Slowly but surely, excitement is building for Quentin Tarantino's upcoming eighth film [The Hateful Eight](tag:1216087), a story of bounty hunters and betrayal in post-Civil War America.
The cast contains the Tarantino alumni you might expect - Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins and Kurt Russell will all appear - as well as newcomers to the Tarantino-verse like Channing Tatum and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
What I'm wondering is: how will this new film link into the Tarantino-verse? If you don't already know, the interconnected universe of Tarantino films is a genuine thing. I'm not going crazy, honestly. Well before the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the DC Expanded Universe, the man they call Q.T. was creating an interlocking series of foul-mouthed, fast-talking, violent films.
Given the setting we can presume that The Hateful Eight takes place not long after Django Unchained, but it's unclear how it will connect to its predecessor (or even if it will at all).
For a bit of fun while we wait for the film, let's take a look at the other possible connections between Tarantino's films. I should mention that I don't claim to have invented these connections, they've been spotted by far more eagle-eyed viewers than me, and various Tarantinoverse theories can be found online.
The best place to start our tour of Tarantino's psyche is with his first film as a director.
Tarantino wrote, directed and had a small acting role in Reservoir Dogs - it was the film that marked him out as a promising young talent, way back in 1992. The story of a diamond heist gone very wrong, it was a sister film, of sorts, to the even bigger hit Pulp Fiction. You won't be surprised to hear that the film set up connections to the films that would follow.
An early connection is to a script Tarantino wrote before Reservoir Dogs, but would come out later. Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) references a former partner named "Alabama".
This connects the film to...
Presumably the Alabama that Mr. White referred to is Alabama Whitman, played by Patricia Arquette in True Romance. In Tarantino's original ending to the script, Alabama would turn to a life of crime following Clarence's death.
OK, so Tarantino didn't direct True Romance (Tony Scott did), but he did write the original screenplay, and there are enough hints and meta-references within it (and references to it in other films) to suggest that it fits into the Tarantinoverse.
The connections don't end with Alabama. The surname of James Gandolfini's character Virgil is, as you might have guessed, Vega.
As in Reservoir Dogs' psychopathic Mr. Blonde himself, Vic Vega (Michael Madsen).
And his brother, Pulp Fiction's Vincent Vega (John Travolta).
Is Virgil another Vega brother? It's possible. At some point in the '90s Tarantino had a plan to make a "Vega Brothers" film which will go down in history as one of the great "what could have been" films. Sadly the actors' advancing years, coupled with the fact that their characters' fates in the films meant it would need to be a prequel, put paid to the idea.
So Reservoir Dogs and True Romance link to one another, and via the Vega brothers both are linked to...
Two years after Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino really hit the big time with Pulp Fiction, a instantly recognisable, eminently quotable piece of pop-culture obsessed crime fiction.
We've already been through Pulp Fiction's links to Reservoir Dogs and True Romance, but in a film as dense with references as this, there are still more to look at!
I'm sure you remember Marcia Wallace (Uma Thurman) explaining her failed television pilot to the aforementioned Vincent Vega. Of course you do! You're not a square.
Just in case you don't remember, allow Marcia to break it down for you.
Bears a striking resemblance to the members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad from Kill Bill, doesn't it? So that's how Pulp Fiction connects to...
Not convinced? Let's just run through that list. We have "the blonde one, she was the leader":
"The Japanese one was a kung fu master":
"The black girl was a demolition expert":
"The French fox's specialty was sex":
"The character I played was the deadliest woman in the world with a knife":
If you're keeping score, we've connected Reservoir Dogs to True Romance to Pulp Fiction to Kill Bill. But which Tarantino film does the ultra-violent, hyper-stylised Kill Bill link to? Well, think back to the famous scene where The Bride is buried alive. The title card that begins the scene gives a clue.
The name Paula Schultz may not ring any bells immediately, but take a look at the years Paula walked the Earth.
Surely she must be a relation of everyone's favourite dentist turned bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Paula Schultz died some years later than King, but it's possible she was his wife. That might explain why it's a "lonely grave". That, of course, leads us to...
