What If Quentin Tarantino Had Directed Star Trek All Along?
We just keep trying to ignore the news, but it just keeps threatening to happen. Quentin Tarantino is just bound and determined to direct a Star Trek movie, and nobody is moving fast enough to stop him. The signs are coming together:
The new streaming platform Paramount+ needs fresh meat
There has never been an R-rated Star Trek entry
Freaking William Shatner is alleged to be interested
Tarantino movies regularly out-perform Star Trek movies at the box office
There’s plenty of fandom crossover between Trekkies and ‘Tino-heads
Everybody is on board because the prospect is just that hilarious
Meanwhile I’m over here wondering how they can stuff William Shatner and Quentin Tarantino into the same room. Won’t their combined egos create a singularity that sucks the universe into a black hole?
I’m not going to immediately call this a guaranteed disaster. Tarantino has pulled more than one surprise out of his hat over the course of his career. Star Trek movies, likewise, get lucky once every even-number or so. I do see one demanding area where a shot of Tarantino could improve things: More action, less talk. Assuming we get Inglorious Bastards Tarantino and not Death Proof Tarantino. QT’s reported inspiration is the TOS SE2 episode “A Piece of the Action.” John Cho is on board. No less than Patrick Stewart “would love” a role, if there is one.
The only way we can accurately project whether Tarantino and Gene Roddenberry’s creation has any kind of shot at success, is to perform the thought experiment: What if Star Trek had been helmed by Tarantino from the very beginning? Anybody else? No? Then I’ll start.
From Dusk Till Khan
When the Enterprise crew makes it to Regula I, they beam down and discover Khan’s gang has actually set up one hell of a swinging shore leave vacation spot there. It’s a sinful pit of decadence and the crew decides what the hell, let’s get a barefoot lapdance and a few drinks. After midnight, however, Khan and his minions turn out to be friggin’ vampires! A massive bloodbath ensues and nobody but Kirk and Saavik survive (but eh, they have Genesis handy, so everybody’s coming back). And seriously, how else do you explain the extremely long lives Khan’s crew had, or the nasty taste Khan has for the fate of being “buried alive”?
Harcourt Fenton Mudd is the leader of an intergalactic assassin squad, “Mudd’s Women.” But he decided to spare one of his assassins in a forced marriage deal, deeming her “the Bride.” Bad idea! She commissions an ancient Klingon weapon-master to come out of retirement to make her the sharpest bat’leth in the galaxy, and proceeds to cross Mudd’s minions off her list one at a time until working her way to Mudd himself hidden on Rigel XII, whom she dispatches with the “Farpoint exploding heart technique,” which feels like taking a Russian Scud missile to the chest.
The Galileo Eight
The Galileo shuttlecraft is forced to stop overnight on Taurus II, due to a galactic storm technobabble anomaly. That’s their bad luck, because they were escorting a Romulan POW whose gang turns out to have staked out the outpost with a plot to free their leader. Confrontations eventually ensue, but first there’s endless yackety-yack dialogue. Somebody tries to poison the replicator near the mid-point, but that doesn’t do anything because replicators do not work that way.
Yes, at last, we find out what’s in the briefcase! It turns out Marsellus Wallace is on life support while some alien pipsqueak goons on Sigma Draconis VI stole his brain. They hold the famous mobster in high esteem as a criminal mastermind, but it somehow never occurred to them that his brain would be more useful if they’d kidnapped Wallace, brain and all. Nevertheless, Wallace’s minions invade the underground base and retrieve the suitcase, roughing up the alien petty thugs for their trouble. Picard misquotes scripture, and on the way out, they accidentally shoot Wesley Crusher in the face and just shrug and leave him there.
Hey, if anybody in the Star Trek universe is enough of a sadistic psycho to torture an officer for kicks, it’s a Cardassian. They’ll just have to work a de-earing into the “Four Lights” gaslighting torture. Look at the description for Cardassians: “Like timber wolves, bold in large numbers, cautious by themselves, an instinctive need to establish a dominant position.” Wolves, dogs, what’s the difference at this point? The only hard part is convincing a Cardassian to adopt the code name “Mr. Pink.”
Just in case Tarantino’s stated plan comes to fruition, let us not forget that TOS SE2 episode “A Piece of the Action” is where Kirk invents the intriguing rules of the card game “Fizzbin.” He uses it for a distraction from the actual plan. Likewise, in Django Unchained, the protags enter Candyland under the pretense of buying a “mandingo” fighter, which is also a distraction from their true plan. So somehow the new Fizzbin involves wrestling Ferengi. You don’t even have to enslave them, they’ll fight to the death over a cut of the cash prize voluntarily, plus they’re the only species analytical enough to follow the complicated rules.
Who are we kidding? Fan mashups have been doing this for years:
So yeah. In the end, we all love this faerie tale too much to see it actually happen. The most remarkable thing that would come of this exercise is that Samuel L. Jackson will have played roles in both leading sci-fi franchises.