Updated: Oct 18, 2021
The notion of a Star Trek film originally set to be helmed by one of the biggest modern influences on pop culture cinema is undeniably tantalizing to any rabid fan of the director. Regrettably, the director will no longer be helming the much anticipated film, but his much talked about script still has a galactic level of potential and its production is not off the table. Many secrets surrounding the prospective film have been well kept, but here are some very in depth things we absolutely do know about Quentin Tarantino's much anticipated and yet to be named: STAR TREK.
It's R-Rated, Baby!
Find it difficult to imagine the man who showed an intimate close-up of Adolph Hitler's face being riddled with bullets submitting to a PG-13 rating? So do we. Luckily we won't have to see the man's psychotically imaginative and violently creative writing style watered down, whether he would "beam Chekov's innards into space" as Badger of Breaking Bad would hope, remains a mystery. In an interview with Empire, Tarantino said "The script is done...Oh yeah! It's an R-rated movie. If I do it, it'll be R-rated." But to get a better grasp on what kind of action we can expect from his adaptation, we can look at what part of the universe serves as a setting for the script.
It's Based On the Original Star Trek episode "A Piece of the Action" (1968)
"A Piece of the Action" was first released in 1968 as episode 17 of season 2 in Star Trek: The Original Series. This episode centers around an earth-like alien planet that the Enterprise discovers while taken prisoner by a culture which imitates Earth's 1920's gangsters. Any viewer of Tarantino's work can see the layers of gangster and Kung-Fu inspiration beneath the surface, so the setting is unsurprising as it would be difficult to imagine a large-scale grandiose adaptation for a director who is so focused on subjecting the human to the inhumane. Tarantino during the few cases where he has spoken about the film described it as "Pulp Fiction in space", which unfortunately sheds little light further than what we would expect. Writer Mark L. Smith who worked in close proximity with Tarantino throughout the Paramount pre-production has since revealed more details surrounding Tarantino's script and the early development stages, details certain to instill hope.
Mark L. Smith's Recollection of Early Development
Back in 2017, J.J. Abrams, director of Cloverfield (2008) brought together a writer's room consisting of Tarantino, Mark L. Smith (The Revenant), Lindsey Beer (Chaos Walking), Drew Pearce (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) and Megan Amram (The Good Place) to begin development on Tarantino's script. On the "Bulletproof Screenwriting" podcast, Smith reveals "that was the first day I met Quentin, in the room and he’s reading a scene that he wrote and it was this awesome cool gangster scene, and he’s acting it out back and forth. I told him, I was so mad I didn’t record it on my phone. It would be so valuable. It was amazing!” Smith even hints at themes of time travel within the narrative. “Then just we started working,” Smith continued. “I would go hang out at his house one night and we would watch old gangster films. We were there for hours. … We were just kicking back watching gangster films, laughing at the bad dialogue, but talking about how it would bleed into what we wanted to do. Kirk’s in it, we’ve got him. All the characters are there. It would be those guys. I guess you would look at it like all the episodes of the show didn’t really connect. So this would be almost its own episode. A very cool episode. There’s a little time travel stuff going on. … It’s really wild.”
The Future of the Film
After stepping away from the project in January, 2020, Tarantino told Deadline “I think they might make that movie, but I just don’t think I’m going to direct it. 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.” This sentiment is continued by Mark L. Smith who thinks the script is far from dead in the water and is instead waiting for a new director to bring it to life. Will the film see the light of day, or remain in the vast of night? Nevertheless, we can only hope that Paramount may one day release the script for our reading pleasures if it never comes to fruition. Please?
Quentin Tarantino is currently in pre-production on what is expected to be his tenth and final film, using the term "epilogue-y" as his only descriptor. He has plans to move into theatre following his retirement from filmmaking.
Filming at the Mouth, 2021