It's amazing to think that a Western set in 1858 connects to the other films in the Tarantinoverse, set in the modern day. But there's more here than just a name on a gravestone.
Schultz and Django are bounty hunters, and part of the film's plot sees them hunting down members of the outlaw Bacall Gang. We know one of the gang members went by the name Crazy Craig Koons.
The name Koons brings us back to Pulp Fiction, and the memorable cameo from Christopher Walken as Captain Koons.
You're quoting those lines now, aren't you? Presumably Captain Koons is a distant relative of the old West outlaw Crazy Craig Koons. What a shame that Walken didn't make a cameo in Django Unchained!
Since we're talking Captain Koons we're back onto Pulp Fiction. While we're back here I should mention one more potential Pulp Fiction to Reservoir Dogs connection: remember the briefcase of diamonds that Mr. Pink walks out with at the end of Reservoir Dogs? Well, isn't it possible it may be the same mysterious briefcase from Pulp Fiction?
In fact, back to Reservoir Dogs, Vincent's brother Vic states that his parole officer was named Seymour Scagnetti.
It's possible that he could be a relation of Detective Jack Scagnetti (Tome Sizemore) the cop hunting down Micky and Mallory in...
Natural Born Killers
Natural Born Killers, like True Romance, was another Tarantino-penned script directed by someone else (in this case, Oliver Stone). It follows two love-struck serial killers and the reporter who is obsessed with them. The reporter is Wayne Gayle, played by a pre-Iron Man Robert Downey Jr.
Gale also has an assistant, referred to in the script as "Unruly" Julie. Some speculate that this may be the same Julie that we come to know as the popular Austin, Texas DJ "Jungle" Julia.
She's a character we meet in...
Death Proof sees two different groups of women stalked by killer Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell). Mike's crimes are investigated by a Sheriff named Earl McGraw.
If he looks like a familiar face, it's because he is the same Sheriff that investigates the massacre at the Two Pines Chapel that sets off the events of Kill Bill.
We've already looked at Kill Bill's huge Pulp Fiction connection, but there's another link to that film that's altogether more speculative - check out the Samurai sword Butch picks in Maynard's store in Pulp Fiction.
Was it The Bride's sword? Probably not, we know hers was custom made. It could be the sword of Budd, though. Budd (Michael Madsen) is Bill's brother, and says in Kill Bill Vol. II that he pawned that Samurai sword Bill had given him as a gift. It could have ended up in Butch's hands.
While we're back on Pulp Fiction, there's another famous connection that we see between Pulp Fiction and the other Tarantino films. It's the fictional brand Red Apple Cigarettes, seen here on the table between Ringo and Yolanda (or Pumpkin and Hunny Bunny if you prefer).
Perhaps it's the same brand smoked by Lee Donowitz in True Romance.
Lee Donowitz is a movie producer extraordinaire, the guy Alabama and Clarence try to sell cocaine to in True Romance. Lee is a famous and successful guy in his own right, but his father might be an even bigger name (in the Tarantinoverse, anyway).
His father is Sergeant Donnie Donowitz, better known by his fear inducing nickname of "The Bear Jew".
You'll have seen him in...
It's possible that Inglourious Basterds' Sgt. Donnowitz isn't the only man to have a descendant turn up in the Tarantinoverse. Though it doesn't seem to have been confirmed, there's a theory online that the Nazi scalping Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) is the grandfather of Floyd (surname unknown), the stoner roommate who seems to live on Dick's couch in True Romance.
There's a clear family resemblance, at least!
What's Next? The Hateful Eight?
There you have it: connections between Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, True Romance and Natural Born Killers. The only Tarantino film I couldn't find a link from or to was Jackie Brown, but given that it's an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch, it's safe to assume it exists outside the Tarantinoverse.
The question now is: will The Hateful Eight link to these films, and if so, how? At the moment we don't really know. There's no obvious connections in any character names, so we can only speculate. Who knows, maybe Samuel L. Jackson's Major Marquis Warren is an ancestor of Jules Winnfield?
That might be a bit of a stretch, but whatever the answer, I'm excited to hunt for new connections when the film finally hits the big screen!