Shuttle Pod 44: Tarantino Trek?

With Discovery on hiatus for a few more weeks, The Shuttle Pod crew examines a handful of news items that have come up since the last episode. The biggest by far were the reports of Quentin Tarantino pitching a story to J.J. Abrams for the next Star Trek movie. Tarantino is known to be an Original Series fan, but the movie could be about any part of the franchise. Is it a Kelvin Timeline movie? A TNG movie? Something altogether new? He’s got a story idea, but what are the chances he will direct it too? We put on our speculation hats and dive in!

Back on Star Trek: Discovery news, we chat about the new soundtrack release, and how Discovery has made a number of “shows to binge this winter” lists.

We also discuss the official announcement of a new version of The Twilight Zone for CBS All Access. The show is being developed by Jordan Peele (Get Out), Simon Kinberg (X-Men franchise), and Marco Ramirez (Daredevil).

Come listen in as Brian, Jared, and Matt discuss. 


Subscribe to Shuttle Pod: The Podcast on iTunesGoogle Play Music and Pocket Casts!

Like what you hear? Please feel free to leave us a glowing review on iTunes.

We love to hear from our listeners! Love the show? Hate the show? Have an idea for a topic of discussion? Hit us up in the comments below.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Just FYI, the subhead on the main page says “Quinten Tarantino”…

Woops, fixed. Thanks!

Jonathan Frakes appeared in a Twilight Zone episode with Pam Dawber in a brief scene where hes trying to hit on Pam Dawbers character

I could not love a blood-soaked brain scrambler of a Tarantino Trek. I think he’s a talented man whose movies entertain, but frustrate. Everyone’s headed down the hole in his movies. That just doesn’t jibe with Trek optimism.

Everyone’s headed down the hole in his movies. That just doesn’t jibe with Trek optimism.
I agree, but Jackie Brown succeeded in her objectives, so maybe that kind of end will apply to Kirk and the Enterprise. Without the drug smuggling of course. Maybe Kirk and crew devise a “sting” to get a bad guy!

An R-rated Quentin Tarantino Star Trek movie would be interesting, but not Star Trek.

Picture this: The bar scene in the first JJ Star Trek movie would have started with some interesting dialogue, with a tension building throughout the scene until the bar fight erupts very suddenly, ending with blood sprayed on the walls, bodies with graphic point-blank phaser blast wounds to the head lying on broken furniture, maybe with one body impaled on a bar tap handle for “visual interest”, etc.

When they get into space, we have scene where Kirk on the bridge verbally dances with Nero or someone else (it doesn’t matter) on his bridge until they suddenly start shooting at each other, emphasizing all the nasty ways to die in space, like watching for five minutes people asphyxiate in the vacuum of space.

A Tarantino Star Trek could absolutely jibe with the franchises optimism if he wanted it to. He’s made some downright feel-good movies.

Not sure why there’s all this hate for the concept when we know nothing about what he will do. He’s obviously a talented filmmaker. That’s all that matters at this stage. No point in judging something that hasn’t even been written yet.

“He’s made some downright feel-good movies.”

Some? He’s made ONE: Jackie Brown! That’s the only one in which he restrained some of his trademark features in favour of making something different. But it was a romance, not a genre set piece. All his other movies are filled with loads of mindless, out-of-thin-air blood letting… no matter what genre they try to “honor”…

You and I saw two very different movies. Jackie Brown was not primarily a romance, it was definitely a police procedural where the lead, a flight attendant, was caught smuggling drug money by the DEA, and had to work for them to bring in / bring down the rest of the smuggling ring. At least three people are semi-graphically killed. There is a hint of romance between Jackie and Max, the bail bondsman, but it doesn’t go anywhere.

You may be mistaking it for the movie Out of Sight (Soderbergh) which takes place in the same universe, and shares a character (Michael Keaton’s DEA agent, Ray Nicolette) with Jackie Brown. That most definitely is a romance, between George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, with a crime backdrop. (Four people get killed in that one, too, but as they’re both adaptations of Elmore Leonard novels it’s kind of par for the course.)

I still consider Jackie Brown to be Tarantino’s strongest, most mature film. The Max/Jackie romance was beautifully underplayed and I still think they’ll end up together after the film ends. We didn’t need to see a consummation though.

