Quentin Tarantino reportedly felt he had more to prove than ending his career with a Star Trek film.
In 2017, Paramount announced that the legendary filmmaker had teamed up with the studio, J.J. Abrams, and screenwriter Mark L. Smith for a new Star Trek, which was ultimately scrapped. Smith recently told Collider why the film never came into existence, also explaining that Tarantino’s installment would have been edgier than any prior version of the sci-fi franchise.
Tarantino allegedly worried that the film would also be the swan song for his career. “Quentin and I went back and forth. He was gonna do some stuff on it, and then he started worrying about the number, his kind of unofficial number of films,” Smith said. “I remember we were talking, and he goes, ‘If I can just wrap my head around the idea that ‘Star Trek’ could be my last movie, the last thing I ever do. Is this how I want to end it?’ And I think that was the bump he could never get across, so the script is still sitting there on his desk.”
Per THR, Tarantino plans to retire after making his 10th full-length film, meaning he has one more project left after 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. However, it appears that the film will be The Movie Critic, not Star Trek, unless Tarantino surprises us.
“I know he said a lot of nice things about it. I would love for it to happen,” Smith said. “It’s just one of those things that I can’t ever see happening. But it would be the greatest Star Trek film—not for my writing, but just for what Tarantino was gonna do with it. It was just a balls-out kind of thing.”
Smith shared that Tarantino’s vision for Star Trek would also be more explicit than what fans are used to from the intergalactic franchise. On the podcast Bulletproof Screenwriting (per Total Film), in 2021, Smith said the director reportedly planned for it to be an earth-set 1930s gangster tale based on “A Piece of the Action” from the second season of Star Trek: The Original Series.
“But I think his vision was just to go hard. It was a hard R. It was going to be some ‘Pulp Fiction’ violence,” Smith added. “Not a lot of the language, we saved a couple things for just special characters to kind of drop that into the Star Trek world, but it was just really the edginess and kind of that Tarantino flair, man, that he was bringing to it. It would have been cool.”
In Dec. 2019, Tarantino revealed to Consequence that he was “steering away” from the Star Trek project, before officially dropping it but offering to “give them some notes” in a Jan. 2020 chat with Deadline.