Given that we’ve taken the time to chart out a meticulously chart out a timeline for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it should be obvious that we here at FilmBuffOnline love a good, multi-film cinematic universe. But while most films that could be described as exisiting in the same world are franchise features like Star Trek or the Bourne films, director Quentin Tarantino is one of the very few where the connections exist but aren’t necessarily part of the overall ongoing story.*
From fairly early on in his careeer, Tarantino has made it obvious that his films all inhabit the same universe. Reservoir Dogs‘ Vic Vega (Michael Madsen) is brother to Pulp Fiction‘s Vincent Vega (John Travolta), while the “Alabama” that Reservior Dogs‘ Mr White mentions as having worked with is the same character played by Patricia Arquette in the Tarantino-scripted True Romance. And the movies that they all watch include Kill Bill, From Dusk `Till Dawn and Jackie Brown.
More recently, Tarantino stated that Eli Roth’s Donny “the Bear Jew” Donowitz from Inglorious Basterds is the father of movie producer Lee Donowitz (Saul Rubinek) in True Romance.
And this brings up an interesting notion. While the the modern day set films all seem to exist in a world nearly identical to our own, they actually exist in a reality where World War Two ended in a dramatically different fashion. So how would this have affected society? One writer at Cracked first theorized the fall out that such a change to history would have had and more recently a commentator on Reddit expanded on the idea.
It’s well known that all of Tarantino’s films take place in the same universe – this is established by the fact that Mr. Blonde and Vince Vega are brothers, everybody smokes Red Apple cigarettes, Mr. White worked with Alabama from True Romance, etc.
As it turns out, Donny Donowitz, ‘The Bear Jew’, is the father of movie producer Lee Donowitz from True Romance – which means that, in Tarantino’s universe, everybody grew up learning about how a bunch of commando Jews machine gunned Hitler to death in a burning movie theater, as opposed to quietly killing himself in a bunker.
Because World War 2 ended in a movie theater, everybody lends greater significance to pop culture, hence why seemingly everybody has Abed-level knowledge of movies and TV. Likewise, because America won World War 2 in one concentrated act of hyperviolent slaughter, Americans as a whole are more desensitized to that sort of thing. Hence why Butch is unfazed by killing two people, Mr. White and Mr. Pink take a pragmatic approach to killing in their line of work, Esmerelda the cab driver is obsessed with death, etc.
You can extrapolate this further when you realize that Tarantino’s movies are technically two universes – he’s gone on record as saying that Kill Bill and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn take place in a ‘movie movie universe’; that is, they’re movies that characters from the Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, and Death Proof universe would go to see in theaters. (Kill Bill, after all, is basically Fox Force Five, right on down to Mia Wallace playing the title role.)
What immediately springs to mind about Kill Bill and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn? That they’re crazy violent, even by Tarantino standards. These are the movies produced in a world where America’s crowning victory was locking a bunch of people in a movie theater and blowing it to bits – and keep in mind, Lee Donowitz, son of one of the people on the suicide mission to kill Hitler, is a very successful movie producer.
Basically, it turns every Tarantino movie into alternate reality sci fi. I love it so hard.
EDIT: Oh hai upvotes. Glad everybody liked this as much as I did! Let me address some things:
1) I don’t think the same actors necessarily correlate to the same characters – the bit about Mia Wallace in Kill Bill seemed like just an interesting detail or maybe an exception rather than the rule. Mr. White and The Wolf are two different people. That said, I remember Tarantino mentioning that Sheriff McGraw and The Wolf are the only characters that can jump between the regular movie and the movie movie universe. Proof.
2) I’m not implying that nuking scores of innocent people is less violent than anything else – I just think it would have a different effect on the American psyche. Growing up knowing our home country vaporized two whole cities has influenced our culture in its own ways; I feel like the movie theater plot would do the same. Also, since this is primarily a fan theory, I don’t think the psychology of it needs to be 100% irrefutable and airtight.
3) Yes, I initially saw this on Cracked and then extrapolated on it. Since it was a fan theory and it blew my mind, I posted it here.
I have to say that I really love this idea. An interesting theory and well thought out to be sure. It’ll be fun to see if Tarantino’s future films will continue to sustain it.
And check out the rest of Reddit’s Fan Theories discussions if you have a couple of hours to kill. So far my two favorites are the one that states that the Fresh Prince of Bel Air actually takes place in the afterlife and a rather creepy one regarding the cartoon series Rugrats.
* Kevin Smith’s “View Askewinerse” would probably be the only other one.