We Don't Need a 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Miniseries

Tarantino has reportedly "talked about" the idea, but the movie should stay a movie.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo by Andrew Cooper courtesy of Sony Pictures

Quentin Tarantino may be continually teasing his retirement, but the director still has a lot of projects in the works in the meantime. There's that horror movie; the Star Trek film that's supposed to be "Pulp Fiction in space"; and, on top of it all, the guy is apparently already thinking about recutting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood before the original version even has a shot at winning some Oscars.


This week, Brad Pitt sat down for an interview with the New York Times to discuss his new movie, Ad Astra, and his recent sobriety. But according to the writer, Kyle Buchanan, Pitt also shared some interesting Tarantino news that didn't make it into the article's final cut—namely, that Tarantino's been "talking about" turning Once Upon a Time in Hollywood into a miniseries for some reason.

And, sure, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was the only truly excellent film in 2019's abysmal summer movie season, and, this being Tarantino, there's plenty of material that wound up on the cutting room floor, like the extra Manson footage or James Marsden's Burt Reynolds scenes, but we don't need a Once Upon a Time in Hollywood miniseries. Pitt may think the idea is "pretty arousing," but let us offer a compelling counterpoint: It's not.

Tarantino has already tried this once before. When the long-promised extended cut of Hateful Eight finally arrived on Netflix earlier this year, it wasn't the 70mm version the director screened back in 2015 or a new director's cut, like we all expected. It was, uh, a miniseries—and it was nearly unwatchable. The theatrical version of The Hateful Eight may not be top-tier Tarantino, but its Agatha Christie-in-the-West plot, the pacing, and the strength of the director and cast managed to hold the thing together for the entirety of its nearly three-hour runtime. The miniseries tacks on an extra 40 minutes to the already-long film and obliterates the careful pacing by splicing it into four, interminable episodes.

Why are most of the additions just shots of snowy mountains that probably looked great in 70mm, but don't quite pack the same punch on a computer screen? Why did we need to know more about Michael Madsen's character, anyway? Who knows! But we got it, anyway. And for the love of all that is holy, we don't need Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to suffer the same fate.

Look, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Tarantino's love letter to old Hollywood. It is a movie about movies. And remixing the thing into an episodic series for the sake of cramming in some unused shots doesn't only threaten to break the film the same way it broke Hateful Eight, it also fundamentally alters the meaning of the movie.

Besides, no one needs to see that extended scene where Brad Pitt sucker-punches Bruce Lee, alright? Leave this one alone.