Well I disagree that his othe rnovies aren’t feel good, but what’s the one thing that makes Jackie Brown different from his others?

It’s the only film he’s made based on an existing work. He can and has shown an ability to adapt when making something that he doesn’t own.

He did the same when he directed episodes of CSI and ER also.

Relax your sphincter and have an open mind.

According to Gene Roddenberry, NBC Standards and Practices and the MPAA are not STAR TREK. STAR TREK was created to get around their dictums not adopt them.

True, and yes, in the past Star Trek had all the right to “get around” some of these restrictions… by showing an interracial kiss, strong female leaders, commenting on Vietnam or racism without directly adressing it.
I love DISCO for showing a homosexual couple in a natural way. I love the diversity of the show… all of this is fine but it only proves, most of these restrictions are history anyway. And that’s good.
But the boundary-pushing Tarantino would do, goes far beyond anything GR would have wished for.
At what point did GR advocate grindhouse exploitation? If he had wanted that, he could have made it in the 70s. Yeah, he would have done nudity, he might have even been fine with hardcore inserts so typical for the 70s’ Euro sleaze, but over-the-top violence? That’s a stretch to say the least.


Read Harlan Ellison’s award-winning script for CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER and then get back to me.

QT could easily be more than justified in introducing grindhouse elements into primitive societies that the Enterprise may discover. But I think you are making an unwarranted leap that he’d, as a fan of Trek, would turn the Federation and Starfleet itself into a bunch of blood splatterers with their self-cauterizing weapons

But first and foremost, those network or MPAA limitations aren’t in place at all these days anymore. R-Rated and TV-MA content has become mainstream watched by entire families. There is no need for boundary pushing, it’s just jumping the bandwagon of pseudo-mature content at this point. There’s no need for Trek to contribute to that arguable downward spiral. On the contrary, it would be bold cutting against that very grain for a change…


Re: limitations aren’t in place at all these days anymore

This is an absolutely false assumption on your part. For instance, I watched Gina Nolan’s SHEENA over-the-air reruns on HEROES & ICONS in the United States and they regularly pixelate the creature into which she transforms’ bosom which wasn’t obscured when it originally aired.

I also recall Europe’s 1960s broadcast restrictions seemed much more lax than what you yourself now describe.

“I also recall Europe’s 1960s broadcast restrictions seemed much more lax than what you yourself now describe.”

What I was talking about is GERMANY. You cannot compare this dreadful place I was born into to the rest of Europe when it comes to censorship. Germany is sickly obsessed with youth protection and it always has been that way. They would rate TOS 14+ back in the 70s.
The rest of Europe is much more relaxed… France, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden… most of these countries hardly use or do not even have an 18+ rating anymore and there are hardly any broadcasting restrictions. Even the UK has abandoned their “videos nasty” policy back in 1999…
But yeah, even in that pitiful place I have to call my home, things are changing… 20 years ago, shows like GoT or TWD would have never been able to air uncensored… the only TV-MA show I remember back then was “Tales From the Crypt” and they edited large chucks out of it for TV broadcast…

But regular TV broadcast doesn’t matter anymore… there’s Netflix, Amazon and not even those youth protection puritans over here can do anything about that!
Which is good…for other shows…

For Trek, I just don’t want to go down the very same rabbit hole…

@ smike: You keep blaming the German youth protection system for your strange attitudes toward graphic content. I grew up under the same system and I don’t know anybody here who’s as obsessed with this as you are. So don’t blame it on the system, these are your personal issues.

JJ’s bar scene? I can think of worse: the K-7 Tribbles brawl between Starfleet and the Klingons. Imagine that done Tarantino-style! And that would be the moment Star Trek dies.

Arguably, there has been loads of death in Trek: The Borg, The Dominion War, The Xindi, Nero snuffing out Vulcan, you name it… billions of casualties. None of this has ever been done graphically and in such a cynical way Tarantino does it!
Yeah, if you stick to the mere (off-screen) body count of Trek, there isn’t much damage this man can do to Trek. But movies are more than counting casualities… it’s the visual style that matters the most, the moral context. And Starfleet officers murdering dozens of Klingons in an over-the-top bar brawl would send Trek over the edge of moral indifference, no matter how many lives were lost in previous installments.

