Quentin Tarantino keeps swearing up and down that he’s going to retire from filmmaking after he makes one more movie. And it looks like he won’t be making his tenth and final film for a little while – but that doesn’t mean he won’t be keeping busy. The filmmaker recently revealed plans to stay occupied with a novel, a play, and also a TV show.
After he hits 10 movies, Quentin Tarantino plans to retire. Or so he says. And since he’s counting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as his ninth film even though it’s technically his tenth, since Kill Bill was released as two films, that means he only has one more feature left in him. What will it be? Something original? His potential Star Wars movie? We don’t know. Here’s what we do know: it’ll be a little while before he gets to work on this final film.
In the meantime, Tarantino is keeping busy. While speaking at a BAFTA event in London via Variety, Tarantino laid out what his potential artistic future looks like:
“Normally when I finish a script we pretty much go right into production on it. When I finished Hollywood, I wasn’t ready to start. Part of the reason I wasn’t ready to start it was because I was just really plugged into writing at that point….So I finished Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, finished that script, put it aside, and then I wrote a play. And then I wrote a five-episode TV series. And right now I’m writing a book and I’m hoping that I’ll be finished in three months. So the idea will be hopefully by March maybe I’ll be finished with the book – and then, theoretically, maybe I’ll do the play, and then theoretically I’ll do the TV show, and then by that point I’ll be thinking maybe what I’ll do for the 10th movie.”
Tarantino has discussed some of these projects in the past already. The TV show he’s speaking of is likely Bounty Law, the fictional show that Leonardo DiCaprio’s character once starred on in Hollywood. Back in July, Tarantino said:
“From watching the different old Western shows and everything, I did it to get in the head of Bounty Law. I ended up starting to really like the idea of Jake Cahill, as a character. I really started loving those half hour ’50s Western scripts. The idea that you could write something like 24 minutes, where there was so much story crammed in those half hour shows, with a real beginning and a middle and an end. Also it was kind of fun because you can’t just keep doubling down and exploring. At some point, you’ve got to wrap it up. I really liked that idea. I’ve written five different episodes for a possible Bounty Law black-and-white half hour Western show.”
Where will these episodes end up? Netflix, perhaps? And will DiCaprio actually come back to star in them? I have my doubts about that, but we’ll see. As for the novel, Tarantino has stated it’s about a Wolrd War II vet who learns to love foreign films. “I’ve got this character who had been in World War II and he saw a lot of bloodshed there,” the filmmaker said. “And now he’s back home, and it’s like the ’50s, and he doesn’t respond to movies anymore. He finds them juvenile after everything that he’s been through. As far as he’s concerned, Hollywood movies are movies. And so then, all of a sudden, he starts hearing about these foreign movies by Kurosawa and Fellini…And so he’s like, ‘Well, maybe they might have something more than this phony Hollywood stuff.’ So he finds himself drawn to these things and some of them he likes and some of them he doesn’t like and some of them he doesn’t understand, but he knows he’s seeing something.”
The only mystery project here is the play, which Tarantino hasn’t divulged any info about so far. In any case, even though we might have to wait a while to see the 10th and final film from Quentin Tarantino, we’ll still have plenty of Tarantino-related material to choose from.
Following the release of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” this summer, Quentin Tarantino fans are now clamoring for details about his next film, which will be his 10th and last directorial feature film if he sticks to his current retirement plan. The director reminded fans of his 10-film plan during an interview with GQ Australia published just after “Hollywood’s” theatrical release. “I think when it comes to theatrical movies, I've come to the end of the road,” Tarantino said. “I just think I've given all I have to give to movies.”
Tarantino is currently on the “Hollywood” awards campaign trail and recently made an appearance at a BAFTA event in London via Variety. When asked about what is next for his career post-“Hollywood,” the director suggested that while a 10th film is in the cards it will most likely be a bit of time before he leaves behind feature filmmaking for good. In between writing and directing “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Tarantino wrote a play and then five episodes of “Bounty Law,” the television series that plays a central role in “Hollywood.” Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Rick Dalton, became famous for his role on “Bounty Law.”
