Tarantino is a longtime Trek fan and has spoken before about his ideas for the franchise. Deadline reports that he has pitched a film to Paramount, and the studio wants to assemble a writer’s room to work on the project. If that all pans out, Tarantino could direct it.
This news is being shared widely with predictable levels of shock and awe. While Tarantino is considered to be one of America’s greatest living directors, he’s also known for making crass, adult-rated movies with an enthusiastic dose of gory violence and racial epithets. It’s hard to imagine him in charge of any family-friendly studio franchise, never mind Star Trek.
Reading between the lines of the initial report, we’re a long way from seeing “Tarantino’s Star Trek.” Basically, Paramount is (maybe) planning to hire a team of writers to develop a story by Tarantino. That doesn’t mean we’re going to see a Star Trek movie in the style of Pulp Fiction. They’re also at a very early stage in the creative process, meaning they probably won’t have a usable script for a couple of years. (Which is convenient, because Tarantino is already working on a movie due out in 2019.)
If Tarantino’s pitch makes it through Paramount’s as-yet nonexistent writer’s room, we still have the question of whether Tarantino would direct it. He has a very distinctive style, and he’s not used to working within the restrictions of a studio franchise. Of course, he may have pitched a genius idea that fits perfectly with Paramount’s vision for a PG-13, CGI-heavy $200 million blockbuster. But that seems unlikely.
If Paramount is truly willing to give creative control to a director like Tarantino, that would mark a radical shift in Hollywood’s attitude to risk-free, formulaic franchise filmmaking. Otherwise, we’re more likely to see a generic Star Trek sequel in five years or so, with a “story by” credit for Tarantino, and someone like Ant-Man‘s Peyton Reed at the helm.