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Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner

Every time we seem ready to dismiss the idea of Quentin Tarantino directing a Star Trek movie – because why would Quentin Tarantino really direct a Star Trek movie? – the auteur’s name lands back in the mix of breaking news on the franchise. There are dueling reports coming out of the trades this afternoon that new Paramount film chief Emma Watts is shaking up the franchise, looking at three possible films in the Star Trek series. And one is Tarantino’s pitch, though the director might be out of the mix on helming it.

You have to jump to Deadline to get information on what Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek story would be about, and once you hear the description, it begins to make sense why the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood filmmaker would be interested in the material. The trade says that Tarantino’s idea (penned by The Revenant screenwriter Mark L. Smith) would adapt a classic episode from the original Star Trek TV series. The trade says that the story “takes place largely earthbound in a 30s gangster setting.”

A cursory search of Star Trek episodes leads us to “The City on the Edge of Forever,” episode 28 from the very first season of Star Trek: The Original Series. In that story, an ill Dr. McCoy travels back in time via a time distorter. He makes changes that drastically affect the present day, forcing Kirk and Spock to also travel back (to Depression-era New York City) and prevent the alterations that Bones commits.

Star Trek characters in gangster-land New York? Yeah, Tarantino absolutely would be all over that. The director’s an admitted Star Trek fan. He hasn’t been able to do a Cagney-esque New York gangster film, though he adores period pieces. And so a script written for him that allows him to flex that creative muscle makes a lot of sense.

However, Deadline does state that for now, Quentin Tarantino “dropped out” as the possible director for that project, even though the script remains in contention on Emma Watts’ desk. So, let’s talk out the possibilities.

If Paramount were to move forward with Mark L. Smith’s screenplay, could Tarantino be lured back over to the project? Absolutely. We were lucky enough to have a long conversation with Tarantino about this, mainly because he has given himself a hard-and-fast cap of 10 movies, so his next movie would be his tenth and final feature film. However, in the conversation, he also said that because he MADE the rule, he could easily adjust it, and just say that Star Trek doesn’t count.

Hollywood rules are very breakable.

Paramount allegedly has two other options. There’s a script that would stay with the actors in J.J. Abrams’ Kelvin universe. It would bring Chris Hemsworth back into the fold, and possibly involve time travel. And Noah Hawley has a script that would call for a whole new cast, though The Hollywood Reporter says that one is on the backburner in Emma Watts’ eyes.

Basically, things are moving ahead for Star Trek at Paramount, and a story that Quentin Tarantino once loved might be the chosen script. He’s not attached now. Might that change?

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