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Quentin Tarantino and J.J. Abrams Have a ‘Star Trek’ Idea

‘Trek’ and Tarantino could not be more different, and we want it to stay that way.
By  · Published on December 5th, 2017

‘Trek’ and Tarantino could not be more different, and we want it to stay that way.

It’s a weird day when people start talking putting Quentin Tarantino and Star Trek in the same sentence. Deadline has the scoop of a potential collaboration between Tarantino and J.J. Abrams, and they may be bringing a new Star Trek film into cinemas.

The buzz around this is basically that Tarantino had an idea and brought it to Abrams. The next step is evidently to put together a writers’ room to hear Tarantino’s Trek take before actually crafting it. An ideal scenario involves Tarantino behind the camera, while Abrams produces.

Tarantino’s “homage-y” original movies are a big part of his own brand and they come with some set characteristics. A lot of them play out in mini vignettes to make a greater whole, a la Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds. There will be ample bloodshed and violence of both the physical and verbal kind in all his films. This aspect of brutality particular feels more potent in Tarantino’s later films, especially after he made a discernible shift to more history-based storylines in films such as Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. There’s a fine line to draw between reclaiming a sense of power in those narrative and simplifying very real struggles and consequences when one turns deeply painful moments of history into spaghetti westerns. But that’s a whole other article.

All this to say that already, tweets like the following have popped up on my Twitter timeline. It’s a wholly valid concern:

The automatic assumption that racial slurs will be included in a Tarantino film, even with such a ridiculous concept as Tarantino-in-space, pointedly speaks to the quality of his writing. The N-word has become grossly connected to Tarantino’s legacy after all, especially in its flippant usage in his movies. Granted, this disregards the fact that Deadline’s report includes mention of other writers, and the fact that Star Trek has its own image to uphold. Big franchises may not accommodate Tarantino’s imposing directorial vision as liberally as we’re imagining. That being said, Tarantino has penned every feature he’s directed, and his opinions and edits would have some kind of weight if he’s ever going to helm this project.

Yet despite all the focus trained on Tarantino, the one thing I find at least vaguely unsurprising is the rumor of Abrams going along with it.I wouldn’t say that many of Tarantino’s films are devoid of hope, but they are fairly cynical affairs. So, of course, the guy who thought gritty, gloomy Star Trek Into Darkness would work was going to be on board with whatever Tarantino’s rumored idea is. But as Into Darkness proves, sucking the joy and vibrancy out of Star Trek is hardly a good thing.

In the end, if this supposed Tarantino and Abrams team-up turns out to simply be another one of those ploys to regenerate interest in a franchise, that wouldn’t be all that shocking either. Tarantino’s next confirmed film at Sony is already generating buzz for existing due to shock value. Tarantino’s Manson-centric ninth film is slated to debut on the 50th anniversary of Sharon Tate’s murder, which is honestly next-level distasteful. But it’s still incredibly on-brand, which all the more makes Tarantino a random and incorrect choice for Star Trek.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)