Chekov who might appear in Star Trek XI will "stay out of shadows."
In an interview with Trekdom, Koenig said that he believed his role was created more to appeal to young female viewers than to further the idea of global cooperation by depicting a Russian aboard the Enterprise. "Gene Roddenberry was quoted as saying after the casting session that 'Koenig's accent sucks but I think the little girls will like him,'" admitted the actor. "The intention was to acknowledge the Soviet exploration of space...it is also true to an even greater extent that the show wished to expand its demographic."
Series creator Roddenberry hoped that Koenig would appeal to fans of the Beatles and the Monkees, but his role was often reduced to comic relief. Asked whether he believed Chekov was intended to come across as buffoonish in order to suggest that the United States had won the Cold War against the Soviet Union, Koenig said, "I think it's preposterous to give so much significance to a television show whose principal objective was to entertain and build a following that would keep it on the air. To look for Machiavellian constructions is to joust at windmills."
The actor said that he no longer speculates about the future of the franchise, saying that on several separate occasions, he believed that Star Trek was dead, only to see it rise again: "It will definitely outlive me." He does think, however, that if Chekov appears in the reimagining of the original series currently in development, the actor cast in his role should "insist on dialogue that does more than simply advance the plot."
The full interview is here.