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‘The Revenant’ writer joins Quentin Tarantino’s R-rated Star Trek movie

Quentin Tarantino wearing sunglasses.
Andrea Raffin /
Have you ever watched an episode of Star Trek (or, perhaps, one of the feature-length films) and wondered whether it would be better with the blood, violence, and swearing turned up to 11? Well, it might just be your lucky day.

Famed director Quentin Tarantino — the mind behind acclaimed movies like Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds, and Django Unchained — has reportedly concocted an idea for a film set in the legendary space-faring universe and is moving forward with Paramount and screenwriter Mark L. Smith (per Variety). Tarantino has demanded the film be “R”-rated, and has recruited The Revenant co-writer Smith to script the story. Tarantino reportedly brought the idea to J.J. Abrams, who spearheaded the most recent Star Trek film trilogy (directing the first two entries and producing the third), and Deadline claimed that Abrams and Paramount agreed to his rating demands.

According to an earlier report, Smith was the frontrunner for penning the script following an hours-long writer’s room meeting with Tarantino, Abrams, and the rest of the Star Trek studio team. Also in consideration for writing duties were Lindsey Beer (Godzilla vs. Kong) and Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3, Sherlock Holmes 3).

Obviously, an “R”-rating would be a marked tonal shift for the typically general-audience-friendly sci-fi franchise, and the freedom to drop in more violence and a whole new choice of vocabulary (to say the least) could open up all sorts of ideas — let alone adding Tarantino’s brilliant and unique eye behind the camera. While nothing has been confirmed, including whether or not Tarantino would definitely direct his idea for the film, the report claims the he “hopes to direct.”

Tarantino has preferred to work with original concepts and scripts throughout his career, but he’s also currently working on a project centered on the infamous 1969 Manson murders for Sony. Tarantino has reportedly approached Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) about the role of Sharon Tate, and (to no one’s surprise) the director has apparently also shown interest in casting both Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) and Samuel L. Jackson (like, every movie ever), with whom Tarantino has maintained a close working relationship for years. Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise have also been mentioned.

Smith’s next project is the World War II drama Overlord, which he co-wrote with Billy Ray. Abrams is a producer on the film, which hits theaters October 26, 2018.

This wouldn’t technically be the first time for Tarantino directing an existing intellectual property, either. He directed two episodes of CSI and one episode of E.R. Assuming the Manson movie moves forward smoothly, a Star Trek film would be the 10th for the director (counting Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2 as a single film), building atop an already-legendary oeuvre. It could also be his last if the director holds fast to his plans to retire from directing after his 10th feature, though some of that depends on how you do the math.

If you like the idea of adult Star Trek but you only have the patience of a child, you might want to check out the upcoming fourth season of Black Mirror, which will have an entire episode — titled U.S.S. Callister — which satirizes the seminal sci-fi series in classic, disturbing Black Mirror style. Meanwhile, the Manson movie has a tentative release date set for August 9, 2019 — the 50th anniversary of the killings.

Update: We added a report that Mark L. Smith has been hired to write the screenplay for the film.

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Nick Hastings
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick is a Portland native and a graduate of Saint Mary's College of California with a Bachelor's of Communication. Nick's…
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