Iconic post-modern filmmaker Quentin Tarantino incorporated spaghetti western elements throughout his throwback Kung Fu revenge tale Kill Bill, followed by the Nazi-killing adventure Inglourious Basterds. How appropriate, then, that he should go on to create a proper homage to the genre with Django Unchained (read our review), which is currently stirring up the pot of controversy over its depiction of slavery and African-American history.
Now, the auteur is planning to round out his historical revenge fantasy trilogy with a final installment that likewise builds on Django by fully saluting the Blaxploitation genre - and incorporates Basterds' men-on-a-mission sub-genre inspiration - that could go under the title Killer Crow.
Earlier this month, Tarantino sat down for an interview with The Root's editor-in-chief and professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. Their discussion was focused on Django - including, cinematic traditions it draws from and the film's depiction of slavery - but it began with the writer-director (and occasional actor) being asked "What's next on the list of oppressors to off?"
Tarantino offered the following:
I don't know exactly when I'm going to do it, but there's something about this that would suggest a trilogy. My original idea for Inglourious Basterds way back when was that this [would be] a huge story that included the [smaller] story that you saw in the film, but also followed a bunch of black troops, and they had been f--ked over by the American military and kind of go apes--t. They basically -- the way Lt. Aldo Raines (Brad Pitt) and the Basterds are having an "Apache resistance" -- [the] black troops go on an Apache warpath and kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland.
What's interesting about this proposition is that such a film would indeed build on the themes of Django, which (in its own Tarantino-esque way) is about the birth of the archetypal Blaxploitation protagonist. Quite literally, as Tarantino revealed at Comic-Con that he imagined the eponymous character (Jamie Foxx) and his wife Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington) to be John Shaft's ancestors. Therefore, Killer Crow would explore the next stage in the (pseudo-)history of Blaxploitation cinema, while also bringing things full circle to the WW II setting of Basterds:
So that was always going to be part of it. And I was going to do it as a miniseries, and that was going to be one of the big storylines. When I decided to try to turn it into a movie, that was a section I had to take out to help tame my material. I have most of that written. It's ready to go; I just have to write the second half of it.
Tarantino added that such a project would be called Killer Crow ("or something like that") and unfold after the Normandy invasion in 1944, concurrent with Basterds. Moreover, he indicated some of the Basterds could make an appearance since the two stories immediately overlap. Who knows, maybe one of Django's descendants will be among the character ranks, lending further credence to the popular unified QT universe theory.
Django has incited outrage for reasons ranging from the savage nature of its world to its anachronistic mix of elements, be it the soundtrack or visual shout-outs to other films. Of course, the heavy use of racial epithets continues to prompt anger from prominent black artists like Spike Lee (who's bound to have something to say about QT planning a film about black soldiers in WW II, following his own project Miracle at St. Anna).
Here's what Tarantino said, with regard to Django's portrayal of history:
Well, you know if you're going to make a movie about slavery and are taking a 21st-century viewer and putting them in that time period, you're going to hear some things that are going to be ugly, and you're going see some things that are going be ugly. That's just part and parcel of dealing truthfully with this story, with this environment, with this land. Personally, I find [the criticism] ridiculous. Because it would be one thing if people are out there saying, "You use [the n-word] much more excessively in this movie than it was used in 1858 in Mississippi." Well, nobody's saying that. And if you're not saying that, you're simply saying I should be lying. I should be watering it down. I should be making it more easy to digest.
No, I don't want it to be easy to digest. I want it to be a big, gigantic boulder, a jagged pill and you have no water.
Indeed, the evolution of that derogatory term (and the culture of discrimination it symbolizes) has been quietly touched upon previously in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown; Django shines an uncomfortable spotlight on the issue that makes it impossible to ignore. Expect Killer Crow to follow that trend - and keep the buzz (good and bad) circling Tarantino's name once it finally sees the light of day.
For more insight about the research and thought process behind Django Unchained (which is now in theaters), check out The Root's full Tarantino interview.
Meanwhile, we'll keep you posted on Killer Crow as the story develops.
Source: The Root