Ensign Pavel Chekov, played by Walter Koenig, was added to the cast of the original Star Trek series at the beginning of its second season, first appearing in "Catspaw (TOS)". Endearing in his eagerness ("Sorry, Ceptin"), Chekov is best remembered for his overdone accent, switching Vs and Ws and so forth, and his insistence that nearly every significant discovery and invention in human history was made by a Russian.

Legend has it that the young Russian Ensign was added after an editorial in Pravda complained about the lack of Russian crew aboard the USS Enterprise. Since the USSR was a leader in space exploration in the 20th century, then it stood to reason that Russians would be active participants in the 23rd. Gene Roddenberry agreed and added the character of Chekov. This story is completely untrue and was cooked up by an over-imaginative person in the publicity department. Chekov was actually added to appeal to younger demographics and was designed to imitate one of those scruffy, accented teenagers that American kids liked so much in the late 1960s. He was pattered after Davy Jones of the Monkees, and Koenig was forced to wear a wig, which he hated, until his hair became bushy enough.

"I never felt Star Trek was silly. I felt I was silly. Swallows kept trying to nest in the wig they gave me."

In the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Chekov is the first officer of the USS Reliant. He and Captain Clark Terrell beam down to Ceti Alpha V and fall into the clutches of Khan Noonian Singh. Khan recognizes Chekov, which is a bit of a continuity problem since the episode of the series Khan appeared in, Space Seed (TOS), is a first season episode which predates Chekov’s debut. Fans usually explain this away by reasoning that Chekov was a lower level functionary in the bowels of the ship before he was promoted to bridge duty.

Chekov’s character was cut from the animated series due to budgetary restrictions, but Koenig would go on to write an episode of the show. Chekov does appear in all the films featuring the original series cast, promoted to the rank of Commander.

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