Following the release of Quentin Tarantino’s darkly comic spaghetti western Django Unchained, the director co-wrote a comic book sequel series pairing up his freed slave bounty hunter character with Diego de la Vega, otherwise known as the swordfighting vigilante Zorro. It was recently reported that Tarantino is working on a film adaptation of the comic.
The Sony emails that were leaked by North Korean hackers revealed that then-Sony boss Amy Pascal had discussed a Django/Zorro movie adaptation with Tarantino, but now, it’s official. So, here are 5 Reasons The Django Unchained Zorro Crossover Sequel Is A Good Idea (And 5 Why It’s Not).
10 Good idea: Audiences would love to see Django again
Quentin Tarantino has stated his intention to write a series of sequel novels continuing the story of Django Freeman after he retires from filmmaking with his tenth and final movie. While this is an exciting prospect and every one of those novels would become a bestseller, it’s not the same as seeing Jamie Foxx in costume in gorgeous anamorphic 35mm film.
There’s no confirmation that Foxx will return to the role in this new sequel, but there’s not much point in doing a sequel if he’s not playing Django, so we have to assume he’s going to be cast – and audiences would love to see that character again.
9 Bad idea: Zorro movies tend to suck
In the 1940s, when swashbuckler movies were all the rage, the Zorro movies were among the most popular in the world. However, Hollywood’s attempts to reboot the franchise in the decades since then have proven to be less than fruitful.
1998’s The Mask of Zorro wasn’t too bad, but it was also quite clichéd and predictable, while its 2005 follow-up The Legend of Zorro was universally panned. Having the great Quentin Tarantino working behind the scenes on this one gives it a better chance of succeeding, but the critical and audience response to Death Proof have proven that even he isn’t infallible.
8 Good idea: Jerrod Carmichael is a sharp new voice in comedy
It’s been reported that Jerrod Carmichael has been hired by Tarantino to write the Django/Zorro movie. Carmichael is the stand-up comic famous for his critically acclaimed sitcom, The Carmichael Show, and he’s currently working on the script for the 48 Hrs. remake.
Carmichael is one of the sharpest voices in comedy right now. His sitcom provided a fresh satirical take on racial issues. This makes him the perfect person to write a sequel to Django Unchained, a movie that deals with very sensitive racial issues in a very overtly satirical way. If Carmichael brings the same wit to this script as he did with his sitcom, then we’re in for a real treat.
7 Bad idea: The original stands perfectly on its own
Film buffs will forever debate what the greatest film of Quentin Tarantino is. The only thing fans seem to be able to agree on is that Death Proof is the worst. But everyone has their own idea of what his best is. It could be Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill. Some fans also believe that Jackie Brown is the director’s underrated masterpiece.
But Django Unchained is a strong contender. The spaghetti western has always been Tarantino’s greatest influence, so when he finally made one, he just ran with it. It’s one of those incredible, one-of-a-kind movies that should be left alone, un-sequelized.
6 Good idea: It wouldn’t be a proper sequel, so it wouldn’t ruin the original
A proper sequel to Django Unchained would be written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and follow on from the core storyline. The next chapter of this story would see Django riding across the South, freeing other slaves.
Teaming up the title character with Zorro makes the new project more of a spin-off than a full-blown sequel. So, it’s sort of a win-win situation. If it turns out to be great, then it’ll stand beside the original as a cinematic two-hander, and if turns out to be disappointing, then it can just be swept under the rug without sullying the original, leaving its legacy intact.
5 Bad idea: The original was very controversial
As soon as Django Unchained was released in 2012, it was met with a wave of controversy for its sense of humor and spaghetti western violence, given its subject matter, as well as its liberal use of racial epithets. This even led to boycotts, including one by notable African-American filmmaker Spike Lee.
Some viewers (and cast member Samuel L. Jackson) defended the film for its violence, because the violence by Django against the white slavers may have been comical and cartoonish, but the violence by the white slavers against their slaves was depicted as suitably sickening and gruesome. Still, on the whole, it was a controversial movie. We’re living in a world now where even a forward-thinking body-positivity comedy like I Feel Pretty inspires scornful controversy. So, if anything, the sequel will be even more controversial.
4 Good idea: It’ll give us a fresh take on the Django character
In Django Unchained, we got the Django Freeman character as written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. As the creator of the character, Tarantino’s version will always be the definitive take on the character. But as long as Tarantino isn’t writing and probably won’t be directing the new sequel, we’ll get someone else’s take on the character. If anything, that’ll be interesting.
We can’t yet comment on whether it’ll be better or worse, but it’ll be new and fresh and exciting, at the very least. With Jerrod Carmichael writing the screenplay, it’ll be interesting to see an African-American writer’s vision of Django. The biggest criticism of Django Unchained was that Tarantino is a white writer and therefore unqualified to write about the experience of black slaves. The hiring of Carmichael rectifies that.
3 Bad idea: There’s no Dr. Schultz
The central dynamic in Django Unchained was the relationship between the titular freed slave and his mentor, dentist-turned-bounty-hunter Dr. King Schultz. In the Django/Zorro crossover comic, Django has the same sort of dynamic with Zorro – he’s an older guy who takes him under his wing and doesn’t judge him based on his race.
But still, what made the first movie such a delight was the chemistry shared by Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz, and Dr. Schultz died in the third act of that movie, so he won’t be in the sequel, which will mean it won’t have what made the original so fun.
2 Good idea: The comic was a lot of fun
The Django/Zorro comic book series marked the first time that a Quentin Tarantino movie had been given an official sequel in comic book form. So, there were a lot of expectations riding on it. Still, by some miracle, it managed to live up to the hype. If the movie doesn’t stray too far from the source material and adapts the comic pretty closely, then we could be in for a real treat.
The MCU has shown that when it comes to comic book movies, the closer to the comics, the better. Stick with the comic. The comic works. Uncharted territory is where things start to get dicey in comic book adaptations.
1 Bad idea: We have enough franchises
There’s no way this Django sequel can end well for film audiences. Even if the sequel comes out and, through divine intervention, it manages to please fans of the original and stand on its own as a great movie and it becomes a huge hit at the box office, the studio won’t stop there.
They’ll keep pushing and pushing, turning Django into a long-running movie franchise. And let’s face it, we have enough franchises to keep up with: the MCU, Star Wars, the MonsterVerse – even smaller franchises like John Wick require us to keep up to date with a fictional universe. When that happens with Django, the studio will continue to beat that cash cow until the movies eventually dip in quality.