Star Trek | Quentin Tarantino’s “hard R” film – and why he walked away

Quentin Tarantino The Movie Critic
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Screenwriter Mark L Smith has talked about Quentin Tarantino’s R-rated Star Trek movie concept, and why it ultimately never happened.

In the years since 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, there have been multiple attempts to get a sequel going with the same cast – and, to date, none have come to fruition. Among the various pitches for a Star Trek sequel, though, arguably the most intriguing was one conceived by Quentin Tarantino.

Billed by the writer-director himself as “Pulp Fiction in space,” the concept began life sometime in 2019, and there was much chatter about it being an R-rated 1920s gangster film, loosely based on the Original Series episode, A Piece Of The Action.

Again, the film never happened – but in a new interview with Collider, screenwriter Mark L Smith has explained why Tarantino ultimately didn’t make it. Confirming that Tarantino’s Star Trek sequel concept would have been a “hard R”, Smith said that the project was ultimately abandoned because of the director’s commitment to the idea of retiring after making 10 movies.

At the time, Tarantino had finished Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, his ninth movie, and was seemingly nervous about ending his directing career by making a Star Trek sequel.

Smith recalls, “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.”

Elsewhere, Smith expresses his disappointment that the gangster-infused sequel will likely remain unrealised. “I think his vision was just to go hard,” he said. “It was a hard R. It was going to be some Pulp Fiction violence. Not a lot of the language – we saved a couple of things for just special characters to drop that into the Star Trek world, but it was really just the edginess and the… Tarantino flair, man. It would have been cool.”

Rather than a violent Star Trek film, Tarantino has chosen an original piece called The Movie Critic for his tenth and final project. Like so many other film productions, it’s been delayed by this year’s strikes. As for a fourth Star Trek film in the Kelvin timeline – that’s still lost in space at the time of writing.

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