In an age where the biggest directors in Hollywood regularly take on big blockbuster movies and branded material, Quentin Tarantino has been an exception -- but that may not be true for much longer. While the famed writer/director is currently working on an original, untitled film about year 1969, recent reports have suggested that he may be open to be working with Paramount Pictures on the development of the next Star Trek movie.
This news had the effect of blowing many movie-lovers' minds, with many immediately starting to speculate about what a Quentin Tarantino-directed Star Trek feature would look like and be about. Of course, this is an open-ended question, as anything could happen at this point, but it is worth noting that Tarantino has gone on record about the Star Trek film that he would make given the opportunity. Specifically, he would apparently love to nurture a feature-length version of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise."
The venue for this idea was a 2015 episode of the Nerdist Podcast - Quentin Tarantino appearing as a guest promoting the then-upcoming release of The Hateful Eight. Towards the end of the show the filmmaker was fielding questions submitted by fans, and was asked what he would do if he were handed the reins of a Star Wars movie. Expressing little interest in that particular concept, the filmmaker immediately steered the conversation in a more Star Trek direction, saying,
The actual answer to the question is I would be more inclined to do a Star Trek kind of thing rather than Star Wars. And I like Star Wars and everything, I haven't 'considered it' considered it, like I'm going to do it, but I did web spin a little bit about the idea.
Ramping up to his thoughts on the matter, Tarantino noted that it was originally William Shatner who brought him into the Star Trek fold, and that while he very much liked J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot, he didn't love Star Trek Into Darkness (he had big problems with Benedict Cumberbatch's Khan). Going further, he also feels that the movies are somewhat limited by the fact that they feel the need to utilize their entire ensemble cast, or as he put it, "You need Uhura, you need a Scotty, you need Bones, you need all that stuff going on all the time --- everybody has to be represented in some big story where they all have to deal." (Note that these comments were made before the creation and release of Star Trek Beyond)
It was from there that Quentin Tarantino got into the meat of his Star Trek idea, first acknowledging that there are many episodes of the classic show that could easily be expanded adapted as big screen features (not limited by a "'60s budget and eight day shooting schedule"). He first namedropped "City On The Edge of Forever," which is considered by many to be the best Star Trek episode of all time, but then acknowledged that was the obvious answer, given that it is, in his opinion, "one of the great time travel stories." Taking that off the table, he then arrived at his central thesis: a movie version of "Yesterday's Enterprise." Said Tarantino,
I think one of the best episodes of Star Trek ever written was for Next Generation. And I like Next Generation. No way am I the fan, or have I seen even remotely as many as I have of the first [series]. But there was that episode ["Yesterday's Enterprise"], which is the one where... it was actually written by a fan, frankly, who had been working on the show, and they said, 'Well, you should write an episode.' And he wrote this episode that was fantastic.
As Quentin Tarantino went on to explain, "Yesterday's Enterprise" is a classic time travel story in the Star Trek mythos (which is really saying a lot). It begins with Patrick Stewart's Captain Jean Luc Picard and the Enterprise-D crew investigating a rift in spacetime, only to come face to face with the Enterprise-C. The encounter winds up causing a massive shift in the timeline -- specifically one that has the Federation and the Klingons locked in a war that has lasted for decades. It's only because of the awareness of Whoopi Goldberg's Guinan that they realize that something has gone very wrong, and they must make some incredible sacrifices to fix things.
You may have already pieced together that this might be a bit of a challenge for Quentin Tarantino to potentially pull off with Star Trek 4, given the big screen franchise is using original series characters, and he's proposing a Star Trek: The Next Generation plot. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that there is nothing to glean from his response. Not only is it possible that Tarantino could present a modified version of this specific story that fits with Captain Kirk and his crew (perhaps linking the Kelvin Timeline back with the normal timeline?), but there are many other clues to latch on to in his response as well -- namely that he is open to the idea of directly adapting a classic episode, and also that he is clearly interested in telling a story involving time travel.
At this point, of course, this is all basically hypothetical. There have been no official announcements made regarding Quentin Tarantino's involvement with a new chapter in the big screen Star Trek franchise, and it's entirely possible that it's an idea that never actually comes together. But if it does, what he's said in the past about his potential approach certainly gives us confidence that he would be a proper fit for the gig.