Thoughts on Chekov:
Chekov was a versatile and capable member of the Enterprise crew, and added a cheerful and enthusiastic presence. Usually the ship’s navigator, he could man other stations as needed, and was often a member of landing parties. He was immensely proud of his Russian heritage, and seemed to feel that Russia was responsible for most of the greatest achievements in Earth’s history.
As many Star Trek fans know, Chekov’s Russian-ness has two origin stories: One that Gene Roddenberry wanted to honor Russia’s putting the first man in space, the other that he wanted to invalidate a Russian magazine’s complaint about no Russian characters in Star Trek. Either way, I think it’s interesting that, in the midst of the Cold War, a Russian character was added to a show that often highlighted personal liberty, individuality, and challenging authority. I think that is very much in keeping with the optimism of original Star Trek, and with Chekov being so comfortable in that environment and proud of his Russian heritage, I would like to think that it foreshadows a future in which Russia is much freer than it was then (or is now).
My favorite Chekov moments are:
- The Deadly Years. Chekov, being the only member of a landing party not infected by a deadly rapid-aging virus, is subjected to endless tests, leading to a rant to Sulu on the bridge, and his declaring “I’ll live. But I won’t enjoy it.
- Of Chekov’s many and often dubious claims of inventions, sayings, or discoveries originating from Russia, probably my favorite is from The Trouble With Tribbles, where it takes both Kirk and Spock to convince him he’s mistaken about an early space discovery being made by a Russian.
Check out Chekov’s page on memory-alpha