“Right now I'm writing a book and I'm hoping that I'll be finished in three months.” Tarantino told the BAFTA audience. “So the idea will be hopefully by March maybe I'll be finished with the book - and then, theoretically, maybe I'll do the play, and then theoretically I'll do the TV show, and then by that point I'll be thinking maybe what I'll do for the 10th movie. There will be a 10th one, yes. I have no idea what it's going to be. It's going to be a little bit down the line.”
With a play, a television series, and a book all taking priority ahead of a 10th movie, it appears Tarantino fans will have to wait several years for his post-“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” movie. The director revealed earlier this year his book is about a jaded World War II veteran who grows to hate Hollywood movies and finds inspiration again in world cinema. Tarantino fans waited four years in between “The Hateful Eight” and “Hollywood,” so it’s not as if a long Tarantino hiatus is unheard of.
As for what Tarantino’s 10th and final feature film will end up being, there’s a handful of potential contenders. The director has been involved with an R-rated “Star Trek” script, but he has yet to commit to the project being his last movie. Tarantino also said he’d love to have his last film be a horror movie if he could crack a good idea. For now, Tarantino fans will continue to get their fix as “Hollywood” rides through awards season.
It feels strange to review The Mandalorian at this point in time. The next big chapter of Star Wars — an in-between-quel bridging Return of the Jedi 1983 and The Force Awakens 2015 — has technically begun, but it’s unavailable to 95% of the world. Then again, I’m sure fans outside the U.S. won’t have trouble dusting off their digital eye-patches; the other option is waiting until Disney+ arrives locally, anywhere between next week and 2021 depending on where you live.
The Mandalorian, like all Star Wars under Disney, trades on nostalgia. I imagine anyone allured by a helmet evoking Boba Fett already knows he isn’t part of the series, so the imagery alone appears to be a selling-point. In its brief forty-minute premiere directed by Dave Fliloni of The Clone Wars fame, the show introduces us to a “Mandalorian,” a phrase that holds little meaning to those not already immersed in Star Wars books and comics. This nameless, faceless bounty hunter is meant to be the story’s emotional core. Pedro Pascal plays him with reserve as he ought to; this Mandalorian keeps to himself, but what we learn about him comes from what little body language he’s allowed to express. A Mandalorian, as the show goes on to reveal, never removes his mask.
Spoilers for the first episode begin here.
Shades of Grey
From beneath his clunky armour, one might gleam the occasional hesitance or urgency, albeit only within close quarters and usually in the context of money. How quickly does the Mandalorian accept his next bounty? What compromises does he make when presented with different currencies? In an early scene with Carl Weathers, as the leader of a bounty hunter guild, the show’s economics come to light. Some currencies are worthless after the Empire’s decline, and the bounty hunter gig economy is choked with bounty hunting freelancers. Relatable content.
Though what little we know about the Mandalorian — that he needs money — isn’t enough to augment what we don’t. He occupies the same space as Han Solo in the original Star Wars, a rogue gunman after Republic Credits who looks out only for himself. But where Han’s character was revealed through posture and tone of voice whatever the armchair pundits tell you, Solo failed largely because it lacked Harrison Ford, the Mandalorian is revealed to us through neither of these things. He barely speaks, and his enormous helmet hides even the withheld micro-reactions that might otherwise help us gauge him. In the show’s initial scenes, in which he captures and carbon-freezes a distinctly likeable blue alien, the Mandalorian comes off more like an emotionless Terminator than a man under a mask.
What good are moral greys, when their grey-ness isn’t tied to conflicting emotions?
The show sounds incredible, mind you. Composer Ludwig Göransson Creed, Black Panther creates a magnetic soundscape that feels like a classic Western filtered through something dark and seedy, like a spy thriller. Visually, the show attempts to replicate this aesthetic motif — not unlike muddled war spin-off Rogue One 2016 — though whether it succeeds is almost irrelevant. Grandiose space opera feels like the wrong venue for this sort of approach, a story in which a character cocoons themselves and traverses a linear path to violence, from which he is eventually shaken. Here, the cocoon is literal, and only literal; we’re never made privy to what lies beneath the hardened steel.
