Quentin Tarantino has now directed eight feature length films. Not only is his filmography excellent, it is also littered with easter eggs for the more-than-casual fan.
Like Marvel’s own cinematic universe (MCU) which has Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the rest of the Avengers, Tarantino has created his own subtler world which has been dubbed the Tarantino cinematic universe (TCU).
Like the MCU, Quentin Tarantino’s films all come from the same fictional world and his films all share common connections with one another, meaning the characters from Pulp Fiction (1994) come from the same fictional planet that the ones from Reservoir Dogs (1992) come from.
Tarantino himself has acknowledged this and has admitted his films come from two separate universes; the realer than real universe and the movie universe. He defines this by saying the characters from Pulp Fiction (the realer than real universe) go to the movies to watch films from the ‘movie universe’, like Kill Bill (2003) and Django Unchained (2012).
This list will examine the TCU and look at some of the most well-known connections. In this list, I will only be including films that the big man has directed himself, excluding Jackie Brown (1997) as it is technically an adaptation. While other films like From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) and Natural Born Killers (1994) are still a part of this universe, they will not be included in this list because I do not consider them Tarantino movies.
1. Pulp Fiction – Resevior Dogs
Turns out that two of Tarantino’s most memorable leading men, Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) are brothers. Side by side the two do look somewhat similar; tall with dark hair and both bust some pretty sweet dance moves in their respective films. However, the dead giveaway is towards the end of Reservoir Dogs, when it’s revealed that Mr Blonde’s real name is Vic Vega – the same surname as Vincent’s from Pulp Fiction. He even makes a reference to his brother at one point in the same scene.
Tarantino confirmed that they were brothers and told the press that he had planned to make a film about the two of them set before both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. However, given the fact that both men have aged considerably and both of their characters are now dead, I think that script will remain unread. Much to the dislike of Tarantino fans.
2. Red Apple Cigarettes and Big Kahuna Burger (Pulp Fiction, Death Proof and Reservoir Dogs)
One thing that is noticeable about Quentin Tarantino’s films is the lack of product placement. Tarantino understands the effect that product placement has on the audience, he understands that seeing a familiar logo can take you out of the movie and dilute the whole experience, which is part of the reason I believe Tarantino has created his own brands for his cinematic universe. Filling his world with his own brands also makes it feel more authentic.
It’s the small details that really drive home the TCU. The two most notable and famous brands from the TCU are Red Apple Cigarettes and Big Kahuna Burger. If you look at any of the cigarettes that any of the characters smoke in Tarantino’s films they will be Red Apple. Big Kahuna Burger makes several appearances throughout his filmography, including Death Proof (2007) and most notably in Pulp Fiction. Mmmm that is a tasty burger.
3. Crazy Craig Koons and Captain Koons (Django Unchained and Pulp Fiction)
One of Tarantino’s most subtle connections between his films can be found in Django Unchained and Pulp Fiction. Do you remember the scene where a young Butch (Bruce Willis) receives a watch from Captain Koons (Christopher Walken)? The watch that was hidden up Walken’s arse for several years while he was a P.O.W?
Well it turns out this very Captain Koons is a descendent of one of Django’s victims. While Django (Jamie Foxx) is learning to become a bounty hunter he takes a moment to question the morality of killing a man in front of his son. Everyone’s favourite dentist goes on to tell Django that this man is a part of the Smitty Bacall gang, who are all wanted for train robbery. The man they are about to kill is called Crazy Craig Koons. So perhaps the son that Django shot was Captain Koon’s grandfather or great grandfather?
4. Fox Force Five (Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill)
While this is not necessarily a connection within the TCU, there are a lot of similarities between the two films which cannot just be coincidence. In Pulp Fiction, Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) mentions that she starred in a pilot episode that was never picked up called Fox Force Five; a show about five foxy women who were all a force to be reckoned with. Mia then goes onto say that her character was the deadliest women on the planet with a knife, sound familiar?
Thats right, this show sounds extremely familiar to Kill Bill (2003). There are a lot of parallels between the Deadly Viper Assassination squad in Kill Bill and the Fox Force Five TV show. Although it may not be completely related, I like to think that Fox Force Five served as somewhat of an inspiration for Kill Bill.
5. The Hicox Connection (Inglorious Basterds and The Hateful Eight)
One noticeable aspect of Quentin Tarantino’s films is the lack of British characters. Most of his films are set in America however there have been some English-born characters who share a connection within the TCU. English Pete from The Hateful Eight (2015) aka The Hangman is a descendant of Michael Fassbender’s character in Inglorious Basterds, Archie Hicox.
6. Schultz (Kill Bill and Django Unchained)
Although not confirmed, one of the popular fan theories amongst Quentin Tarantino fans is that the grave that The Bride (Uma Thurman) from Kill Bill is buried alive in is the dead wife of everyone’s favourite dentist/bounty hunter King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) from Django Unchained. The gravestone reads ‘Paula Schultz’, and the theory is that some time before King Schultz ran into Django, he separated from his wife. Since King dies and is unable to reconnect with his estranged love, she is buried alone in a singular grave. This is yet to be confirmed by Tarantino himself but it’s a fun theory.
Know of any more connections within the TCU? Please comment if you can think of any other connections within the TCU.