I am a self-confessed Quentin Tarantino fanboy. From his first full-length cinematic release that was Reservoir Dogs to his most recent picture The Hateful Eight, I've enjoyed all of his films for very different reasons. Hey, I even liked Four Rooms.
Over the years, #Tarantino has made films that all seem separate and yet he always throws in little nods, references and connections via his shared universe. He was doing long before #Marvel got in on the act. For example, in all of his films he uses his own made-up products, like Red Apple cigarettes.
Tarantino has even extended his shared universe to the works of other directors like Robert Rodriguez, Tony Scott and even Oliver Stone — most of the time because Tarantino has had a hand in there somewhere, from a writing/producing perspective. But it is in character names and possible connections where his shared universe really comes to light. Whether main characters, secondary ones or even off-screen characters, all his films are connected in one way or another via these fictitious people. But there is more than one movie universe going on within his movie universe. Confused? This is what Tarantino told Australian TV show The Project:
“There is actually two separate universes. There is the realer than real universe, alright, and all the characters inhabit that one. But then there’s this movie universe. So 'From Dusk Till Dawn,' 'Kill Bill,' they all take place in this special movie universe. So when all the characters of 'Reservoir Dogs' or 'Pulp Fiction,' when they go to the movies, 'Kill Bill' is what they go to see. 'From Dusk Till Dawn' is what they see.”
Got it? There's a "real" movie universe and a "movie" movie universe going on within Tarantino's movie universe, and characters from his "real" universe can go to see movies from his "movie" universe within that "real" movie universe. Phew! So now, let's make as many connections as we can from his movies, whether he was writing, directing or producing.
1. Mia Wallace Played Beatrix Kiddo
You remember that scene in Pulp Fiction where Uma Thurman's character Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega, played by John Travolta, are out enjoying a $5 milkshake? Mia Tells Vincent she's a struggling actress and had shot a pilot for a TV show called Fox Force Five. If you listen to Mia's description of the main characters in that show, they sound pretty familiar.
OK, so they're not exact and water tight, but those characters sound a lot like the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad from #KillBill. The blonde one was the leader (Elle Driver?), The Japanese fox was a kung-fu master (O-Ren Ishii?), the African-American girl was a demolition expert (Vernita Green?), the French fox's speciality was sex (Sofie Fatale?). And what character did Mia play in Fox Force Five? The deadliest woman in the world with a knife — or possibly a sword.
With Tarantino revealing that the characters from #PulpFiction could go to the movies and watch Kill Bill, what if that Fox Force Five TV pilot was adapted into a movie and that movie was called Kill Bill? And what if struggling actress Mia Wallace was the one who played Beatrix Kiddo, a.k.a. The Bride? Sounds reasonable, right? I mean, you have to admit that they do look alike.
2. The Vega Brothers
Now this one is already pretty well-known, as Tarantino has spoken about it several times and has even said he wants to make a Vega brothers movie prequel. Mr Blonde, a.k.a Vic Vega (Michael Madsen), from Reservoir Dogs and Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction are in fact brothers.
Yes, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are officially and canonically connected, and even if he never made his proposed Vega brothers flick, Tarantino still says these two films are directly connected. He never revealed much about the Vega brothers movie, but he did say this to So, Is It Any Good?:
"I did think about the idea of the Vega brothers, taking place before the movies when like Vin was in Amsterdam and his brother Vic/Mr. Blonde comes and visits him, and their adventures."
Its a very sketchy idea at best, but it was enough to get me thinking: If the film was to be a prequel that would have been set in Amsterdam and involved the Vega brothers, aside from drugs, what else is Amsterdam famous for? Ahem, no, the other thing. It's diamonds. What were they stealing in Reservoir Dogs? And what exactly was in that damn briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Its a rough idea, but I'm sure Tarantino must have been thinking about linking everything together.
What if Vic and Vincent stole diamonds in Amsterdam, brought them back to America where they were sold, and Vic then got involved in a heist to steal them back? Then, what if those diamonds that were taken by Mr. Pink at the end of Reservoir Dogs ended up in that briefcase in Pulp Fiction?
3. The Dimmicks
It's possible that the Vega brothers may not be the only siblings sharing the Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction canon. What about Jimmie (Tarantino) and Lawrence Dimmick (Harvey Keitel), a.k.a Mr. White? Tarantino has neither confirmed nor denied that these two are related, but within this shared universe, why not? Brothers, cousins or other, it's possible, right?
Pulp Fiction's Jimmie was the fella who was none too happy about deceased gentlemen within his vehicle who clearly had connections to the criminal underworld, having been "friendly" with known hit man Jules, played by Samuel L. Jackson.
Jimmie's last name is Dimmick. Mr. White from Reservoir Dogs reveals his real name is Lawrence Dimmick to a dying Mr. Pink. But if they are related, then I have one question: Why doesn't Jimmie mention there is an uncanny resemblance between his sibling Lawrence and Winston Wolf, the guy that has been sent to help clean up things?
4. Scagnetti And Scagnetti
This one's unusual as only one of these characters is shown on screen; the other is only briefly mentioned in passing and many viewers might miss the mention.
