Quentin Tarantino is getting ready to boldly go to the Final Frontier with his new Star Trek movie.
What do you want to see in Tarantino's Trek? What would you do if you were making your first sci-fi studio blockbuster?
Before you pitch your takes, it might be helpful to know just what the Once Upon a Time In Hollywood filmmaker's Trek has in store for the franchise -- and when it takes place. On a recent episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Oscar-winner (and big Star Trek fan) revealed some story details about the top-secret movie.
“I don’t know how much I can say," Tarantino said. "The one thing I can say is it would deal with the Chris Pine timeline."
Setting the R-rated movie in the alternate reality where the last three Star Trek movies featuring Pine's Kirk and Zachary Quinto's Spock exist is both exciting for fans and, well, somewhat daunting for Tarantino himself.
The Kelvin timeline exists parallel-ish to the main Trek canon (hence why we can have two Spocks and one of them is the late Leonard Nimoy.) Star Trek director J.J. Abrams and his screenwriters helped shape the story for their 2009 blockbuster that way in an effort to not worry too much about staying within the lines of what was then nearly a half-century's worth of canonical storytelling. While that serviced Team Abrams, not so much for Tarantino.
"Now, I still don’t quite understand [it], and JJ [Abrams] can’t explain it to me, and my editor has tried to explain it to me and I still don’t get it," Tarantino explained. "Something happened in the first movie that now kind of wiped the slate clean. I don’t buy that. I don’t like it. I don’t appreciate it. I don’t — f**k that."
Take note, filmmakers: When you have two Oscars on your shelf and classics like Pulp Fiction on your resume, you can say "eff that" to a studio's billion-dollar franchise's last three installments and shape the movie you want to tell within that sandbox.
"I want the whole series to have happened, it just hasn’t happened yet. No, Benedict Cumberbatch [...] is not Khan, alright? Khan (Ricardo Montalban) is Khan. And I told JJ, like, ‘I don’t understand this. I don’t like it.’ And then he was like, ‘Ignore it! Nobody likes it. I don’t understand it. Just do whatever you want. If you want it to happen the exact way it happens on the series, it can.’”
For a filmmaker like Abrams essentially giving Tarantino permission to wipe clean the slate Abrams helped make, and essentially reboot the rules of a universe full of characters that are still in play, is both refreshing and virtually unheard of in the current studio climate. The untitled Trek movie's script, with a draft by Mark Smith (The Revenant) that Tarantino will rewrite, has the unenviable task of recharging the series once again. Paramount is eager to mine Trek's franchiseability on the big screen, and they want the next chapter to perform better at the box office than 2016's Star Trek Beyond. While a hit with most fans and critics, the Justin Lin-helmed threequel grossed an underwhelming $343.5 million worldwide.
If anyone can give the series an adrenaline shot to the heart (sorry not sorry), it's Tarantino.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood hits theaters everywhere Friday.