Quentin Tarantino’s new surefire hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has finally been released in theaters, and the writer-director has been as verbose as ever on the promotional circuit. Now that fans are lining up for his ninth movie (of an alleged ten total films), QT has taken some time to examine all of the projects he had to turn down or abandon, including his Reservoir Dogs/Pulp Fiction spinoff The Vega Brothers.
By now, most cinephiles know that John Travolta’s Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction was written as the brother of Michael Madsen’s Reservoir Dogs character Vic Vega. In fact, Tarantino has long alleged that he intended to make a prequel story about the duo’s adventures in Amsterdam. Yet, it’s been 25 years since Pulp Fiction became a Cannes darling and Travolta and Madsen have aged a bit out of their characters, to put it nicely.
So, it sounds pretty likely that Tarantino won’t be going down swinging with The Vega Brothers. But the question remains: what happened? Both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were massive successes and making a spinoff in the mid-90s would’ve been tantamount to printing money. Turns out, QT never really thought the idea through, and it eventually fell to the wayside.
“The only thing I did know was the premise, I don’t think I took it far enough for a story, but I had a premise. It would’ve taken place in Amsterdam, during the time Vincent was in Amsterdam. He was running some club for Marsellus [Wallace] in Amsterdam, he was probably there for a couple of years, so at some point during his two-year stay in Amsterdam running some club, Vic shows up to visit him, and it would’ve been their weekend. Exactly what happened to them or what trouble they got into, I never took it that far.”
When another reporter at a press junket asked if he’d considering using digital de-aging technology that Marvel Studios recently popularized, Tarantino was upfront about the idea’s shelf-life. He’s simply moved on.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is in theaters now, and those who’ve seen it have been drawing parallels from Leonardo DiCaprio’s aging actor Rick Dalton to Quentin Tarantino himself. If it’s true, and the director only has one more movie in him, there’s no doubt he’ll go out on his own terms, even if it takes him beyond the final frontier.