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Warning: SPOILERS for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ahead!
Back in 2014, before he began shooting The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino revealed his intention to retire from filmmaking after 10 movies. The auteur explained his reasoning behind the decision as a desire to leave behind a solid 10-film legacy; an unblemished filmography that leaves audiences wanting more. By Quentin Tarantino’s own count (Kill Bill counts as one) that left two films to follow The Hateful Eight before he hung up his filmmaking spurs for good.
Maybe Quentin Tarantino will change his mind one day. He is making this up as he goes along, after all. Nobody wants to see him call it quits and the industry is better with unique voices like his in it. However, while making the rounds for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, he hasn’t really wavered from his intention to cap things at 10. With nine movies now officially in the can, we are staring down the barrel of Quentin Tarantino’s final film.
That brings us to the question of what that final film could be and what we want it to be. On this front, we may actually have some idea. Quentin Tarantino has mentioned different films over the years that he would like to make and he could circle back to these ideas and projects for his swan song. Plus, there’s one huge franchise property he happens to be attached to.
There’s no guarantee that Quentin Tarantino will tackle any of these ideas, or that he will stick to his 10-film cap, but these are some possibilities for what his last movie could be. So let’s look at them and try to answer the question of what do we want Quentin Tarantino’s final film to be?
A Horror Film
Several years ago, Quentin Tarantino mentioned three possible movies that he would still like to make, and one of them was a horror movie. The director said that he “would love to make a really, really scary horror film, like The Exorcist.” Quentin Tarantino hasn’t done a pure horror film à la that iconic William Friedkin film and he has definitely shown some things in his movies that indicate he could make a killer entry in the genre.
However, the director also said that he’s not sure that he would want to sacrifice his trademark humor to establish the tone of dread necessary for such a flick. Of course, a horror movie can be funny and scary, but that might not be the kind of horror movie he would want to make. A horror movie would be a different, bold choice to end his career on, but if he feels like he would need to compromise his style for a horror movie, it may not be the right choice.
A 1930s Gangster Movie
Quentin Tarantino has also expressed interest in making a 1930s-era gangster movie, what he described as a “kind of John Dillinger thing.” For those who are unfamiliar, John Dillinger was a Depression-era gangster and bank robber, who achieved fame and notoriety and been somewhat mythologized with the lines blurring between his actual deeds and stuff that was made up. Tarantino has also mentioned a 1930s film about Bonnie and Clyde-esque outlaws in Australia. These certainly sound like the kind of things that would be up Tarantino’s alley.
The writer/director excels with colorful characters and criminal elements, and a 1930s gangster/outlaw movie would play to his strengths with plenty of violence and witty dialogue. This would be a nice way to round out his career, finishing on a gangster film that echoed Reservoir Dogs, albeit in a different time period and presumably grander in scope. That said, some Quentin Tarantino fans may be eager to see him leave period pieces behind or feel that this would be too similar to what he’s done before (True Romance is very Bonnie and Clyde-ish).
Kill Bill Vol. 3
Kill Bill Vol. 3 has seemingly been talked about and teased since the first two movies came out. It has gone from seeming like it would definitely happen, to might happen, to never going to happen, and now it appears it is once again a possibility. Quentin Tarantino recently said that although he isn’t committing to it, he has talked to Uma Thurman about it and given it some thought. He also said that if he were to make a movie spinning off from one of his other movies, it would be this one, seemingly putting it ahead of Killer Crow and Double V Vega in terms of likelihood.
Originally, it was suggested that the third film would follow Vernita Green’s daughter Nikki as she sought revenge against the Bride. Whether or not that would still be the plan, of all the possibilities for Quentin Tarantino’s 10th film, this is the most fully formed in people’s minds, because we’ve already seen two Kill Bill movies. We have a good idea of what we would get with this one and that’s exciting if you like the first two. That’s also the case against it, because do we really want Quentin to retread the same ground for his final movie or to blaze a new path?
Another Western/Forty Lashes Less One
Quentin Tarantino has said that you need to make three Westerns to call yourself a Western director, and after Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight, he’s still one short. If the director feels the need to do one more Western as he’s alluded to in the past, then his final film could very well be another Western. And while that genre provides a myriad of storytelling opportunities, he could choose to adapt Forty Lashes Less One, based off the same-named 1972 novel by Elmore Leonard, whose work Tarantino previously adapted for Jackie Brown.
