Pitch of the Week: ‘Django vs. Machete’

By  · Published on January 5th, 2013

This week I got to wondering which, if any, original characters from 2012 could not only continue in sequels but lead a franchise that’ll be around in 25 years (see this Die Hard-inspired discussion at Movies.com). The only one that popped into mind and has been stuck there for days is Django Freeman (Jamie Foxx), the protagonist of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. I proposed that he return at least once more in the 1880s, a decade of mass lynchings and reversal of civil rights achievements. But he could really be fun to watch at any point in history, including the present. That’s why I’d like to offer this week’s pitch to Tarantino and his friend Robert Rodriguez: figure out a means of time travel that will pit Django against Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) – who has his first sequel, Machete Kills, out this year – for a movie titled, simply, Django vs. Machete.

As with most hero versus hero plots, this one again would see two popular characters meet, battle, then team up for a greater fight against a common enemy. Who or what that obviously racist villain is isn’t up to me. I’m not the screenwriter here, just the idea man. Anyway, it doesn’t even matter. Just like the explanation of the time travel won’t matter. The movie is called Django vs. Machete, and that’s the draw and therein lies the action the audience will want to see. If there’s room for deep historical and social commentary, all the better. Perhaps Machete is actually the one who travels in time. The lynching of Mexican-Americans in the 1800s is an overlooked matter and might fit with the Django sequel idea proposed above.

Later, Django and Machete could also team-up with other similar icons of vengeance against bigoted persecutors. There’s feminism heroine Zoe Bell from Death Proof, Nazi-killing Donny “Bear Jew” Donowitz from Inglorious Basterds (don’t worry about his apparent death with such a fantastical film, especially now that time travel is involved), and maybe even Harold and Kumar. They’re not as violent as the others, but they do represent a likeminded subversion of prejudice and stereotyping. Following the release of Django Unchained, many have half-jokingly supposed that Tarantino’s next film will involve a hero who is Native American or homosexual (set during the Stonewall riots) or a victim of child abuse. NextMovie even designed some parody posters for the director’s “Next 5 Historical Revenge Films.”

There’s some humor in playing with the pattern, but we could use a few more of these characters. Where’s the Asian-American revenge fantasy? The blacklisted Communist screenwriter revenge fantasy? The Muslim revenge fantasy? – okay, maybe that one might still need some time, unfortunately. Gather up some more and we’ve got a ensemble team-up to capitalize on the success of movies like The Expendables and The Avengers. And there are so many demographics it would appeal to, although conservative WASPs might not be interested.

Would you see Django vs. Machete and/or a team-up of multiple revenge fantasy protagonists?

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.