Look, it’s a long ways off (and might not happen), but Quentin Tarantino possibly directing the next Star Trek film has us excited.
So let’s give the Pulp Fiction director some casting guidance.
A few rules:
- Characters from the original series only — that’s the show Tarantino likes and remembers
- We’re going to recast the main characters, even though J.J. Abrams, the man behind the most recent reboot trilogy, is still involved (sorry, Chris Pine!).
- We’re only going to suggest actors and actresses who Tarantino has worked with before. The auteur has a stable of people he trusts, and there’s no reason to think he’d abandon them, even when exploring a new/final frontier.
- We were torn between honoring creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the show (an unfortunately male-centric but decidedly utopian ideal) and what Tarantino could do to break those rules. In the end, we figured the camaraderie would stay, the women would be more badass (and prevalent) and the cast might get a little more ... haggard.
Captain James T. Kirk (Kurt Russell): He’s got the old-school, geeky sci-fi cred (see: Escape From New York, The Thing). He’s a gruff man of action with a steely glint in his eye. And he’d do well with the ladies — alien or not.
Pavel Chekov (Christoph Waltz): The original series had Chekov as young, bright and slightly naive, a Russian ensign who eventually moves his way up to Admiral by the later, original-cast movies. Besides nailing the accent, Waltz could add some dry humor and real edge.
Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (Steve Buscemi): Losing the accent, Buscemi could transform the engineer from a slightly paternal miracle worker into a twitchy, shady genius — a bit like Rockford from Armageddon.
Lt. Nyota Uhura (Pam Grier): While strong and capable in the original series, Uhura lacked a first name (during the original run) and figuratively “answered the phone” as the ship’s communications officer. While the reboot (with Zoe Saldana) added layers to the role, Tarantino would certainly want an extremely strong woman front and center here. And while Grier has genre cred (Mars Attacks, Escape From LA, Ghosts of Mars), she hasn’t done a great sci-fi movie. Let’s fix that.
Commander Spock: (Uma Thurman): She’s already an alien. And can be weirdly calm and cool when things get bleak. And, wow, does it change the Kirk-Spock dynamic. Bonus: Isaac Asimov once called Spock "a security blanket with sexual overtones." Think Uma could handle that.
Counterpoint from our Editor in Chief: Christoph Waltz as Spock. Leonard Nimoy described him as "tall, dark, thoughtful, alien and exotic ... a brilliant mind with the wisdom of a patriarch." Who in the Tarantino world fits the bill? Christoph Waltz, of course, a cunning foreigner with biting wit, timeless good looks and the ability to make everyone in the room uneasy with a furl of the brow or a sideways smirk.
Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Tim Roth): Roth would add a bit of British snark to the weary and acerbic but ultimately loyal doctor. And he’s good around blood.
Khan (Samuel L. Jackson): So you say you need a dramatic villain prone to soliloquy ...