Quentin Tarantino fans were sent into a frenzy in late 2017 after it was announced that Paramount and “Star Trek” producer J.J. Abrams had accepted Tarantino’s pitch for a new “Star Trek” movie and were working with “The Revenant” screenwriter Mark L. Smith to iron out the script. The project ultimately never got made, but Smith recently told Collider while promoting his latest project, the George Clooney-directed drama “The Boys in the Boat,” that it would’ve been “the greatest ‘Star Trek’ film.”
“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.”
Tarantino has long said he will retire from feature filmmaking after making his 10th movie. He has nine movies under his belt (he views the two “Kill Bill” movies as one movie), which means there’s only one Tarantino-directed film left. That will be “The Movie Critic,” not a “Star Trek” movie.
“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.”
“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 continued. “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 the kind of that Tarantino flair, man, that he was bringing to it. It would have been cool.”
Smith said that Tarantino’s “Star Trek” movie would’ve shook up the long-running franchise similar to how Taika Waititi’s “Thor: Ragnarok” created a new tone for Marvel movies.
“I liked it because I think it’s different, but the way that ‘Ragnarok’ changed things. It was like suddenly it had a different feel for the Marvel stuff. It was like, ‘That’s fun. That’s different,’” Smith said. “And I guess ‘Guardians [of the Galaxy]’ to some level, but it was just like a different vibe and that’s what I thought that it could bring to ‘Star Trek’ was just a different feel.”
Tarantino’s script was a largely earthbound story set in a 1930s gangster setting and appeared to take inspiration from “A Piece of the Action,” the 17th episode of the second season of “Star Trek: The Original Series.” The installment, which aired in 1968, followed the Enterprise crew as they visit a planet with an Earth-like 1920s gangster culture.
The filmmaker revealed to Consequence of Sound in December 2019 that he was “steering away” from directing the “Trek” movie. A final blow arrived in January 2020 when Tarantino confirmed, “I think they might make that movie, but I just don’t think I’m going to direct it. It’s a good idea. They should definitely do it and I’ll be happy to come in and give them some notes on the first rough cut.”
Tarantino’s film was one of several “Star Trek” movies that failed to get off the ground. Directors Matt Shakman and Noah Hawley were also attached to “Star Trek” movies that got dropped during development.