Given that Quentin has said he’s a huge Shatner fan, I think it’d be very fitting to see a mirror universe story where Kirk (as played by Shatner) has risen to become supreme evil warlord. Evil Kirk as played by old Shatner would be very fitting, me thinks.

That might work. It fits Tarantino’s type of movie and would explain most of the missing cast.

Great idea.

It appears I’m in the minority but I love the idea that a skilled filmmaker…maybe the best of his generation wants to honor “Star Trek” by making a film to honor the legendary series.

Sure it was nice that JJ Abrams resurrected “Star Trek” but he wasn’t a fan. It would be nice to see what a true fan could bring to “Star Trek”.

Wasn’t that Justin Lin’s movie?

“Beyond” definitely had its TOS-type moments, and plot-wise, I feel it had a better story than the previous two movies.

Beyond was probably my least favourite of the three. And I really didn’t like Into Darkness. But Beyond isn’t frustrating in the way Into Darkness is — it’s just kind of there.

“maybe the best of his generation wants to honor “Star Trek” by making a film to honor the legendary series”

Problem is that he simply ISN’T the “best” filmmaker of his generation. He’s too special and too limited to be compared to any other serious filmmaker. He does what he does, and that something polarizes people. But he’s not versatile enough to make anything else, especially not when the genre provides him with the opportunity to continue his bloody legacy, be it westerns, war movies or now sci-fi…

OK….”arguably the best filmmaker of his generation”

Fans aren’t necessarily great for Trek. Orci was a fan. John Logan was a fan.

If anything, Abrams (and Lin) faltered by trying too hard to placate fans.

Nicholas Meyer wasn’t a fan, to put it mildly, of Trek.

That picture though! LOL Awesome!

Agreed. Someone needs to make the poster version!

With a few Photoshop adjustments, it would be really great!

Kudos to TrekMovie for the concept :^)

That picture is GREAT! The Trek crew looks really badass!

What would I like to see in a Tarantino film if I could have my own way? As an artist, I’d love to see something new and fresh, especially with absolutely no time travel/multi-universe story used at all! As a fan, I’d love to see Tarantino do a story that picks up were The Doomsday Machine left off where it is discovered just after Kirk and Company destroy the lone machine that a whole collection of these machines exist and are in and heading toward our solar system. Could be a great story if expanded!

Quentin Tarantino may produce movies with bloodletting, but it’s his attention to DETAIL that makes his movies great. He adds so much texture to the dialogue, scenery… most everything.

He is a masterful DIRECTOR. With the right script, he may give audiences some of the best Trek onscreen since TWOK. Possibly better. (It also depends who appears in the movie.)

But those DETAILS, those great dialogues are ultimately wasted, thrown out of an airlock because of his inability to conclude a story in a humane, less cynical way.
Yeah, we’ll be getting a great villain and some there will be clever witty dialogue, great tension and all but there will be the moment when all of this is flushed down the toilet in favour of pointless graphic splatter and gore lasting minutes. Most of his movies lead up to that moment, no matter how long you keep your hopes up he may finally serve something else. Apart from Jackie Brown, he has never delivered anything else.

But the fact that he has delivered Jackie Brown should be all the proof in the world that he’s CAPABLE of doing it. And given that he seems to actually understand and like Trek, I think he would know how to respect it in his movie. Also he isn’t writing the film.

Exactly, albo. Jackie Brown is also the o oh film he’s made based on someone elses work, so he clearly has a respect for what an existing set of characters and existing world require.

Oops I should’ve read all the way through the comments first ;^)

I don’t think Tarantino necessarily splatter up the screen with gore. I think in a tribute to TOS he’d do much less bloodletting and violence. I think he’s capable of that.

Just because a writer/director has made movies with a “grindhouse” feel, it doesn’t mean *all* their movies will be the same.

His “Jackie Brown” was a loving tribute to Blaxploitation and “sting” movies of the 1970s. His Trek tribute could be equally loving and respectful of the genre.

And I look forward to witty dialogue for the characters, not that we haven’t had it before. But I think his will be really good.

If this project gets green-lighted, that is!

This is good news. Nothing worse than forcing a release date on something like Tarantino’s Trek.

