It’s safe to say that every Quentin Tarantino fan in existence right now is well aware that in two weeks, the eighth film by the controversial director is going to have its initial release. The Hateful Eight is sure to be a visual feast for those lucky enough to catch a 70mm screening during its limited roadshow run, but as any Tarantino fan knows – whether it’s a limited 70mm screening or the nation wide digital screening in January, there’s going to be plenty to see and experience. Tarantino does not have a reputation for disappointing fans.
One thing that Quentin Tarantino definitely does have a reputation for, however, is creating cinematic worlds that all connect to one immense Tarantino universe. A keen eye will pick out the telltale signs time and time again: There’s the Red Apple brand cigarettes that appear in Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Vol.2 and Django Unchained; Big Kahuna Burger features in Pulp Fiction, From Dusk Till Dawn and Reservoir Dogs; and beyond mere products, there’s the fact that Pulp Fiction’s Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Reservoir Dogs' Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) are actually brothers.
This continuation of Quentin Tarantino lore is an interesting element to his storytelling, giving fans something more to explore and lose themselves in long after they’ve seen the films. Now with The Hateful Eight about to be released, Tarantino has spoken of yet another link in his universe, this time between the The Hateful Eight and the Oscar-winning Django Unchained. In an interview with DP/30's David Poland, Tarantino talks about initially setting out to write a Django novel, which gradually morphed into The Hateful Eight:
"I hadn’t written a novel before, I thought I would just try my hand at writing this Django paperback. At the time it was called Django in White Hell. And it was basically just, you know – so I started writing - and it was basically just the stagecoach stuff, you know, all the stuff that we have in the story of the stagecoach, instead of Major Warren it was Django. And I was working on that and I hadn’t got to Minnie’s Haberdashery yet, hadn’t figured out who the other people would be there, just kind of, just setting this mystery into place."
As it turns out, the more that Tarantino wrote of this Django novel, the more he realised that something just wasn’t right. What he eventually concluded was that it was the character of Django who didn’t fit. According to Tarantino, Django represented too much of a moral centre in the piece. Rather than have a character that fans were already familiar with as a good guy, Tarantino wanted characters that were all equally questionable in terms of a moral compass. Django was out and The Hateful Eight grew into something more solid.
The concept of having characters that are all potentially untrustworthy isn’t a new one for Tarantino – Reservoir Dogs covered that ground to a certain degree. However, as far as a concept for a story goes, it’s a very interesting one if the storyteller has the skills to pull it off. Fortunately, the storyteller in this case is a highly skilled one and the more information we get on The Hateful Eight, the more intriguing the idea of slipping back into the Tarantino universe becomes.
The Hateful Eight will be presented in 70mm in select U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2015, with a nationwide digital release now planned for January 1st, 2016.