Well it turns out we may not get to see Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek movie after all. In December 2017, it was revealed that Tarantino had pitched an original idea for a Star Trek film to producer J.J. Abrams, and the two were officially developing that idea into a potential movie that Tarantino might direct. They set Mark L. Smith (The Revenant) to write a screenplay based on Tarantino’s story while the filmmaker focused on making Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and he said he’d circle back around to Trek once Hollywood was complete.
Well the circling appears to have happened, and Tarantino has moved on—at least as a director. Speaking to Deadline, the Oscar-winner said it’s now unlikely that he’ll direct the Star Trek movie, but he still hopes Paramount makes it:
“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 never revealed what his idea entailed, but this move isn’t surprising. Not only is Tarantino known for developing or discussing many potential movie ideas in public that never come to fruition, but he’s hellbent on retiring after his 10th film—which would be his next movie. And it felt unlikely that he’d go out on a big franchise blockbuster.
Paramount, meanwhile, seems to have other ideas for the Trek franchise, which they haven’t really been able to successfully explode into the movie marketplace. Abrams directed the well-reviewed 2009 reboot, which pulled in $385 million worldwide, and he also helmed the poorly-reviewed sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, which hit $467 million worldwide. But Paramount was looking to turn this into a billion-dollar-grosser like Star Wars or Fast & Furious, so they tapped Fast & Furious helmer Justin Lin for the third film Star Trek Beyond. That 2016 movie fell to $343 million worldwide, so it was back to the drawing board for the next outing.
A proper sequel was in the works that would have brought Chris Hemsworth back from the 2009 movie and had S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones) directing, but it fell apart due to salary disputes with Hemsworth and Chris Pine. Most recently, Paramount has tapped Legion and Fargo creator Noah Hawley to write and direct a new Star Trek movie, which he suggests might have an all-new cast.
If that’s the way forward on the big screen, it’s unlikely Paramount would muddy the waters with an additional film based on Tarantino’s idea—especially if it doesn’t have Tarantino attached as a director. That movie was said to be R-rated, and it’s still possible it could happen in some form or another, but right now it appears that Hawley’s film has the momentum.
On the small screen, however, Trek has been doing quite well. CBS All Access’s Star Trek: Discovery is heading into its third season, and Patrick Stewart returns to the franchise in Picard later this month. That series has already been renewed for a second season, so the future of Star Trek in television is looking rather bright.
As for Tarantino, he’s taking the next year and a half to write a book and a play, then he intends to direct five episodes of the Bounty Law TV series from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that he wrote as research, then he’ll get to working on his 10th and final film. On top of that, he’s likely on track to win at least one Oscar next month, so the guy’s got his hands quite full at the moment.