Though the rebooted Star Trek was basically a testament to the direct replaceability of the franchise's stars, it seems J.J. Abrams is willing to make a sensible exception when it comes to replacing Anton Yelchin as Chekov.
"I would say there's no replacing him. There's no recasting. I can't possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better," Abrams replied.
As for whether that means Yelchin's Chekov will be killed off, he added, "I have thought about it, we're working on it, and it's too early to talk about it."
In the end, what the production goes with could well come down to what unused footage of Yelchin remains, and whether any of it makes it seem like he's maybe just been accidentally left at a gas station.