Pulp Fiction In Space: Why A Quentin Tarantino Directed Star Trek Is What The Franchise Needs

Star Trek: Discovery Logo

There are always weird projects that sprout out of Hollywood. In a creative industry, for every news bulletin that makes a good deal of sense, there is always one news story that's so bizarre and unexpected that — in a roundabout way — it might just work. One recent example was Quentin Tarantino potentially signing on to write and direct a new, R-rated Star Trek blockbuster. Admittedly, there are few folks who thought such an idea could happen, let alone become a potential reality. But if done well, there's a chance that Quentin Tarantino's promised Star Trek film could be what both the director and the franchise need. After all, Star Trek was founded and typically thrived on bold, forward-thinking ideas. This movie would likely be no exception.

There's very little known about Quentin Tarantino's proposed Star Trek movie, and all the details that are currently in place are somewhat hush-hush. But the promise that is found in such an unlikely blockbuster cinematic event is certainly exciting, to say the least, and it could provide something in an age of endless franchises that we haven't seen before. Who knows what will become of it. But if it does come together, it could be an extraordinary cinematic experience, the likes of which will provide moviegoers everywhere with a cinematic experience that — for better or worse — will be different.

In an interview with Deadline to promote his latest film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino claimed that his proposed Star Trek film would be "Pulp Fiction in space," at least to some extent, which certainly leaves a lot of windows open in terms of possibilities. There's no telling what will become of this theoretical Star Trek movie, but it's hard not to get excited about the absurd possibility of this film come together in the near future.

While there is no guarantee that Quentin Tarantino's Star Trek movie will come together, because Tarantino has always promised more movies than he has ultimately produced, including spinoffs and sequels to his previous movies, there is a great chance that — if the movie did, in fact, come together — it would give Tarantino a nice change of pace to his typical repertoire and it would provide Star Trek with a nice departure from its established style, as we've laid out in the following entries.

Quentin Tarantino - Sukiyaki Western Django

Quentin Tarantino Will Undoubtedly Take Star Trek In Bold, Uncharted New Directions

No matter what will become of Quentin Tarantino's Star Trek, it will undeniably be different than what we are accustomed to seeing from the space-based franchise. Though there's no guarantee that it will be quite as profane and gory as some of Tarantino's other notorious films, there is a strong chance that, if he's on board for this project, he'll make it something with his signature stamp for violence, profanity and many other explicit activities.

It will certainly be a bold and strange departure from the Star Trek of yore, but the franchise has always thrived on being bold. It's typically when the series has aimed for something more traditional and familiar that it has found its biggest false steps. That's not to say that the biggest changes have always been for the best, or that the series hasn't thrived whenever it did something we've seen before. But generally, whenever the series has taken a risk, it has found some exceptional results. After all, it's about the brave adventures of a futuristic space-based crew. It's better to live boldly and make a decision that'll take the franchise in an exciting new direction than to retrace its former steps and make something more accustomed to the past.

Who knows what Quentin Tarantino will cook up? But the filmmaker is ripe with ideas, and he is always putting a lot of though, creative energy and enthusiasm into his movies. Surely, if he were to attach himself to the project, he will make a Star Trek movie that carries his signature bouts of style. And that at least will allow Star Trek to change in interesting and (hopefully) fruitful new ways, allowing the franchise to continue growing in the future.

Quentin Tarantino - Channel 4 Interview

It Allows Quentin Tarantino To Make A Futuristic Sci-Fi Movie

Quentin Tarantino is often good at keeping his signature style in all his movies, even when the tone varies and the genre fluctuates. There are few filmmakers who can do that, let alone have the opportunity to stay true to themselves throughout each of their films. You always know when you are watching a Quentin Tarantino movie. Even if Tarantino were to jump abroad the USS Enterprise and steer the space ship in its latest thrilling adventure, it's clear that Tarantino will stay true to the filmmaker we have known throughout nine distinctly unique films and make something only he could make.

While Quentin Tarantino has made some explosive genre films, including Death Proof and the Kill Bill duology, he has rarely ever left his own world. We have not seen what the guy can do inside the sci-fi vein, and it's a creative itch Tarantino seems eager to explore, based on his interest in making this film. The visual flair and stylistic pulp that has driven all of his films thus far will be amplified in the sci-fi mold, and his love for cinematic set pieces and visually distinct locations will equally be heightened —one would be reasonable to assume — if given the opportunity to play in Star Trek's playhouse.

Whenever Quentin Tarantino gets to be more stylish and genre-driven, it doesn't always guarantee the highest levels of success, but it can — at its best — produce some of the most entertaining spectacles in Quentin Tarantino's filmography. If he got in charge of this new Star Trek movie, I doubt that would be an exception. He clearly likes to have fun with his movies, and if he had a chance to play with established characters, it might allow him to open up doors inside his creative brain that haven't been explored since he made Jackie Brown back in 1997. It's been a long while since then.

Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine - Star Trek Into Darkness

It's Not Another Recycled Star Trek Movie

After a few lackluster Star Trek: The Next Generation movies, the Star Trek franchise was given the kick in the pants it needed with 2009's Star Trek. Though it was certainly more action-packed and emotionally intense than your average Star Trek voyage, it had heart, energy and a great wealth of entertainment value. It was a solid, highly enjoyable film that wasn't entirely new in its design, of course, but it was invigorated and felt fresh in a way that the franchise simply hasn't in awhile. But a lot of goodwill from J.J. Abrams' sophomore directorial film was lost in his fourth, Star Trek Into Darkness.

