Pavel Chekov had quite a bit of romance during Star Trek’s original run.
Star Trek: The Original Series often gets criticized for how many one-episode romances Captain Kirk had. Yet, did Pavel Chekov, who didn’t join the crew until the second season, have almost as many romances as his captain? Was the Russian answer to Davy Jones less prone to falling for aliens than Kirk, looking for love with his fellow crew members?
Pavel Chekov was known for saying “X was invented in Russia” and using his charm on several women throughout his two seasons on The Enterprise. However, it is interesting to note that Pavel Chekov did not always follow the same romantic path Kirk did.
Kirk often used romance to achieve a goal with female aliens or female Starfleet officers. Pavel Chekov often seemed to be genuinely interested in the women he had romances with. Was Pavel Chekov more interested in romance for romance’s sake than Kirk? Were his romances more focused on finding a long-term partner?
Looking at Pavel Chekov’s love interests across Star Trek
Pavel Chekov Romance in Star Trek: The Original Series (N/A in The Animated Series)
Pavel Chekov was introduced in season two of TOS when more romantic plotlines were introduced to the series overall. The first four episodes he appears in, “Catspaw”, “Friday’s Child”, “Who Mourns for Adonais?”, and “Amok Time” are more focused on establishing Pavel Chekov as a character as the romances in these episodes do not involve him.
The first episode to feature a Pavel Chekov love interest “The Apple” immediately has him in a relationship with the Yeoman of the Episode, Martha Landon. What makes this unique is that dialogue implies this relationship is known to most of the away party. Kirk even chastises them for wanting to sneak off. Compare this to most of the other relationships seen in the series where it is love at first sight or the relationship seems to be fairly new. Pavel Chekov and Martha Landon appear to have been in a relationship prior to the episode and are very attracted to each other.
Pavel Chekov is not involved in another romantic plotline until “The Gamesters Of Triskelion” where his drill thrall expresses romantic interest in him. Pavel Chekov does not return these, however, although it is not clear if he doesn’t like how forward she is or if he does not find her attractive. This is also unique as many romantic plotlines in TOS are mutual. Does this point to Chekov having a type or being more interested in long-term relationships?
“Spectre of the Gun” finds Pavel Chekov being mistaken for Billy Clanton and kissed by Sylvia, ‘Billy’s girlfriend’ who is really an energy being. Even though he protests at first Pavel Chekov does seem to fall for her later in the episode. Most of the following episodes do not involve Pavel Chekov in a romantic role of any kind. As the canonical newbie, Pavel Chekov often ends up as the character who gets hurt the most, whether that means having an alien take over his memories, being part of the landing party who gets injured, turned into a side character who comments about something, and so on.
One of Pavel Chekov’s most well-known love interests is Irina Galliulin from “The Way to Eden”. They drifted apart during their time at Starfleet Academy as Irina Galliulin considered Pavel Chekov too rigid and he considered her too free-spirited. When the Enterprise takes aboard Dr. Sevrin’s acolytes, including Irina Galliulin, their past lets her manipulate him to learn about the Enterprise’s systems so that Servin can hijack a craft to seek the Eden planet his followers have been looking for. Although Pavel Chekov is hurt by this betrayal, they have a final scene where they mourn their lost relationship, opening up the opportunity that they might reconcile after the failed attempt to find Eden has left Irina Galliulin to find a new goal in life.
Pavel Chekov was not part of the crew during The Animated Series. While the in-universe reason was he was transferred, could Pavel Chekov also have found romance on another ship? TAS had much less romance than TOS so even if Chekov had been part of the crew, he might never have a romantic plotline.
Pavel Chekov was a father (almost twice!)
It is interesting to note that Demora Sulu was originally Demora Chekov in the Star Trek Generations script. While there is no clear story about why she was changed from Chekov’s daughter to Sulu’s (as the change from Chekov to Sulu occurred before casting), she is close to Chekov, possibly indicating he introduced her parents to each other or is her “Uncle Pavel”.
Pavel Chekov did become a father offscreen sometime following the five-year mission as his son Anton is the President of the United Federation of Planets in the Picard finale “The Last Generation”. Audiences do not see him, but he is identified by name. Sadly, the audience does not get to learn more about Anton – has he gone to politics after a Starfleet career? Did he serve alongside Demora, taking the Sulu and Chekov friendship into the next generation? A different President of the United Federations of Planets was seen during TNG so Anton could have been a politician who had yet to run for president or he could have been in a different field entirely.
What remains true for Pavel Chekov from his original appearance to his son Anton’s introduction decades later is that he was not a romantic in the same way Kirk was. Pavel Chekov’s relationships tended to be less about instant attraction and more about seeking a long-term romantic relationship. He does have more relationships than Sulu, but do others match him?
Pavel Chekov Love Interests: 4 on-screen (1 mutual; 1 with a one-sided crush; 1 energy being; 1 past relationship) 1 off-screen (implied)