NEWS

EXCLUSIVE: 'Star Trek Beyond' Cast-Members Remember Anton Yelchin Ahead of Film's Release

by Jennifer Drysdale 5:34 PM PDT, July 15, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: 'Star Trek Beyond' Cast-Members Remember Anton Yelchin Ahead of Film's Release

The cast of Star Trek Beyond is keeping Anton Yelchin in their thoughts, almost a month after the 27-year-old actor tragically died following a freak accident. 

ET caught up with the stars at the junket for the upcoming sci-fi flick, where they spoke of the tight bond they shared with their fallen co-star.

WATCH: New Trailer for 'Star Trek Beyond' Drops, Features Rihanna's New Single 'Sledgehammer'

"We're mourning. We're grieving the loss of a great friend and a great human being, and he can never be replaced," Zoe Saldana told ET's Carly Steel at the junket on Wednesday.

"It's been obviously horrific and really challenging, and ultimately very private experience for us," Zachary Quinto echoed, adding that celebrating the film feels "a bit at odds" with what the cast is experiencing as they mourn the actor. "The senselessness of Anton's loss was something that none of us could really fathom, but our goal is to really celebrate him and his spirit."

"It is devastating to lose a member of your family, and we were so shocked," Karl Urban solemnly expressed, before his co-star Simon Pegg jumped in. "He was the greatest guy," he said, describing Yelchin as "the smartest guy in the room."

The cast of the sci-fi blockbuster has become extremely close. Since they first filmed Star Trek in 2007, they've stuck together, and are able to celebrate their upcoming film -- in style.

NEWS: 'Star Trek Beyond' Stars John Cho and Sofia Boutella Share Silly Dubsmashes With Late Co-Star Anton Yelchin

"We're all kind of stylin'," Quinto said of the cast's impressive fashion sense. "I always say this is the gayest group of straight men that I've ever worked with in my entire life."

"We shop more than Zach," Chris Pine agreed.

"We generally meet in the bar," Pegg joked about their pre-premiere fashion rituals. 

It seems this cast is in agreement on everything -- including the decision to reveal that John Cho's character, Sulu, is gay.

"I think it's great," said Quinto, who is openly gay himself. "All you have to do is really look at the reactions and they've been so overwhelmingly positive, especially from young people. To me, this kind of normalized positive portrayal of an LGBT character in the franchise world is exciting and important."

For Cho, who portrays the character, he felt the responsibility to do the role justice. (George Takei, the 79-year-old actor who originally played Sulu in the Star Trek franchise, expressed his disappointment with the decision to reveal Sulu was gay.)

"I was just concerned that we handle it correctly, and I think we have," he explained. "It suggests a future where no one has to come out of any closets, and as far as George [Takei] goes, I just respect and admire him so much. I [understand] where he's coming from, and we just happen to differ."

But according to executive producer J.J. Abrams, it's about time. "The larger issue is it's about time that a world like Star Trek has a character that happens to be gay," he said. "It's not a big deal. It's not the plot. It's just something that felt right to do."

WATCH: EXCLUSIVE: How 'Star Trek Beyond' Pays Homage to the 1960s TV Series and Leonard Nimoy

ET was first on the set of Star Trek Beyond, set to hit theaters on July 22. Check it out in the video below.

SHARE ON FACEBOOK SHARE SHARE ON TWITTER TWEET