While I've made a point to note that I'm a bigger fan of Star Trek Into Darkness than most, it's clear as day that the sequel wasn't exactly where the franchise needed to go in order to thrive. The introduction of Khan made it clear that there would be a cyclical style to the forthcoming Star Trek films, one that seemed to suggest that the new movies would play like covers of the greatest hits rather than deliver bold and fresh new ideas to continue the well-established (if sometimes faltering) legacy of Star Trek. Indeed, as mentioned earlier, it's often better that Star Trek tries something new and different, rather than recycling the ideas they've previously played with. After all, this series has always proposed the ideas for a better and brighter new future.

While the last Star Trek film, Star Trek Beyond, was a nice swift in the direction the franchise should take, returning to the more thoughtful, ideological side of the equation opposed to more smashing and crashing action sequences, it didn't catch fire with audiences. The movie underperformed next to its predecessors, and it left the franchise in a state of flux yet again. But if Quentin Tarantino came on-board, there is potential for exciting new ideas.

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto - Star Trek (2009)

It Brings In An Audience Who Might Not Otherwise See A Star Trek Film

As mentioned earlier, Star Trek Beyond wasn't quite the culture-wide hit that Paramount was hoping it would be. It didn't do bad necessarily, but it certainly underperformed. And it suggested that there was potentially a standstill with the Star Trek franchise. Specifically, it wasn't growing in the way that the producers were hoping it would. As its contemporary, Star Wars, continues to find new audiences, Star Trek finds itself in a bit of a jam now.

One of the keys to Star Trek's continued relevance in pop culture is its ability to adapt and evolve. While not every creative change has been met well by the fans, it's apparent that the series has often felt an inherent need to change, in order to stay fresh or to bring in audiences who either left after earlier installments or never felt the desire to watch the series. Whether it's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek (2009), the series has found new and exciting ways to keep itself afloat in its previously five-year mission. Quentin Tarantino would be a bold choice that would bring in his guaranteed audience, thus assuring that not merely Star Trek fans will flock out to theaters to see this newest space adventure.

Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine - Star Trek: Beyond

It Gives Star Trek A Pulpy New Vision

One of the big reasons why Star Trek (2009) was so commercially and critically successful was because it had a big, beautiful vision for the franchise, something that had been lost in the years prior. As the original cast members grew older, and there was little desire to change up the formula or to do anything new or exciting, the Star Trek franchise was drying up, and it needed a new facelift to keep itself not only relevant, but fun and exciting too.

While Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond were both filmmaker-driven in their own respective ways, it would be in the best interest of the Star Trek franchise if they found a director who could turn in a blockbuster that's pulpy, weird, energetic and fun-loving. Even when people do not like Quentin Tarantino movies, there's obviously a lot to be said about their flashy visual presentations, and the style and quirks that Tarantino includes so readily in each of his movies makes it clear that he has a reputation to uphold, and he's not simply going to make something lackluster in the studio mold with this new movie. He'll want to make something true to himself and (hopefully) true to Star Trek as well. If he got the keys, it would make an exciting ride.

William Shatner - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

It'll Hopefully Return Star Trek To Its More Conversation-Heavy Roots

The recent Star Trek movies have been fun, but their focus on action and spectacle can often make for unbalanced Star Trek movies. Star Trek isn't always about thrilling space adventures and intense zero-gravity suspense. There are a lot of conversations to be had in Star Trek, with characters often sitting down, thinking and talking about the problems they are set to face. That focus on thoughtful conclusions and dialogue-driven discussions would be entirely up Quentin Tarantino's alley. He's loves to make movies with long stretches of dialogue. It would hopefully not be an exception here.

For as action-friendly as Quentin Tarantino movies can be, there are often several moments in which characters are given long stretches to breathe and talk, often at length, about pop culture, their current situation or several other points of discussion. His dialogue is trademark to his filmmaking style, and if he's writing in addition to directing this picture, there's no denying that Tarantino would return Star Trek to its more dialogue-friendly roots.

Quentin Tarantino - Reservoir Dogs

It Will Let Quentin Tarantino Return To Making An Adaptation Of Someone Else's Source Material

As mentioned earlier, it has been a long twenty-plus years since Quentin Tarantino directed Jackie Brown. The 1997 film, an adaptation of the novel Rum Punch by the late, great author Elmore Leonard, remains Quentin Tarantino's only adaptation. Depending on who you ask, it's the filmmaker's best work. There are many people who have been hoping that Tarantino will return to adapting other people's work, rather than making movies based on characters of his own making. That seemed like a fleeting possibility before it was announced that Tarantino might write and direct a Star Trek film.

While making Star Trek wouldn't exactly be the same as making another Jackie Brown, it would return Quentin Tarantino to making a movie based on an existing property, which is something that Tarantino hasn't allowed himself to do in over two decades. Whether that's the best or worst thing for the filmmaker to do remains unclear, but it's apparent that if Tarantino were to take another opportunity to make a movie in someone else's world again, instead of making another movie inside his own design, it would expand the director's range and it would let fans see what he can do in other genres.

These are only a handful of reasons why the thought of Quentin Tarantino making a Star Trek movie promises to be an exciting proposition. As noted earlier, it's not clear if this movie will come to pass. There's a greater likelihood of it falling apart before it comes together. But if the stars align and we find ourselves in theaters waiting to see Quentin Tarantino's unexpected take on Star Trek, it could turn in something that's pretty damn special — not only for himself, but for the future of Star Trek. It's a big galaxy out there. Quentin Tarantino's vision is a bold, yet promising, take on the sci-fi property.

Will Ashton

Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.