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Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek: What happened?

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino was supposed to make an R-rated Star Trek movie. Pic credit: @ImageCollect/Admedia

Fans of Quentin Tarantino have been living the roller coaster ride that is his journey in the Star Trek franchise.

In 2017, the news broke that Tarantino, one of the best directors working in the industry, had an idea for an R-rated Star Trek movie, and Paramount was moving on it. By 2020, news hit that Tarantino was out.

Here is the story of what happened with Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek movie.

Quentin Tarantino pitched his Star Trek idea to J.J. Abrams

When one thinks of Quentin Tarantino movies, they see the ultra-violent films with some of the best dialogue in cinema. However, what they all have in common is that they are R-rated films as Tarantino makes his movies for adult audiences.

When one thinks of Star Trek, the ideas and ideals of the Federation are adult-oriented, but the series was aimed for fans of all ages. It may not be as kid-friendly as Star Wars, but it isn’t R-rated.

That made the news that hit in 2017 that Tarantino was planning to make an R-rated Star Trek movie surprising.

That is what happened, though.

Deadline reported in December 2017 that Tarantino pitched his Star Trek idea to J.J. Abrams, who brought Star Trek to a new generation on the big screen. Abrams liked it and planned to put together a writer’s room, and if it worked out, Tarantino would direct the movie.

This would have been the first Quentin Tarantino movie that he did not create on his own, although he did direct an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard book in the past (Jackie Brown).

However, the announcement also said that it would be a Tarantino movie, which means violence and language, and Tarantino gets final cut on most of his films.

Tarantino’s Star Trek would not be part of ongoing series

The one thing that he guaranteed was that the Quentin Tarantino Star Trek movie would not be part of the ongoing Star Trek movie universe.

Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in Star Trek, said that the fourth movie was still in the works (as of May 2018) and it had nothing to do with the Tarantino movie, and a director had already been chosen for Star Trek 4 at the time (S.J. Clarkson).

“Quentin’s idea is another thing,” Pegg said. “He came into Bad Robot and pitched it, and it’s been put in the bank. I think he had us in mind when he came up with the idea; he likes the new cast. But he’s going to be so busy with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that I can’t see him doing it for five or six years, by which time we might be too old anyway.”

Also, it should be known that Tarantino is not a fan of the Kelvin Timeline (the new movie series), so using the cast from those movies made little sense anyway.

Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek had a script

By June 2018, a script was turned in for the Quentin Tarantino Star Trek movie. This was also very unusual for Tarantino, who wrote all his films. Screenwriting was Tarantino’s strongest point in his career.

The team put in place included Mark L. Smith (The Revenant) as the writer. However, Smith wrote the script based on Tarantino’s story treatment.

At the time, Paramount president Wyck Godfrey said that the Tarantino Star Trek movie was a priority.

“Imagine, for instance, Paramount giving ‘Star Trek’ to Quentin Tarantino. Suddenly people’s eyes light up,” Godfrey said. “Yours just did.”

Tarantino talks his Star Trek film

A year later, Quentin Tarantino was talking about his Star Trek film. The director had finally released his ninth movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and had time to look at his next project.

However, this has fans worried. Tarantino has said that he planned only to make 10 movies and retire. Would Star Trek be his final movie and not an original film? Or would Star Trek not count since it was not a Tarantino original idea?

In July 2019, Tarantino talked in the Happy Sad Confused podcast about his Star Trek movie, proving it was still in development.

Tarantino said that the movie would take place in the Star Trek world that he grew up watching because he didn’t understand the new Kelvin Timeline. He said Abrams explained it to him, and he still didn’t get it.

“I don’t buy that. I don’t like it. I don’t appreciate it. F–k that. I don’t like that. I want the whole series to have happened! It just hasn’t happened yet,” Tarantino said about wiping the slate clean in the new movies.

He said he told Abrams this and was told: “Do whatever you want! If you want to do it the exact way it happened in the [original series], it can.”

He did mention in the same podcast that he loved the cast of Abrams’ movies, saying that Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto “nailed it” as Kirk and Spock.

Tarantino backs out of Star Trek

Exactly two years after Deadline reported that Quentin Tarantino wanted to make a Star Trek movie, Consequences of Sounds interviewed the director, who said he wasn’t likely making the movie anymore.

So, what happened?

“I think I’m steering away from Star Trek, but I haven’t had an official conversation with those guys yet,” Tarantino said.

Tarantino said that, as much as he said he would finish with 10 movies, he finished Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and thought it could be his last movie. He said, if he makes another movie, he has no idea what it would be at that time.

He then also said that he had an idea that maybe his last film would be a small one, for a smaller audience, almost like “an author’s note.”

That would not be Star Trek.

However, Tarantino then said in that interview Paramount still planned to make his Star Trek movie, but he would not be the director.

“It’s a good idea. They should definitely do it, and I’ll be happy to come in and give them some notes on the first rough cut,” Tarantino said

Furthermore, it would still be separate from the main franchise, which has now brought in Noah Hawley (Legion) to direct Star Trek 4.

Meanwhile, Tarantino fans are just waiting to see what is next for the acclaimed director, if he even plans to make his 10th movie.


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