Movies based on toys and games. Ugh, they all sound terrible. Way to go , Paramount.

Danp, Because that cr@p makes $$$

A Micronauts movie? Based on the old 1970s/80s toy line? Those were my favorite toys as a kid; I had all of them (even got all the expensive imports when I vainly tried to recapture my youth as an adult). I’ll be curious to see what they do with that one.

The absence of Star Trek on the other hand is hardly surprising. It’s pretty obvious that Paramount still has absolutely zero idea what to do with the IP. JJ’s Star Wars inspired take really didn’t pan out and Justin Lin’s effort was met with indifference.

If they had a newTrek film ready, they could easily place it on the schedule.
Film slates are NEVER set in stone.


you can enjoy the Paramount holodeck movie theater exhibiting movies in 3-D!

I for one think the Trek fan community needs someone like Tarantino to prove to the fanbase that yes Trek can be done R-rated and done well at that. I think he can deliver a hot exciting take on the franchise that actually has something to say, but is also stylish too. I know Trek can be R-rated and be good. And if he can make it work, then no fan will ever be able to say Trek can’t be R-rated again. Which is good, because Trek is whatever it needs to be to be interesting, and R-rated is a pretty shallow label anyway.

Keep in mind that Tarantino is not set as the director. He could merely be the principal screenwriter. Remember he also wrote True Romance which was directed by the late Tony Scott… a commercial filmmaker with a proven string of big-budget action movies.

If I were Paramount, and if JJ were not to direct again, I’d actually pick a proven but different pair of screenwriter / directors – Ava DuVernay and Jennifer Lee, who are behind what looks to be a fantastically imaginative, and visually stunning adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time.

I think if brought to bear on Star Trek, they could deliver a flick that could be a) imaginative, rich, eye-poppingly gorgeous sci-fi, b) family friendly, c) crowd-pleasing and critic-pleasing in a way that could translate into the first $1B Trek film.

Or to go down the deep sci-fi path, Denis Villeneuve (BR 2049, Arrival, Sicario) esp if Roger Deakins was DOP. For those who want the scale and grandeur of The Motion Picture, but with a focus on a human story… that would work.

Alternately, if Trek continues down the action path, an interesting choice might be Kathryn Bigelow, who has a strong track record with military action / human interest stories like The Hurt Locker, and has done genre sci-fi work.

I’m not sure how much writing Tarantino would do. The news stories said that he was pitching his idea to a room of writers who would then write the script. So if he’s not writing it and he’s not set as the director, either, what would be his involvement? A story and producer credit?

Star Trek will never have a $1 billion grossing film.

I would never say that about ANY existing franchise.
You just never know.

It’s gotten close. The three Kelvinverse films have in total done over $1Bn worldwide unadjusted box office. With the combination of a great director, story, screenplay, compelling visual design and proper promotion, who knows?

TBH, while each film was thrilling in its own way (to greater or lesser degrees) you wouldn’t be wrong to say that the three KT films were promoted very similarly, and had broadly similar storylines; a villain bent on revenge due to [insert cause here], the Enterprise gets seriously banged up, crew members fly off into space, etc etc.

If you didn’t know Trek lore / inside baseball could we blame audiences for not telling the three movies apart, really? The first movie took the biggest risks in telling the origin story and showing that “anything can happen”, but I don’t think the followups capitalized on that.

I don’t think we want “The Motionless Picture” again, but an adventure in a truly alien setting would be welcome.

The best Trek was ever able to do in a single movie was about $500 million worldwide; that’s respectable but also not even remotely in the same league as the heavy hitters like Star Wars or Marvel.

Trek has had an especially hard time finding an audience overseas and the foreign market has really grown in importance to overall box office.

Paramount has tried going the Star Wars route, they’ve tried attaching a high profile director, they’ve tried bringing in actors popular in Europe and nothing has really worked to expand the audience significantly.

At the end of the day I think TPTB need to accept that Trek works best on television, where it can really tell the kinds of stories it is known for. Changing it into Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy or something else just won’t work. Stunt casting won’t work either.

As I’ve said many times on TM, I’d love to see JJ’s cast in a limited-run series! It’d be a nice way to end KT Trek, if they must end it.

