Anton Yelchin’s 'Trollhunters' Role Is Special

It's always tragic when a beloved actor dies, but that pain is, in many ways, even more pronounced when it's a promising, very young performer who passes away. 2016 has been a noteworthy year for celebrity deaths, but one of the most shocking was that of actor Anton Yelchin. He died in a freak accident back in June, after becoming pinned by his own car in his driveway. The 27-year-old actor had been a rising star in Hollywood over the past several years and left behind a slate of unreleased projects, including Trollhunters, one of Anton Yelchin's last roles.

Trollhunters is an upcoming Netflix/DreamWorks animated family-friendly series. The much-anticipated new show was created by Guillermo Del Toro, the award-winning and critically-acclaimed director of Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Crimson Peak. The show had been in development for many years, bandied about since 2010, when it was originally conceived of as a DreamWorks full-length feature film. Eventually, the project became a television series and was picked up by Netflix back in January.

Yelchin voiced the lead role of Jim, a 15-year-old boy "who is transformed into the Trollhunter, defender of the good trolls, after stumbling upon a magical amulet," fighting alongside his best friend Toby (voiced by Charlie Saxton) and a good troll named Blinky (Kelsey Grammer). The group fights against Bular, an evil troll (voiced by frequent Del Toro collaborator Ron Perlman).

At the time of his death, Yelchin had been recording his voice work for the first season of the animated series, but when he died, there still remained work to be done. His unexpected demise left up in the air whether Yelchin's work would be entirely replaced in the final product or how the studio would handle finalizing the voice work left incomplete for the character Jim.

When speaking to press shortly before the first two episodes of the series premiered at New York Comic Con in October, Del Toro explained that he'd flatly refused to cut out any of Yelchin's work. "I refused to strategize, this was a great guy we lost," Del Toro told the Daily News. "So we didn't go into a meeting, we didn't have a conference [...] I said, 'We need to keep him.' He was a great guy to work with, he was proud of what he did, we were proud of what he did. The last sessions were some of the best work he did."

Thanks to Del Toro's insistence, viewers will be able to experience some of the last work that Yelchin completed before his death now that Trollhunters has premiered on Netflix this Friday, Dec. 23. In addition to the animated adventure series, Yelchin had also recently finished filming two features, Thoroughbred and Rememory, and had filmed two additional indie films in 2015 (We Don't Belong Here and Porto) that have yet to be released. His death is a terrible loss to the entertainment industry and the world in general, but I'm happy that his talent will live on for future generations to appreciate and admire.