Quentin Tarantino’s History of Franchise Almosts

With ‘Star Trek’, Tarantino looks set to tackle a franchise movie. He’s toyed with the idea in the past, though.

Quentin Tarantino Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Quentin Tarantino is one of those lucky filmmakers who’s been able to forge a successful career making original films. Sure, Jackie Brown was adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel and Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained boast similar titles to the Italian genre films that inspired their creation. But, for the most part, he’s focused on bringing his own ideas to life.

Hence why it was surprising when we first heard that the auteur behind Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill was developing a Star Trek movie — one that would be loaded with his trademark F bomb-laden dialogue and violence no less. I suppose crazier things have happened.

Well, now that his Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is almost upon us, conversations about his planned Star Trek film have arisen once again. And as it so happens, to boldly go where several other filmmakers have gone before is still very much on Tarantino’s agenda.

Chatting with Empire magazine, Tarantino confirmed that a script based on his idea has been written. On top of that, he once again stated that the plan is to make his film an edgier take on a franchise that’s been family-friendly until now. He said:

“It’s an R-rated movie. If I do it, it’ll be R-rated…There’s a script that exists for it now. I need to weigh in on it, but I haven’t been able to do that yet.”

If Tarantino does decide to step behind the director’s chair for this one, it could very well be his final film. The director has stated his intention to retire after 10 movies, and his cinematic swan song might very well be something that he’s avoided until now — a studio franchise movie.

Of course, Tarantino has never ruled out lending his talents to franchise fare. Throughout the years, he’s been linked with several films that fit the criteria, and he even showed interest in helming a couple of them.

Long before Martin Campbell’s 2006 adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale novel was on the James Bond producers’ minds, Tarantino was interested in realizing the story. He wanted the film — which would have still starred Pierce Brosnan as 007 — to be a period piece that would have served as a sequel of sorts to Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Unfortunately, the rights to the film weren’t available at the time and Tarantino lost interest. The end.

Another spy caper that Tarantino considered doing was The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Following the success of Pulp Fiction, a feature-length redo of the ’60s spy series was offered to him. While he eventually turned the project down to focus on Jackie Brown, he briefly entertained the idea, later revealing how he wanted to cast his From Dusk Till Dawn co-star George Clooney in the lead role of Napoleon Solo and himself as Ilya Kuryakin.

The director has also been attached to superhero properties. After his Grindhouse installment Death Proof flopped, reports suggested that Tarantino was eyeing a comic book adaptation in a bid to get his career back on track. He was offered the reins to the Green Lantern film, but the project didn’t interest him in the slightest. Elsewhere, there were rumblings of him bringing The Shadow back to the big screen, but the story turned out to be a complete fabrication.

That said, the closest Tarantino ever came to making a superhero movie was prior to the 21st century boom period. After Reservoir Dogs, he expressed a desire to make a Luke Cage: Hero for Hire movie. The director has always been a huge fan of the character and, given his affinity for Blaxploitation, it’s understandable why this Marvel property appealed to him. It wasn’t to be, though. Tarantino instead turned his attention to Pulp Fiction and never looked back.

If history tells us anything, it’s that Tarantino has a short attention span when it comes to ideas that weren’t conjured by his own imagination. While his Star Trek involvement has survived longer than previous attempts to get involved in the franchise game, don’t be surprised if he proceeds to do something else instead.

Kieran is a Daily Curator for the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.