Tom Sizemore's Detective Jack Scagnetti from Natural Born Killers sports an impressive quiff and an unstable personality. He may be a lawman, but he's not exactly on the right side of the law. He's a good guy with bad tendencies. When Mr. Blonde is catching up with old friends in #ReservoirDogs, he mentions his parole officer is someone called Seymour Scagnetti, who apparently is not a nice guy, either. Does being a bad-good guy run in the family?
5. Paula And The Dentist
Dentist Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, but moved to America where he took up the rather profitable career of bounty hunter. It has been theorized that sometime in the 1850s Schultz married a younger woman who outlived him, as King is killed during the events of Django Unchained.
Then, later in Kill Bill, Beatrix Kiddo is burred alive in a grave — and the name on the grave? Paula Schultz. The chapter from the film it titled "The Lonely Grave Of Paula Schultz," and she would have been lonely if she died a widow. Perhaps Dr. Schultz and the unseen Paula were married within this universe. And the dates on the grave seem to add up, too:
6. The War Hero And The Bandit
Back in Pulp Fiction and Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) tells a young Butch Coolidge (Chandler Lindauer) a lovely story about a very important watch, revealing a little of his heroism in the process. Yet it seems that not everyone in the Koons bloodline may have been quite as upstanding as Captain Koons.
In Django Unchained, while Dr. King Schultz is training Django (Jamie Foxx), a wanted poster is shown for the Smitty Bacall Gang and one of the gang members is called Crazy Craig Koons. I wonder if this Koons family member also placed timepieces in hard-to-reach places.
7. The Cops And The Bandit
That very same wanted poster from #DjangoUnchained reveals yet another name, Gerald Nash, who is wanted for murder. It seems that Gerald must have had children at some point, because during Natural Born Killers a reenactment of a murder of a police officer is shown — and the name of the dead cop? Gerald Nash.
But that's not all. Does the name Nash sound familiar? What if I said this other Nash was also a cop? Still unsure? Then lend me your ear. The kidnapped cop from Reservoir Dogs that Mr. Blonde plans on torturing while listening to Stealers Wheel is named Marvin Nash, and Tarantino has confirmed that Natural Born Killers' Nash and Reservoir Dogs' Nash are in fact cousins.
8. The Bigoted Family Maynard
Maynard from Pulp Fiction is the owner of a pawn shop. He engages in a perverse activity that involves a gimp, a corrupt security guard and an underworld crime boss being — well, just watch the film yourself. He seriously seems to have several problems, but if you come from a racist and bigoted bloodline, then what do you expect?
What bloodline is this? During the awesome Candyland shootout in Django Unchained, an unnamed, rifle-toting racist screams out, "Ain't no [N-word] gonna kill Maynard!" After which, the self-proclaimed Maynard is fatally shot by Django in a satisfying orgy of blood and bullets.
9. Clarence And Lawrence's Shared Love
True Romance is a great love story. A love story full of drugs, vengeance, guns and plenty of dead bodies, but a love story nonetheless. Aside from that, it has one of my all-time favorite movie scenes ever, in which Dennis Hopper's character Clifford Worley and Walken's Vincenzo Coccotti engage in an intense game of cat-and-mouse.
The film also features another possible Tarantino connection. Hooker with a heart of gold Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) seems to have had a life before True Romance, where she teamed up with Lawrence Dimmick from Reservoir Dogs, as Mr. White reveals that she was his ex-partner. So if she was his ex-partner, after the breakup did she fall into prostitution to make ends meet before finally finding love with Christian Slater's Clarence Worley?
10. The Nazi Killer And The Film Director
Sticking with True Romance, Clarence tries to sell cocaine he acquired to a film director called Lee Donowitz. During the events of the film, Lee is putting the finishing touches to his latest in-movie flick, Coming Home in a Body Bag 2, the sequel to his hit Vietnam film that Clarence is a big fan of.
But what if Lee got his inspiration for the war movies from members of his own family? Maybe Eli Roth's Sgt. Donny "the Bear Jew" Donowitz from Inglourious Basterds and his Nazi-brain-bashing ways played a hand in Lee's film career.
11. Another Nazi Killer And His Great-Great-Grandfather
Inglourious Basterds featured a lot of Nazi killing — a hell of a lot. One of the best and most intense scenes in the flick took place in an underground tavern where British Army officer Lt. Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) goes undercover as a German officer. Things go badly.
It seems that bloodshed and gunfights in enclosed places is a family trait, as Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth) from The Hateful Eight can attest to. But how are these two characters linked? Well, Mobray is just an alias as his real name is "English" Pete Hicox and he is the great-great-grandfather of Archie.
12. The Dead Texas Ranger With A Long Life
Texas Ranger Earl McGraw first appeared in #FromDuskTillDawn — where he was quickly executed with a bullet to the head. But you just can't keep a good Texas Ranger down, and he resurfaced in Kill Bill where he was joined by his son Edgar McGraw.
The McGraw family kept on growing when Earl popped up again in the Death Proof and Planet Terror combo of #Grindhouse. This time around, Earl and Edgar were joined by Dr. Dakota Block née McGraw, the daughter of Earl and sister of Edgar.
Can you think of any character links in Quentin Tarantino movies I have missed? Let me know in the comments section below.