So, it’s really happening. When Once Upon A Time In Hollywood hits UK cinemas next month, Quentin Tarantino will only make one more movie before he retires from film.
No matter how much we deny it to ourselves, several interviews on the press tour for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood confirm he’ll be sticking to his 2016 promise to go out on his 10th film.
"I don’t think he’s bluffing at all. I think he’s dead serious,” Brad Pitt said. "And I kind of openly lament that to him, but he understands the math of when he feels like directors start falling off their game."
But what will that final film be? The answer will probably surprise all of us, as he has a lot of ideas in his drawer. We’re going to list the most likely, throwing in a couple of motherf****ing wildcards in along the way.
Top of the list is Tarantino’s Star Trek movie, as that’s the one he’s been most openly discussing recently.
It might seem like an odd choice, but it actually makes perfect sense if you’ve followed Tarantino’s filmography and influences closely.
One of QT’s biggest influences is Brian De Palma - a director Tarantino has talked about throughout his career.
“When Brian De Palma would come out with a new movie, the whole first two weeks before the movie opened, I would count down the days,” Tarantino said in 2014.
“That week before Scarface opened, that was Scarface Week. You know, 'Six more days to Scarface!' 'Five more days to Scarface!' I’d have Scarface dreams ... And then the new De Palma movie would open.
“I’d go see the first show, the first day, and no one could come with me. I had to see it by myself. Then I’d ruminate about the film all day long and then I’d go to see the midnight show that night, and then I could actually have some friends with me. That kind of excitement for a filmmaker is one of the things that keeps filmmaking alive.”
And De Palma is an influence on QT’s decision to quit the business early. De Palma is a classic example of a once great director who has lost their way in the latter stages of their career, with some truly atrocious reviews of his recent work. And what was De Palma’s last truly great film? Mission Impossible, a big screen adaptation of a TV show he grew up watching.
With Star Trek, Tarantino could make his own big screen adaptation of a TV show he grew up watching, and do what his hero couldn’t - go out on a high.
QT’s also never done a sci-fi film, making it the only grindhouse genre section in the VHS store he hasn’t contributed to, which must be on his mind. And who doesn’t want to see Pulp Fiction in space?
Kill Bill: Vol 3
A surprise contender for Tarantino’s final film emerged this week, with the director revealing that he’s been in talks about Kill Bill: Vol 3 with the Bride herself, Uma Thurman.
“Me and Uma have talked about it recently, frankly, to tell you the truth,” Tarantino said. “I have thought about it a little further. We were talking about it literally last week. If any of my movies were going to spring from my other movies, it would be a third Kill Bill.”
Fascinatingly, Tarantino said after the original film’s release that he planned to do a trilogy with a 15 year gap between the second film and the third film. Kill Bill: Vol 2 was released in 2004, which means it’s now 15 years later.
“Oh yeah, initially I was thinking this would be my ‘Dollars Trilogy’. I was going to do a new one every ten years. But I need at least fifteen years before I do this again.”
“I’ve already got the whole mythology: Sofie Fatale will get all of Bill’s money. She’ll raise Nikki, who’ll take on The Bride. Nikki deserves her revenge every bit as much as The Bride deserved hers. I might even shoot a couple of scenes for it now so I can get the actresses while they’re this age.”
Not only would this make sense as a final film chronologically, it would also go a long way to protecting Tarantino’s legacy.
After all, the reveal that he near fatally injured Uma Thurman on the set of Kill Bill by forcing her to do a stunt she didn’t want to do is probably the biggest black mark against his reputation.
Working with her again to conclude the trilogy would be the best way to ensure his canon can be comfortably be revisited, which is one of the driving forces of his decision to retire in the first place.
One potential wildcard is a project Tarantino’s been talking about since 2012, Killer Crow. We’ll let Quentin explain that one.
“My original idea for Inglourious Basterds way back when was that this [would be] a huge story that included the [smaller] story that you saw in the film, but also followed a bunch of black troops, and they had been f****ed over by the American military.
“They basically — the way Lt. Aldo Raines (Brad Pitt) and the Basterds are having an ‘Apache resistance’ — [the] black troops go on an Apache warpath and kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland.”
“So that was always going to be part of it. And I was going to do it as a miniseries, and that was going to be one of the big storylines. When I decided to try to turn it into a movie, that was a section I had to take out to help tame my material.
“I have most of that written. It’s ready to go; I just have to write the second half of it…That would be the third of the trilogy. It would be [connected to] Inglourious Basterds, too, because Inglourious Basterds are in it, but it is about the soldiers. It would be called Killer Crow or something like that.”
With The Hateful Eight being split into a four-part mini-series by Netflix (with Tarantino’s blessing), this one seems likely to turn up a series rather than a movie, but it would still work perfectly as Tarantino’s 10th film.
Django V Zorro
Django Unchained is arguably Tarantino’s best film (shut up, it’s true), and the idea of a big screen adaptation of the comic-book spin-off that pits Django against swashbuckling cinematic icon Zorro is a jaw-dropping prospect.
Tarantino’s provided an outline and, as with Star Trek he’s hired someone else to write the script (Jerrod Carmichael of The Carmichael Show), so there’s a possibility he’ll decide to direct it himself. Of everything on this list, this is probably the most unlikely. But we’d really love to see it.
Of course, if Django vs Zorro doesn’t happen, there will be unfinished business on Tarantino’s cinematic CV. He’s talked about wanting to do a western trilogy and, while Once Upon a Time In Hollywood contains western elements (with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton the star of a western television series), it probably doesn’t count.
For all the talk of Star Trek and Kill Bill, we can’t help but think Tarantino’s final film could surprise everyone. And that would probably be the most fitting way to end his film career of all the possible options.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is in UK cinemas on 15 August.