Bits and pieces toward the beginning of the episode feel like connective tissue ripped from a Scandinavian crime mystery. As the Mandalorian walks from place to place, the blue hues of the ice planets, and the casually distant camera which shakes with uncertainty, feel isolating. The key difference, however, is that someone like Tomas Alfredson or Thomas Vinterberg tends to have a human face at their disposal once they push in to close-ups. The lack of a recognizable face is by no means a death-knell, but no emotional beat in The Mandalorian complements its detached visual texture an admittedly gorgeous feat by D.P. Greg Fraser. From what, or from whom, is the Mandalorian detached? And what attachments keep him human? Beyond vague references to his culture, all we’re given is one frantic flashback of him as young boy, escaping… something. Some mayhem or violence he seems to carry with him, but nothing given enough breathing room so as to clarify who he is, or what he feels.
That same frantic-ness is applied to most of the episode. Even in its quiet, removed moments where the Mandalorian reacts silently, or when someone comments on the weight of his legacy, the show never slows down enough to let the impact land. It’s a pristine-looking plot-delivery machine. Nothing exemplifies this better than a key decision towards the end of the episode — perhaps the moment that defines the character altogether — which unfolds not only in fast forward, but largely off-screen.
When confronted with the prospect of killing a baby Yoda alongside IG-11… Sorry, let me back up a bit. The Mandalorian’s big mission involves retrieving a baby of Yoda’s species, during which he’s joined by a bounty hunting droid of the same model as IG-88 a minor character in The Empire Strikes Back. None of these things are particularly meaningful on their own; the baby is not Yoda, and the Mandalorian and IG-11 are not the bounty hunters from Empire. They merely evoke their iconography. Boba Fett and IG-88 remain in the fandom’s collective consciousness precisely because of their design; there’s nothing more to them than what they look like. And so, the episode’s climax mashes up mere photocopies of Star Wars memories.
Not only does the show use iconography that is, in and of itself, meaningless, it also does little to subvert these images or imbue them with meaning. After a particularly awkward shootout, where each character’s quips and comedy moments are met with the other’s reaction shots — in both cases, emotionless metal — the Mandalorian comes face to face with his target. IG-11 is tasked with killing the green infant, and so the Mandalorian puts a bullet in the droid’s head a decision he makes out of frame — though given his expressionless T-visor, I wonder if it matters.
Nothing in this climax challenges the Mandalorian, or challenges expectation. The droid, voiced by a monotone Taika Waititi, is not a living being, nor does he behave like one, so making scrap metal out of him is an emotionally easy task. The Mandalorian’s decision to keep the baby alive isn’t difficult either, since it doesn’t conflict with his mission; earlier in the episode, it’s established that he’ll be paid more, not less, if the target is retrieved alive. What use, then, are those flashbacks of the Mandalorian as a helpless child, if they have no bearing on his present decisions?
The Mandalorian: Impressions
In Star Wars, moral lines are clearly drawn; characters like Han and the Mandalorian are plopped neatly between them and made to choose between one or the other. The series has always been Western-inspired, but for it to have the depth or reflection of Unforgiven 1992, its keepers need to let it be mournful. They need to let their characters walk down difficult moral paths, enveloped in fog. The closest the series has come to this under Disney was Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi 2017, but that film had the advantage of using a character we already knew, one we’d seen rise and fall, and be tempted by darkness. The Mandalorian may eventually give us another, but its foundation thus far doesn’t inspire confidence.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what a toilet looks like in the Star Wars universe, The Mandalorian is for you. The creature and character designs are admittedly interesting — Nick Nolte shows up as a Planet of the Apes-inspired alien who rides giant terrestrial piranhas — but rather than telling a story, the show’s first episode merely presents a series of premises, each connected to the next by their resemblance to Star Wars. Werner Herzog is a joy to watch, as the man who sends the Mandalorian on his mission, but half the excitement comes from his specific intonations and enunciations being applied to space-gibberish. Little of what he or anyone says is given much weight; people speak of the lost glory of the Mandalorian culture, but what this actually means for the main character is never depicted or dramatized.
