Quentin Tarantino Explains Why He Likes Star Trek More Than Star Wars

Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in Star Trek Beyond
(Image credit: (Paramount))

Science fiction fans have been long divided between two distinct franchises: Star Wars and Star Trek. Your lineage to one over the other often depends on generation you grew up in. The majority of ‘80s kids will fight for Star Wars’ upperhand, while a young Quentin Tarantino grew up watching the original Star Trek television series of the ‘60s. There’s another reason why the Kill Bill director prefers one over the other. Check out what he said:

I’m a big fan of the show Star Trek. I really like it a lot, but my portal into that show is William Shatner. I love William Shatner on Star Trek. I love his performance as James T. Kirk. That is my connection. That is my umbilical cord. It’s why I like Star Trek more than Star Wars, because William Shatner’s not in Star Wars. I think it’s one of the greatest performances in the history of episodic television, of a series lead, and rightly so, because very few series leads have ever gotten the opportunity to play all the different wild, crazy things. “The Enemy Within” alone.

There you have it. As Quentin Tarantino tells Deadline, Star Trek has William Shatner to thank for his allegiance to adventures on the USS Enterprise over the Millennium Falcon. In true Tarantino fashion, this is quite the controversial opinion. I myself have always found Kirk’s performance in Star Trek over-the-top; it is still entertaining nonetheless, but isn’t exactly the argument I’d go with to prefer Star Trek over Star Wars.

Quentin Tarantino also explained that part of the reason he loved the 2009 Star Trek reboot so much was Chris Pine’s decision to channel William Shatner and “doing a fantastic job at it. I mean perfect, frankly”. Along with Zachary Quinto’s Spock, he said “those two guys, they fucking got it”. The auteur filmmaker has shown his interest in directing his own Star Trek - maybe this is an indication he’ll want to work with the cast assembled by J.J. Abrams.

He’s been trying to get a script by The Revenant’s Mark L. Smith approved over at Paramount, so he can make something to the effect of “Pulp Fiction in space”. He wants to make a Star Trek movie in his R-rated way, that he’s teased has a gangster element “that works out pretty good”.

For fans of Tarantino who have his long-held rule to only make 10 films ringing in their ears for years, Star Trek could pose a bit of a problem. His upcoming Los Angeles love-letter Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is his ninth film, will he really end his filmmaking career on a non-original film, adapted from another person’s screenplay and based on a beloved franchise?

He recently introduced fans to a potential “loophole” Star Trek could pose for him to his own rule. Perhaps he’ll make a Star Trek movie and then an original film to close out his over 30 year career. Quentin Tarantino hasn’t quite made up his mind on the concept, though as he told CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast that maybe he could also commit to Star Trek as his last project too.

Star Trek also has roots in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as he looked at William Shatner while crafting Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton, a famous television actor who is wrestling with the shift in the industry in the ‘70s. Tarantino’s ninth film hits theaters on July 26.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.