A number of oddball headlines make their way through the film news beat, with word about potential ideas and productions being just that and never coming to fruition. The news of Quentin Tarantino making a successful pitch to J.J. Abrams for a new Star Trek movie was one such headline, but unlike a lot of other pipe dreams, this headline keeps reemerging his head. The question that is on everyone’s mind as a result is where such a Star Trek film would fit into Tarantino’s long-talked about retirement plans.
According to Tarantino himself, speaking to CinemaBlend for their podcast, should the writer-director commit to such a film, it would be his tenth and final film, fulfilling his promise of only making ten feature films. Before this podcast appearance, fans tried to reconcile the Star Trek pitch with his career plans, proposing a “loophole” where Tarantino meant ten “original” films, with Star Trek being separate from the ten films due to being a licensed property (keep in mind that Tarantino’s third film Jackie Brown is an adaptation of a book, and therefore not actually “original”).
In response to that notion, Tarantino responded with the following:
I guess I do have a loophole, [if] the idea was to throw a loophole into it. Which would be [to go], ‘Uhhh, I guess Star Trek doesn’t count. I can do Star Trek … but naturally I would end on an original.’ But the idea of doing 10 isn’t to come up with a loophole. I actually think, if I was going to do Star Trek, I should commit to it. It’s my last movie. There should be nothing left handed about it. I don’t know if I’m going to do that, but that might happen.
A lot of “ifs” and “mights,” but it sounds like Tarantino doesn’t want to cheat out of that magic 10 number. It would be an unconventional swan song, especially since his penultimate film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood looks like (to me, at least) a culmination of all of his prior work. While I understand that Tarantino is a big fan of the original series, and the hyper-energetic 2009 reboot film from Abrams is just the kind of film Tarantino would be into, to end his career on that would be head-scratching. Adapting one of the most famous sci-fi franchises is quite different from adapting a Elmore Leonard novel.
Tarantino expanded on this, in his usual rambling way:
There also is another thought process going on where it’s like, yes, [my last movie] could be original. On the other hand, maybe that could show a different career I could’ve had. Whereas maybe [Once Upon a Time in Hollywood] is my last original — I’m not saying this is the case — but maybe this is my last original, and Star Trek or any other thing, a book or something like this, is the career I could have had if I wasn’t just writing everything all the time. Writing always originals. Maybe I could have had a different career if I looked for other people’s scripts, or if I wanted to find a book to be inspired by, and do an adaptation of. That would’ve been a different career. And maybe that could be fun to explore on the 10th [movie]. I don’t know. I mean, I’m making all this up as I go along, but those are two different ways I could look at it.
Ten films is still the plan, but Tarantino’s own rules are very much in flux. I do remember how Tarantino long ago wanted to do his own adaptation of Casino Royale, one that would be in black-and-white, set in the 1960s, and starring Pierce Brosnan, so I’m sure the filmmaker does occasionally fantasize about playing around in other pre-established worlds. The dude directed a goddamn CSI episode, for heaven’s sake. With that, I’d wonder what cast he would use for a Star Trek film. Would this be the new Star Trek 4, since that other project got shelved? Would Tarantino be able to win (read: buy) Chris Pine back?
Whatever the case, such a Tarantino-directed Star Trek film would absolutely be R-rated. Until we figure out what the hell is happening here, fans of the filmmaker can look forward to the release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in July 26, 2019. And if you want to take Tarantino’s word for it, do what you can to avoid spoilers, as if you don’t know what Sharon Tate’s final fate is, I guess.