As a story, The Mandalorian is yet to feel worthwhile. It breaks no new ground, but more importantly, it doesn’t root its familiar elements in discernible emotions. Who the Mandalorian is, and how he conflicts with his circumstances, are key to this first chapter — or at least, they should be. You can tell the series has these questions on its lips, but it zips past them at every turn. As a concept, The Mandalorian feels like a financial inevitability under Disney. It has the appearance of breaking new ground and introducing never-before-seen characters, but it falls into the same trap The Force Awakens did when re-launching the franchise. It’s Star Wars remixing Star Wars — and watering it down in the process — rather than remixing anything more interesting.
As part of a multiple-year output deal, the Viacom-owned cable network will develop new properties and revive familiar ones.
Viacom's Nickelodeon has come full circle with Netflix.
Years ago, the kids-focused cable network pulled its licensing deals from the streaming giant as the linear network's ratings tumbled. Now, Nickelodeon and Netflix have entered a multiple-year output deal that will see the Viacom-owned cable network create and produce original animated feature films and TV series based on both new and existing IP.
The deal announced Wednesday expands Nickelodeon's relationship with Netflix, which was revived a few years ago with deals for a live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series and deals for Rocko's Modern Life, Invader Zim, The Loud House and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others.
"Nickelodeon has generated scores of characters that kids love, and we look forward to telling wholly original stories that re-imagine and expand on the worlds they inhabit,” said Netflix vp original animation Melissa Cobb. “We're thrilled to continue collaborating with Brian Robbins, Ramsey Naito, and the creative team at Nickelodeon in new ways as we look to find fresh voices and bring bold stories to our global audience on Netflix.”
The deal strengthens Netflix's kids programming brand at a time when other streamers — Disney+, Apple TV+ and soon HBO Max —are all focused on courting the younger demo and families to their subscription services. The agreement, financial terms of which were not immediately available, should be seen as a win for Viacom. The media behemoth, which is in the process of closing a deal to remerge with CBS, does not have a subscription streaming service of its own. That would have been a natural home for offshoots of its well-known TV franchises.
"Nickelodeon's next step forward is to keep expanding beyond linear platforms, and our broader content partnership with Netflix is a key path toward that goal,” Nickelodeon president Robbins said. “The Nickelodeon Animation Studio is home to the world-class artists and storytellers behind some of the most iconic characters and shows ever made, and our head of animation, Ramsey Naito, has been building on that legacy over the past year by ramping up development and production exponentially. The ideas and work at our studio are flowing, and we can't wait to work with Melissa and the Netflix team on a premium slate of original animated content for kids and families around the world.”
Netflix launched its own in-house animation studio last year as the appetite for both adult animation and kids-focused content continues to rise amid the streaming revolution. Animated shows are cheaper to produce and often wind up seeing secondary revenue streams from merchandising sales.
The Nickelodeon-produced films and TV series join a Netflix animated slate that includes feature Klaus due Nov. 15, kids animated series Dino Girl Gauko Nov. 22, adult animated film I Lost My Body Nov. 29 and DreamWorks' Fast & Furious Spy Racers Dec. 26, among others.
Fantasy Island, the 1970s TV series that starred Ricardo Montalbán and Hervé Villechaize, is headed to the big screen – with a twist. The folks at Blumhouse are behind the movie, and their involvement should give you a hint as to what type of adaptation this is going to be. Yes, that’s right: it’s a Fantasy Island horror movie. The first Fantasy Island trailer below gives you a hint of the weirdness to come.
