Gene Roddenberry’s son skeptical of Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek pitch

After years of waiting, a new Star Trek movie is finally out of development hell and moving forward at Paramount, directed by WandaVision veteran Matt Shakman and written by Lindsey Beer and Geneva Robertson (Captain Marvel). The studio rejected several other proposals before settling on this script, the most intriguing of which was undoubtedly the R-rated Star Trek movie proposed by Quentin Tarantino.

Star Trek was initially envisioned by Gene Roddenberry as taking place in an optimistic and utopian future where humanity had finally overcome its more negative traits to unite behind the values of science, exploration and diplomacy. After his death, however, Roddenberry’s vision began to be diluted, with more pessimistic and negative views of humanity creeping into the franchise.

Tarantino, best known for pulse-pounding, self-aware movies like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, probably isn’t the first person you think of when you want an optimistic take on the future. His Star Trek movie was going to be based on the popular Original Series episode “A Piece of the Action.” In this second season episode, the crew of the Enterprise arrives on Sigma Iotia II, a world whose society had been built to resemble 1920s America, complete with gangsters and Tommy guns. While there has never been a sequel to the episode in the series itself, the Iotian’s have featured in many licensed works, including the latest Star Trek: Picard novel, Rogue Elements by John Jackson Miller.

Rod Roddenberry doesn’t want a “Reservoir DogsStar Trek

Speaking to Forbes, Gene Roddenberry’s son Rod said that he was one of those who struggled with the concept, saying he is “myopic” with the way he sees Star Trek. “I mentioned that I grew up with fans coming up to me out saying how Star Trek inspired them and gave them hope for the future,” he said. “It’s the optimism and the messaging in there that make Star Trek what it was. I truly believe that.”

I would be curious to read a script on [Quentin Tarantino’s] take. I do not think you could say we’re going to do a Reservoir DogsStar Trek. I’ll be honest, that doesn’t work for me, but he is a fan, and I think as a fan, he probably understands to some degree that Star Trek has to have some of this messaging. I would be curious, and I would try to have an open mind, but I’m not sure what it would be. I am glad that people are willing to explore that at least.

To be fair, Tarantino didn’t intend to write for this movie; those duties were going to go to The Revenant screenwriter Mark L. Smith. As a fan and a talented director, it seems likely that Tarantino would be able to alter his style to fit the franchise.

Rod Roddenberry emphasized the need for Star Trek to be less about action and more about philosophical questions, diplomacy, politics, and world-building. “If you create a Star Trek that is just action; that is not Star Trek, in my opinion,” he said. “That’s what makes it different than Star Wars, and I love Star Wars, but they can both coexist. And I love Tarantino’s work and the kind of films that he does. I am trying to have an open mind.”

While we know quite a bit about Tarantino’s proposal, comparatively, we know very little about the pitch that Paramount has gone with. While the writers and director are confirmed, there is no information on a plot or whether the likes of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, or Zoe Saldana will be returning. Filming is scheduled to begin in early-to-mid 2022, with a June 2023 release date.

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