Quentin Tarantino has claimed for several years now that he intends to retire from directing after his tenth feature to focus on other projects, among them writing plays and film criticism. Tarantino apparently remains committed to that goal, and his latest feature, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is billed as his ninth film, which means the clock is rapidly ticking down. So, what would the tenth and final Tarantino film be? He hasn't yet said, but it's still possible he could fill that slot with a third volume of his Kill Bill saga.
Tarantino was a guest on the Happy Sad Confused podcast this week, and in the course of the interview he noted that he and Kill Bill star Uma Thurman recently revisited the idea of returning to that story for one more installment.
"Me and Uma have talked about it recently, frankly, to tell you the truth. I have thought about it a little further," Tarantinos aid. "We were talking about it literally last week. If any of my movies were going to spring from my other movies, it would be a third Kill Bill.”
The first two Kill Bill films — released as Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 in 2003 and 2004, respectively — tell the story of The Bride (Thurman), a former assassin who goes on a quest for venegeance after her former mentor and lover, Bill (David Carradine), tries to have her killed rather than allowing her to leave the assassin life to get married and raise a family. In the course of that quest, The Bride ends up telling the daughter of one of her former killer colleagues that she would understand if the girl wanted to one day seek revenge against her for killing her mother, starting the cycle over again. The idea of a new search for vengeance a decade or two later has always felt like a way back into the Kill Bill story, but Tarantino would of course have to write it first.
Will that be the tenth film? We don't know. We also don't know if the tenth film will be Tarantino's much-discussed R-rated Star Trek film, which he could work on in another capacity. It's also possible that Tarantino could claim Kill Bill Vol. 3, should it get made, doesn't count as his tenth feature since it's part of one continuous story that he began with Vol. 1 (Kill Bill was originally intended to be released as one feature, and so Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 are already counted as one film in his personal reckoning of his filmography), so he can just make that movie and then make one more. Tarantino has always been the kind of filmmaker who likes to let a lot of ideas float around him before deciding on one to put his directing energy behind, and it seems he's doing a lot of idea floating now that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is in the can. The difference this time is, should he stick with his retirement plan, the tenth film will be considered particularly consequential among diehard Tarantino fans.
And Tarantino does still seem to be sticking with the retirement plan. On Jimmy Kimmel Live Monday night, he once again confirmed that his 10-and-done concept is very firm in his mind.
"That's the idea," he said when Kimmel asked him, and added that in addition to writing he wants to take a little time for his personal life.
"I haven't been married, I haven't had kids," he said. "I just got married, I wanna have kids."
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is in theaters Friday, which means we might not be waiting long before Tarantino reveals what his plans are for closing out his directorial career.