It still expanded the audience significantly compared to previous Trek movies. It’s not a kids franchise like Star Wars or most of the Marvel movies — so it’s not going to get that kind of money. But it still does a lot better than some other franchises.

Not necessarily – the way the Federal Reserve keeps inflating the money supply, the day may come when a lousy box office take could be a billions dollars.

Trek isn’t a billion dollar franchise. If someone out there thought it had that kind of potential, cash strapped Paramount would sell the rights faster then you can say ‘live long and prosper’….

Paramount doesn’t have the rights to sell. It’s unlikely they even have the right to sub-license the property. CBS would just take it back, and whatever Parmount paid them initially forfeit. And that’s not likely to happen either. It’s 2006 all over again — ticking clock with CBS ready to pull back the rights if Paramount defaults and doesn’t put a movie into production. It’s a shame really as it puts cash strapped Paramount into the desperate position of exploiting something quickly and without a lot of forethought. Then again the new regime at Paramount may just be righting the ship, for the eventual CBS/Viacom merger, and allowing CBS to take back Trek feature rights may just be part of the plan for when they’re all one company again …

If someone made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, CBS would sign off on it. It point of the comment isn’t the logistics behind unloading an IP, its if anyone sees the Trek franchise as capable of producing a billion dollar movie. That answer is no – just for the sake of discussion, if Trek did defy the odds and produce a movie that had Skyfall box office, that could actually be a disaster for the franchise – if Paramount did something stupid with the follow up, and throw 300MM at that sequel.

Interesting ideas! But none are “lean” directors; I think Paramount would be willing to float another Trek movie if costs will be minimized and returns will be maximized. I think Tarantino delivers those kinds of movies.

I hope his idea includes The Guardian of Forever. That could be used to reunite Kirk with his father in the KT universe.

Note to the script writers – Please refrain from having someone hanging from a cliff, being transported in mid air and crashing into the transporter pad, and Chris Pine saying “Do it! Do it!”.

Or the Enterprise rising from clouds of dust or water

But I have to admit I like Kirk saying “Do it-Do it-Do it!” on the bridge instead of in intimate situations with anime-styled pony-tailed catgirls :^)

I’m mildly interested in seeing what Tarantino can come up with, but I don’t think Trek needs to be R-rated to stay relevant. Same with other family friendly franchises like Star Wars, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, etc. You just need a good story and a novel concept that will get their attention.

No Kayla? Boo.

I am not going to be listening to the podcast until Kayla returns.

Re Patrick Stewart. If Tarantino stays with TOS-era Trek, no reason he couldn’t cast Stewart in another role – even the villain. Would be fun!

Hee! British actors play the best villains.

But personally, I hope there’s no “villain,” I hope there’s a dire science fiction-oriented situation.

It would be too distracting IMO. All people will be thinking of is ‘why is Picard a bad guy?’


Re: ‘why is Picard a bad guy?’

You type that is if you believe somehow that the question is substantially different from “Why is Picard a Borg bad guy?” a question both the series and the movies have already both featured suffering no such penalty.

Star Trek is not formula, it’s format. A base from which a story can be told. Go forth and tell me a good story.


I could not find a way to agree with you more than I already do. Right ON!

Quentin Tarantino has proven himself a true artist. Who knows if he still has the magic or not, but I’d say, at this point, there’s nothing to lose. With Tarantino at the helm, we just might get a film of true artistic worth.

What gives me hope about this is that Tarantino’s main thing isn’t REALLY the violence, sex, and profanity. It’s tributizing and deconstructing defunct pulp genres. He starts with an old format he’s in love with (like exploitation cinema or martial arts serials), hyper-exaggerates certain elements, and uses awesome dialogue and acting to elevate the whole package into something that transcends the original material. He’s usually worked in genres that were inherently violent, so yeah, you get fountains of blood and such, but if he puts Roddenberry’s world under a microscrope the same way he did with, say, pulp comics, it could really be dynamite.

Great news! QT’s Star Trek film has a writer. The Revenant’s Mark L Smith will be writing the film.

Wow I came here to post this very thing. But yes it looks like the QT film is getting major attention now. It doesn’t mean it WILL happen but it shows that Paramount is really serious about it and fast tracking it. A big difference between where things were when things felt like a black hole before Tarantino got involved.