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Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds TV Show Plan Would've Killed The Story

Inglourious Basterds could have had a very different fate had Quentin Tarantino gone for his original plan for it: a miniseries, which would have definitely killed the story. Quentin Tarantino has earned a place as one of the most respected filmmakers in the industry thanks to his peculiar narrative style, his mastery at writing dialogues, and the generous doses of blood in each of his movies. Tarantino’s career began in 1992 with the crime movie Reservoir Dogs, and while it was a success, his big break arrived in 1994 with Pulp Fiction.

Since then, Tarantino has directed a total of 10 movies (though both Kill Bill entries are counted as one) and through them, he has explored a variety of genres – from martial arts to slasher and even Western. In 2009, he tried something different but very effective with Inglourious Basterds, a war movie that told an alternate version of World War II through two plots: one following a group known as the “Basterds”, led by Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), and another one focused on Shosanna Dreyfus/Emmanuelle Mimieux (Mélanie Laurent), a Jewish cinema owner whose family was killed by SS officer Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), the main villain of the story. The Basterds and Shosanna had a common goal: kill as many Nazis as possible, including Hitler.

Related: Inglourious Basterds True Story: Did ANY Of Quentin Tarantino's Movie Really Happen?

Inglourious Basterds went on to become Tarantino’s highest-grossing movie at the time (later surpassed by Django Unchained in 2012 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in 2019) and was also a critical success, but had Tarantino gone with his original plan for the story, it wouldn’t have been as successful. Speaking to Robert Rodriguez on his Director’s Chair series, Tarantino opened up about the process of making Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino explained that he started writing it after Jackie Brown, back in the late 1990s, but it became a “never-ending process” as he had “no end in sight”. His idea, then, was to do Inglourious Basterds as a miniseries, but luckily, that changed and he finally gave it an ending and was able to fit the story into a movie.

While telling the stories of the Basterds, Shosanna, and the rest in a miniseries would have allowed Tarantino to go into more detail, an Inglourious Basterds TV series would have ultimately killed the story. There’s a lot of tension throughout Inglourious Basterds as the audience follows closely the plans of Shosanna and the Basterds to kill Hitler while Hans Landa gets closer and closer to them with each passing day, and the way it builds suspense wouldn’t have worked had the story had been split into episodes. Inglourious Basterds works best as a continuous story, and even if the story had been longer when Tarantino considered doing it as a TV series, the pace wouldn’t have worked as a miniseries. It’s worth noting that Tarantino hasn’t properly delved into the realm of television yet, with his only work on the small screen being directing one episode of ER, one of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and a story credit in From Dusk till Dawn: The Series, but he did split an extended version of The Hateful Eight into episodes when it arrived on Netflix, and viewers weren't happy with that.

In the end, Tarantino found the perfect ending for Inglourious Basterds and did the necessary changes and cuts so it could be made as a movie, thus saving the story as it would have been basically butchered had it been done as a TV series, and definitely wouldn’t have been the successful work that it now is.

Next: Inglourious Basterds Theory: The 3-Finger Gesture Didn't Give The Basterds Away

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