Fantasy Island Trailer
You probably don’t immediately associate Fantasy Island with horror. But the ’70s TV series did have supernatural elements. There was even an episode where the Devil himself played by Roddy McDowall popped-up. With that in mind, the new Blumhouse Fantasy Island movie isn’t completely out of left field. Here’s how the project is being described:
In Blumhouse’s new spin on Fantasy Island, the enigmatic Mr. Roarke makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort. But when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island’s mystery in order to escape with their lives.
Michael Peña is Mr. Roarke, leading a cast that includes Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen, and Michael Rooker. The film comes from director Jeff Wadlow, with a script from Wadlow & Chris Roach & Jillian Jacobs. While it might take some people some time to get used to a “ Fantasy Island horror movie,” I’m into this idea. Rather than just make a straightforward TV-to-film adaptation, the folks behind Fantasy Island are trying something new, and different. The original Fantasy Island began as a two different made-for-TV movies in 1977 and 1978. It was spun-off into a TV series in ’78, and ran until 1984.
In addition to the trailer above, there’s also a poster below. It features a giant face that took me way too long to notice.
Fantasy Island opens in theaters on November 14, 2020, aka Valentine’s Day. So make sure you remind your significant other that you have a date with the latest romantic Blumhouse movie.
Disney and Lucasfilm will be releasing the first live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, when Disney+ launches in just a couple days on November 12. But they’re already hard at work on the next round of Star Wars content that will be coming to the streaming service, and that includes a six episode series focusing on Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi eight years after the events of Revenge of the Sith. Originally, this story was going to be a feature film, but it’s been retooled into a series, and writer Hossein Amini is happy to take more time to explore the state of things, both in Obi-Wan’s life and the galaxy at large. Find out what he had to say about the forthcoming series below.
Hossein Amini has been working on this Obi-Wan Kenobi project since back when it was going to be part of the Star Wars Story line-up of movies. Director Stephen Daldry was in place to direct, but the box office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story had Disney and Lucasfilm reassessing their approach to Star Wars on the big screen. But Slavin is totally fine with that. Speaking with Discussing Film, Amini said:
“The situation is so complex both for him personally and in a way, the state of the galaxy, you sort of need time to explore it. To be honest there are loads of other stories within that period as well, it’s quite a few years. There is so much going on between episode III and IV that hasn’t been explored. The idea of being able to go into a character journey plus the politics and plus all the vastness of the Empire and what’s going on is exciting just because it feels like a proper period of history and sometimes that is hard to do in two hours.”
Amini makes it sounds like the Obi-Wan Kenobi series could open the door for other spin-offs set within that same time period. There’s a lot of unexplored territory there, and if fans like what the Obi-Wan series gives them, then it wouldn’t be surprising if Lucasfilm wanted to play around with things a bit more. Perhaps there’s even the possibility of fleshing out some of the storyline that would have played out after the cliffhanger ending of Solo: A Star Wars Story, where Darth Maul was revealed to be the mastermind behind the crime syndicate Crimson Dawn.
But when it comes to Obi-Wan series, perhaps we’ll see more about how a Jedi tries to live his life when their overall purpose has been taken away from them. Kenobi is left to watch over Luke Skywalker as he lives his life on Tatooine with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. But what else does he get up to during all that time? Amini added in another part of the interview:
“I loved Star Wars because I’ve always been interested in different religions, like the whole notion of the samurai I’ve always loved.”
Perhaps we’ll see Obi-Wan Kenobi living his life not unlike a samurai, and he suddenly finds himself with a situation that he can’t turn his back on. Maybe there will be some kind of Seven Samurai kind of scenario that Obi-Wan can’t help but get involved with. That’s just speculation on our part, but Obi-Wan working with some kind of ragtag team of people to protect a village or something like that sounds like it could be an interesting story to play out in a series.
The Obi-Wan Kenobi series will be directed by Deborah Chow, who will also executive produce with Kathleen Kennedy, Hossein Amini, Tracey Seaward, John Swartz, and Ewan McGregor. Lucasfilm’s executive vice president of production, Jason McGatlin, will also serve as co-producer. We’re not sure when the series is meant to be released, but production is supposed to begin in July 2020. Stay tuned for more.