Quentin unchained: what will Tarantino’s 10th and final film be?

The acclaimed film-maker is releasing his ninth film this summer and has openly stated that he will retire after he completes his next

Just over a week away from the US release of Quentin Tarantinos latest film, the showbiz-cum-true crime epic Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the anticipation among film freaks and general audiences alike is at a fever pitch. Though this is par the course for Tarantino, whose every directorial effort is regarded as a major cinematic event, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood carries with it an extra sense of gravitas: not only is it a new Tarantino film, it is very likely the penultimate Tarantino film.

For years now, the outspoken auteur has said he plans to retire from feature directing once he completes his 10th film. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood being his ninth, that leaves us with one big question: assuming all goes according to plan, what will the last Tarantino movie be?

We may already have an answer: since 2017, the film-maker has been talking up his plan to direct a Star Trek movie for producer JJ Abrams and Paramount Studios. In a recent interview, he reaffirmed his interest in the project, as well as his commitment to walk away from directing after one more turn behind the camera.

The notion that his curtain call might take place aboard the Starship Enterprise has struck many a fan as preposterous, leading them to speculate that Tarantino wouldnt count it towards his self-imposed 10-film limit.

But it appears the director is well ahead of them, telling CinemaBlend: I guess I do have a loophole, [if] the idea was to throw a loophole into it. Which would be [to go], Uhhh, I guess Star Trek doesnt count. I can do Star Trek but naturally I would end on an original. But the idea of doing 10 isnt to come up with a loophole. I actually think, if I was going to do Star Trek, I should commit to it. Its my last movie. There should be nothing left-handed about it. I dont know if Im going to do that, but that might happen.

Despite the various qualifications within his remarks (those ifs and I dont knows are certainly telling), it now appears that Tarantinos final film as a director may indeed be Star Trek. Its yet another odd factor that makes this previously implausible idea no one ever expected to see an R-rated Star Trek movie in the first place, let alone one directed by arguably the most uncompromising and controversial American director of the past quarter-century even more implausible.

Adding to the weirdness of it all is the fact that Mark L Smith, who co-wrote The Revenant, is on scripting duties. Should the project move forward with everyone locked into their current positions, not only would it mark the first time Tarantino has directed an entry in an existing franchise (or, for that matter, in the genre of science fiction), but also the first film hes directed but didnt write. Given how vociferous he has been throughout the years about his writing process, placing it on equal levels with his work as a director, that may be the most surprising detail of all.

Then again, it may also be the point. On first glance, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood which charts the collision course between a fictional TV star on the verge on obsolescence (Leonardo DiCaprio), his longtime friend and stuntman (Brad Pitt) and his new neighbor, the real-life actor Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) with the murderous Manson cult in the summer of 1969 looks to be his most personal film to date, as well as the purest expression of his overarching interests and obsessions: film and television (specifically, the movies and shows he grew up on); his hometown Los Angeles (recreated as it was during his early childhood); the intersection between Americas history and its pervading mythology; and the craft of acting (his original vocation, and arguably the most consistent theme explored throughout his body of work).

Perhaps Tarantino intends Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to be his last truly personal statement as a director, opting to retire behind a big-budget, high-concept bit of popcorn spectacle from which he is slightly more removed than usual, just for the hell of it.

Quentin
Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman in 2003. Photograph: Soeren Stache/EPA

Of course, any such speculation must take into account the history of projects that Tarantino has been attached to over the years that have failed to come to fruition. Foremost among this litany are a Reservoir Dogs/Pulp Fiction spin-off about Michael Madsen and John Travoltas Vega Brothers characters; an adaptation of Elmore Leonards western novel Forty Lashes Less One; a biopic of the abolitionist renegade John Brown; a loose spin-off of Inglourious Basterds called Killer Crow (about a rogue unit of black soldiers who go on a killing spree of their racist white counterparts while fighting overseas); and, of course, Kill Bill: Volume 3.

There have also been rumors of a handful of literary adaptations (spy thrillers Modesty Blaise and Berlin Game, as well as a second, more faithful version of Bret Easton Elliss yuppie nightmare Less Than Zero) and a couple of remakes, including those of Italian horror maestro Lucio Fulcis The Psychic and pre-reboot versions of The Green Hornet, The Man from UNCLE and Westworld.

Star Trek isnt the first case of Tarantino circling a brand-name franchise either. He previously pitched a gritty update of James Bond, specifically an adaptation of Ian Flemings introductory novel, Casino Royale, which would have seen Pierce Brosnan retaining the role of James Bond. He also had short dalliances with the sci-fi/fantasy genre, having been attached to pre-superhero movie boom versions of Luke Cage and The Silver Surfer.

Should his Star Trek film follow a similar trajectory and end up consigned to the what if pile, its unlikely that any of these films would take its place on his docket. He hasnt talked about any of them in years, save for Kill Bill: Volume 3, the possibility of which he floated as late as 2015. But given the controversy surrounding an injury suffered by lead actress Uma Thurman while filming the original, for which many hold Tarantino responsible, as well her treatment by disgraced Kill Bill producer Harvey Weinstein, such a prospect seems incredibly unlikely (though Thurman herself wont entirely dismiss the possibility).

But while Kill Bill fans shouldnt expect to see the further adventures of the Bride anytime soon, there is a sequel to another of Tarantinos action-revenge epics currently in the pipeline. It was recently reported that Tarantino tapped actor-comedian Jerrod Carmichael to pen the script for an adaptation of Dynamite and DC Comics Django/Zorro for Sony. That comic series, co-written by Tarantino and Matt Wagner, follows the continuing adventures of Django Unchaineds eponymous freed slave-turned-bounty, and teams him up with the Mexican superhero.

Jamie
Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained. Photograph: Allstar/THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar

As of now, Tarantino is set to executive-produce the film, with no plans to direct. However, should he opt not to make Star Trek after all, this seems as likely a project for him to take on for his 10th and final film as any (the only other project hes floated in recent years is an old-school gangster drama set in 1930s Australia, but little is known about that aside from its period and setting).

When discussing his reasoning behind early retirement, Tarantino has talked about wanting to Drop the mic. Boom. Tell everybody: Match that shit! Of course, Tarantino has also always maintained a large transgressive streak as an actor and a public figure, so perhaps he intends for his final cinematic statement to be a dark and radical upending of an established piece of mainstream entertainment with a huge and hugely invested fanbase. Given the state of movies at the current moment Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one of the few original, adult-oriented films to get a wide release this summer such may prove to be the ultimate mic drop after all.

Whatever he chooses for his 10th and final film, its unlikely that his fans will ever stop looking forward to what he had in store. Retirements, after all, are meant to come out of (just look at Tarantinos peer Steven Soderbergh, who retired from directing in 2013 only to return four years later), and while Tarantino has said hes just about done with feature films, he hardly seems primed to turn into a Salinger-esque recluse, promising to turn his attention to other creative pursuits, including writing theater, novels and criticism (he has also expressed interest in long-form storytelling, and his recent supervision of an extended cut of The Hateful Eight for Netflix shows hes not adverse to working with a streaming platform).

The buzz around for Tarantinos next and last film is only going to grow larger once everyone has watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. But regardless of what it ends up being or when it ends up arriving, its unlikely that, for as long as hes around, that buzz will ever truly subside. In the end, his greatest achievement may be in the directing of his own legacy.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/jul/18/quentin-tarantino-final-film-theories-rumors

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