It may look like Quentin Tarantino is waving hello to the photographer in the picture above — but maybe he’s really being like “Okay, that’s enough. I’m all done directing movies now.”

Tarantino has always maintained that he would call it a directing career after making his tenth feature, with his upcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood being his ninth. (He counts Kill Bill as a single movie even though it was released in two parts, because it’s his arbitrary rule and he can do whatever he wants with it.) But Tarantino has also teased that he might make a Star Trek movie next, and that seems like a weird movie for a filmmaker as independent and personal as Tarantino — whose only movie based on pre-existing source material was Jackie Brown, which feels like a QT original — to go out on.

So would he really make a big-budget franchise film and then quit? Tarantino told Cinema Blend that if he makes Star Trek — still an if, it’s not a done deal yet — then that really could be his farewell, as unlikely as it seems. His quote:

I guess I do have a loophole, [if] the idea was to throw a loophole into it. Which would be [to go], ‘Uhhh, I guess Star Trek doesn't count. I can do Star Trek … but naturally I would end on an original.’ But the idea of doing 10 isn't to come up with a loophole. I actually think, if I was going to do Star Trek, I should commit to it. It's my last movie. There should be nothing left handed about it. I don't know if I'm going to do that, but that might happen.

Of course, there are alternate scenarios here. Maybe the Star Trek thing falls apart completely. (It still seems wild that a franchise as tightly controlled as Trek might give a guy as bold as Tarantino the freedom to make whatever he wants.) Or maybe Tarantino writes a bunch of drafts of Star Trek, then hatches another personal project he really wants to make his final film, and decides to direct that instead and hands off Trek to another filmmaker. There is precedent for that; Tarantino wrote True Romance but he didn’t direct it — and he doesn’t count it in his ten-movie filmography either.

Personally, I’d be pretty surprised if Tarantino really directs a Star Trek as his big farewell — but stranger things have happened. The guy directed an episode of CSI, so he clearly loves to surprise people with his choices (and likes television more than you might expect given his constant stumping for film and the theatrical experience).

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