Forty Lashes tells the story of a black former soldier and a Chiricahua Apache sentenced to death, but given an opportunity to save their own lives by hunting down Arizona’s five most dangerous outlaws. The director has proposed 40 Lashes Less One as his third Western before, and that story sounds like it would be a surefire crowd pleaser in the vein of Django. However, Quentin Tarantino has also suggested this might be work better as a TV miniseries. We’ve already seen two Tarantino Westerns, so I’m not sure anyone will want him to fire his final big screen bullet on another, but if he can leave that in the chamber and bring this story to the small screen, that could be a win-win.
Quentin Tarantino’s films have multiple connections, and Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds are two parts of his Revenge/Revisionist History trilogy. They both show people taking revenge and righting the wrongs of history. Given its ending, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood could theoretically be the final film in that trilogy, but if it’s not, the director has previously suggested Killer Crow would be the third film. Killer Crow is a spinoff of a cut subplot from Inglourious Basterds and would follow a platoon of black soldiers on a warpath on the way to Switzerland during World War II.
Unlike some of his other ideas, Quentin Tarantino apparently has most of Killer Crow already written, so he would simply have to complete it and it could be number 10. While it sounds cool, by virtue of it being originally part of Inglourious Basterds it would kind of feel like the director repeating himself in an uninteresting way. Despite the work he’s done on it, Tarantino’s recent comments about Kill Bill Vol. 3 being the most likely spinoff of an existing film makes Killer Crow's chances of being his final film fairly slim.
An R-Rated Star Trek Movie
Here’s the big one and the weirdest possible way Quentin Tarantino could end his career. Two years ago, Quentin Tarantino expressed his Star Trek fandom, and before long a writer’s room was assembled and The Revenant’s Mark L. Smith turned in a script for the film based on Tarantino’s idea that he could potentially direct. Now, Tarantino told ReelBlend that if he wanted, Star Trek wouldn’t necessarily count towards his film total since it isn’t entirely original. He debated with himself whether he would or wouldn’t apply that loophole and make another movie after Trek. Either way, a Tarantino Star Trek seems like it might happen.
If Star Trek is his final film, no loopholes, it would be rated R (obviously), set in the Kevlin Timeline with those actors last seen in Star Trek Beyond and possibly take inspiration from the time travel-centric episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation titled “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” There are a ton of pros and cons to Star Trek being Tarantino’s last film. On the pro side, it would be wildly different than anything he’s done before and a big, fun way to end his career. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be an entirely original film or even his script, and there is, of course, the question of whether his sensibilities are even right for the property.
Maybe none of these options appeal to you. Maybe you’d like Quentin Tarantino to do something else for his last movie. The director has mused on doing something contemporary in the future, and it would be nice to see him return to tell a story in the present. A modern day crime story would be great, and while Quentin Tarantino doesn’t seem too interested in being boxed in by a specific genre, there are plenty he has yet to explore. A romantic comedy? Sure. An animated movie? Why not. An original sci-fi film? Okay. A high fantasy epic? What the hell.
The auteur may not seem well suited to any of these, but the point is that he’s not limited to the ideas that he’s expressed in the past. Everyone will have their own preference for what movie Quentin Tarantino should go out on and there’s no movie or premise film fans will feel okay skipping if Tarantino’s name is attached to it. I tend to think ‘something else’ is what we’ll get for his final film; something entirely new and entirely original, even if it does come after he does Star Trek.
These are just some of the possibilities for Quentin Tarantino’s final film. The director has talked about tons of projects over the years that haven’t happened and seem especially unlikely to now. Fans have long wanted to see the Vega brothers movie Double V Vega, but Tarantino recently expressed a belief that that story is long past its shelf life. There is also the biopic about abolitionist John Brown who advocated and participated in violent revolution to overthrow the institution of slavery. Tarantino covered a fair bit of that ground in Django Unchained so that probably won’t happen.
There’s also the remake/adaptation of Less Than Zero based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel. That could theoretically still happen, but the director hasn’t talked about it in quite a while. The same goes for his remake of Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, which doesn’t sound like the kind of thing that he would or even could do now. Besides, he did something similar in Death Proof.
Ultimately, we don’t want Quentin Tarantino to hang it up and wind up ignoring some great idea he has a decade down the line just because he set this arbitrary limit for himself. If nothing else, Tarantino will hopefully tell more stories in other formats as he’s suggested in the past, whether it be plays or novels or, hopefully, limited series on TV. But if this is the end, there are plenty of exciting possibilities for Quentin Tarantino to make his final mark on the world of cinema.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is now playing. Check out our premiere guide to see what else is coming to theaters this year and let us know in the poll below what you want Quentin Tarantino’s final film to be.