Why Quentin Tarantino Passed On Directing Star Trek

By Zack Zagranis | Published

Quentin Tarantino

Do you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in space? Sadly, we’ll never find out. Famed director Quentin Tarantino was once on board to bring his delightfully warped sensibilities to the Star Trek franchise but ultimately passed when he decided he didn’t want it to be his last film.

Only 10 Films?

quentin tarantino star trek

The director has long clung to a self-imposed decree that he, Quentin Tarantino, would only ever direct 10 films and not a frame more.

Counting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as Tarantino’s 9th film (with a little bit of fuzzy math, but we’ll get to that), that would have made his proposed Star Trek movie his last movie ever, again, according to his own arbitrary rule.

Screenwriter Mark L. Smith recently revealed in an interview that the director passed on joining the Federation because he didn’t want that to be his swan song as a director.

Initial Passion For Star Trek Movie

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According to Smith, Tarantino was initially very passionate about his Star Trek idea.

The director acted out all the parts and spouted sections of dialogue as if he were performing the film as a one-man stage show rather than simply pitching it to J. J. Abrams.

In an unusual move for Quentin, Tarantino asked Smith to write a script based on his pitch rather than handling the writing duties himself.

Different Kind Of Star Trek Movie

Smith described the unmade Quentin Tarantino Star Trek script as “different” than the usual Star Trek story, a “balls-out kind of thing.”

Smith stressed that the movie would have been “a hard R,” and full of “Pulp Fiction.”

Surprisingly, the script was allegedly light on Tarantino’s signature profanity, the director perhaps understanding that people in the 23rd century tend not to throw around the N-word with reckless abandon.

Regret Over Star Trek

Quentin Tarantino

In the end, Smith expressed his regret at never getting to see his and Quentin Tarantino’s R-rated Star Trek vision realized.

The screenwriter expressed just how much the movie would have shaken up the vanilla Star Trek we’re all used to by comparing it to Thor: Ragnarok and how that film broke from the traditional MCU formula.

“It was like suddenly it had a different feel for the Marvel stuff. It was like, That’s fun. That’s different.” said Smith, describing the effect he was hoping to mirror with QT’s Star Trek.

Drop In Quality?

quentin tarantino

As for Quentin Tarantino’s 10-films-then-retirement deal, well, it’s kind of bogus.

It’s easy to understand Tarantino’s fear that his films would likely drop in quality if he continued directing into old age. However, that’s far from guaranteed.

George Miller was 73—13 years older than Quentin—when he directed Mad Max: Fury Road, a movie some consider his best. Robert Altman was directing Oscar-nominated films in his ’80s. At only 60, Quentin could easily direct another five or six bangers instead of the just one more he’s got coming up.

More Films To Come?

quentin tarantino

Let’s be honest: 10 is just an arbitrary round number that Quentin Tarantino picked because it sounds cool. No one is forcing him to stop directing after his 10 films are up.

It’s understandable not wanting your last film ever to be a Star Trek movie. Star Trek only ever made the jump to films as a brand extension rather than some idea of making cinematic art.

There’s no reason he couldn’t end with twelve movies, thus allowing him to still make his great career-defining statement of cinematic achievement after helming the “Spaceships go pew pew!” movie.

Not to mention, as we stated above, Quentin Tarantino counts films like The Doctor counts regenerations.

He counts Kill Bill as one movie despite completely signing off on the studio’s decision to release it as two films and doesn’t count his segment in the anthology Four Rooms at all. One could make the argument that Tarantino has technically already directed 10 1/2 movies.

What would one more hurt?

Source: Collider