Quentin Tarantino is developing a Star Trek movie – here is everything we know about the project. The franchise has returned to its TV roots with Star Trek: Discovery debuting on CBS All Access earlier this year, but the film branch has been quiet since 2016’s Beyond underperformed at the box office. With Paramount looking to again revive the series, and Tarantino’s own established interest and sudden availability, it makes sense that there’d be some interest from both parties.
Right now, everything is still in a nebulous, early form and so plans all very open to change. But there is still a lot of information out there.
Where Tarantino Is In His Career Now (This Page)
Tarantino Is Looking For A New Home
For the majority of his career, Tarantino worked with Miramax/The Weinstein Company. When Tarantino’s first film, Reservoir Dogs premiered at 1992’s Sundance film festival, it was the Weinsteins who obtained the distribution rights. Tarantino felt indebted to them and was close with both brothers. For the next 25 years, all of his pictures were produced by them. There were minor exceptions: he guest-directed an episode of ER and a scene in Sin City – but for the most part he was locked at TWC.
However, things changed earlier this year. Following the downfall of Harvey Weinstein in light of extensive sexual harassment and abuse allegations, Tarantino left the company, with his next film – a 1969 period piece tangentially related to Charles Manson – finding a home at Sony, and him open to work on a variety of different projects.
Tarantino Has Near-History With Franchise Films
While the TWC situation may have catalyzed the Trek development, Tarantino has always shown an attraction to franchise filmmaking. In 2005 he was a contender to helm the Daniel Craig-led reboot Casino Royale. His pitch – a direct sequel to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, showing Bond dealing with the death of his wife from the end of the George Lazenby-starring film – was not accepted and as Tarantino did not want to tone down his vision, things didn’t work out.
However, it’s an interest he has maintained. In fact, since leaving TWC, there has been a groundswell of support for Tarantino to direct the upcoming Bond 25 film, which is expected to be Daniel Craig’s final portrayal of the character.
Evidently, the director isn’t above franchise filmmaking and will come round to it should the right situation come about: which may have arrived with Star Trek.
Tarantino Boards the Enterprise – With A Crew
J.J. Abrams is gathering a writer’s room to develop Tarantino’s Star Trek pitch into a script while Tarantino is working on his latest film. At the end of the process, if both sides like the script, it would be sent to Paramount for approval. While things are still in an embryonic stage, it is presumed that Abrams would produce the film, with Tarantino sharing writing credit and potentially directing. It’s unclear what Tarantino’s pitch is, although we have some clues from discussions he’s had in the past…
Page 2 of 2: How Tarantino Slots Into Star Trek's Future
Pitch on the Edge of Forever
Back in 2015, Tarantino was a guest on the Nerdist podcast and, when pressed, claimed he would prefer to direct a Star Trek film rather than a Star Wars film. He grew up watching The Original Series and felt that William Shatner is the gateway to become a fan of Trek; even though he wasn’t as big a fan of The Next Generation, the director was more than clear on the history of the franchise, in-universe and proprietorially. He also mentioned the desire to remaking classic episodes from The Original Series and The Next Generation – specifically name-checking “City on the Edge of Forever” and “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”
Both episodes are classics of their respective series, depicting the characters dealing with time travel and alternate realities. The basic story of “City” finds Kirk, Spock, and McCoy sent back to 1930s New York on the cusp of World War II. They encounter Edith Keeler, a peace activist who if allowed to live, would successfully keep America out of the war. The Allies would lose and history would be altered. Rather than save her, they have to let her die in an accident so that history could right itself. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” sees the Enterprise-C, the predecessor to Picard’s ship, accidentally fall through a temporal anomaly, and into his era. The resultant absence of the Enterprise-C in its own time causes history to take a much darker turn as both crews race to save the Alpha Quadrant from war. In the end, they must essentially sacrifice one of their own to save history as they know it.
Both of these were risky episodes that dealt with the morality of letting a good person die so that others may live: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.”
Tarantino May Reignite Star Trek Movies
When Star Trek went into hibernation following the back-to-back failures of film Star Trek: Nemesis in 2003 and the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005, one of the main reasons for the failure was its lack of ideas. The franchise was complacent and in need of a new vision. J.J. Abrams brought new eyes to the film series in 2009 but that too eventually saw decreasing returns in the box office. Trek since returned to television with Discovery but is relegated to the All Access streaming service, which limits its appeal.
Ultimately, Star Trek is currently suffering now from the same thing it was then: a house style. Trek thrived on new voices and innovative ideas, and Tarantino could be what we’re looking for. He’s a specific creative with a distinct voice who’s made it clear with his previous projects that he will do things his way. If given the creative control he needs, we could break through the lens-flare miasma of current Star Trek, and see, for the first time in too many years, something new.
A Potential Star Trek Release Date
Prior to Quentin Tarantino’s being added to the running, the next Trek movie was in a state of flux. Star Trek Beyond had a difficult birth. Initially, Roberto Orci (who had co-written the prior two Abrams-Trek films) was locked to direct the film, but was dismissed for being too difficult. In the end, Justin Lin directed a new screenplay from Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. The film was received warmly by critics – and was certainly closer to the soul of Star Trek than the previous films – but under-performed in the box office.
Initially, the plans called for Star Trek 4 to be written by J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who were toying with the idea of using time travel again so Captain Kirk could team up with his father George Kirk (played by Chris Hemsworth). A provisional release date of summer 2019 was even listed by Paramount. However, with the declining numbers for the last two features, the studio was hesitant to invest in another film, hence talk of Tarantino’s booster shot.
However, if Tarantino is to direct the next entry, it would, of course, push Star Trek‘s release date back: currently, he’s in pre-production for his untitled Charles Manson film, which is set to be released on August 9, 2019. Assuming Tarantino does take up directing duties, the next Star Trek film probably won’t be released until 2021.
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