Will Quentin Tarantino Essentially Turn “Star Trek” into “Star Wars”?

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Miramax)

So, Quentin Tarantino is making a “Star Trek” movie.

There’s something that nobody saw coming.

Apparently, Tarantino came up with some genius idea for a new “Trek” movie, pitched it to JJ Abrams, and is now assembling a writing team to put together a script.

This may come as a surprise to anyone who’s been waiting for that “Star Trek 4” we’d been promised, in which Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk was to team up with Chris Hemsworth’s Captain Kirk, thanks to some form of time travel mumbo jumbo.

Progress on “Trek 4” has stalled, with many involved with the project suspecting that it might never actually happen. The announcement of Tarantino’s movie appears to be the final nail in that particular coffin.

Chris Pine as Captain Kirk
Source: Paramount Pictures

So what can we expect from a Quentin Tarantino “Star Trek” movie? The director is best known for pop-culture references and gratuitous violence, so how will this marry with the long-established world of “Trek”?

It’s hard to know for certain, but thus far, all we know is that JJ Abrams loves the idea.

This is hardly surprising – Abrams exists on a pure diet of nostalgia, making movies which, time and again, borrow all their best ideas from more technically creative works.

If Tarantino swans up to Abrams and offers to make an action-heavy “Star Trek” movie that’s filled with subtle nods to the history of science fiction, there’s no way Abrams won’t love it.

Abrams, after all, is the director who essentially turned “Star Trek” into an audition tape for “Star Wars”. His vision of this universe is filled with big explosions, R2-D2 cameos, and scenes that are literally, shot-for-shot, recreations of classic “Trek” moments.

So what do you get when you take Quentin Tarantino and let him run riot with the “Star Trek” brand?

Probably a movie that’s designed as a pastiche of classic pulp sci-fi serials from the days of “Flash Gordon”. Something that’s brimming with cultural nods that show off Tarantino’s love of ancient film reels and classic monster movies.

Flash Gordon
Source: Universal Pictures

In other words, all the same ingredients that went into the original “Star Wars”.

To a certain extent, this might be fun – Tarantino stands poised to make a movie that’s a lot more original than anything Abrams has done with either “Star Wars” or “Star Trek”, even if he will be recycling old ideas. The benefit is that, presumably, Tarantino will delve back into the history of influences behind “Star Wars” rather than just borrowing from George Lucas’ own movies.

That’s great for “Star Wars” fans, but it’s bad news for anyone who loves “Star Trek”.

Gene Roddenberry’s iconic franchise has never been about looking back. While “Star Wars” is steeped in mythic nostalgia, “Star Trek” is supposed to be about looking forward, embracing the future, and maintaining an optimistic opinion of humanity’s abilities to rise above our current petty struggles.

Quentin Tarantino has it within himself to make a fantastic sci-fi blockbuster in the vein of “Star Wars”.

Whatever he’s going to make, though, it’s unlikely that it’ll actually look anything like “Star Trek”.