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Pulp Fiction 2 - Will It Ever Happen?

"Pulp Fiction" is a definitive movie of the 1990s, a collection of synthesized and rearranged homages and tropes referring to the decades of film history absorbed by its co-writer and director, Quentin Tarantino. Winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, critics adored "Pulp Fiction," and so did audiences, buying $213 million's worth of tickets to the movie that would earn seven Academy Award nominations, including best director and best original screenplay (which Tarantino and Roger Avary took home).

Not only was "Pulp Fiction" one of the most talked about movies of 1994 — and one that revived the careers of John Travolta and Bruce Willis and launched Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson into mega-stardom — but it boasted a captivating story. An ensemble piece about figures in and around the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, "Pulp Fiction" is told both episodically and out of order, and it made Tarantino one of the most influential and in-demand filmmakers of his generation. Fans, of course, wanted to continue to explore those richly developed characters and that thoroughly realized world. And yet, that much demanded and teased sequel (or prequel) never arrived. Here's why we never got to see "Pulp Fiction 2" and whether or not we ever will.

Why isn't Pulp Fiction 2 happening yet?

"Pulp Fiction" was the second feature film made by writer-director Quentin Tarantino. He's now closing in on his tenth, and in 2023, he celebrated his 60th birthday. Sadly, Tarantino has often talked up the notion of retiring after both of those milestones. 

Unfortunately for die-hard "Pulp Fiction" fans, that tenth film isn't going to be a follow-up to the 1994 classic. Instead, it's a project titled "The Movie Critic," which is about a 1970s critic who reviews films for a porno magazine. While we're sure the movie will be a modern-day masterpiece, if it really is his final film, that kills off quite a few potential Tarantino projects. At various points in his career, he's floated ideas like a gangster-style "Star Trek" movie, a third "Kill Bill" entry, and a movie about Black soldiers during World War II. So assuming that Tarantino sticks to his guns when it comes to feature film retirement, we won't be seeing any of those movies play out on the big screen ... or the further adventures of Jules Winnfield or Mia Wallace. In other words, the time has passed for "Pulp Fiction 2."

There's another persistent issue that's long dogged a "Pulp Fiction 2" – ownership and rights issues. As it turns out, it may have been tough for Tarantino to even legally make a sequel to his own film, had he wanted to do so. Tarantino owns the copyright of the "Pulp Fiction" script, while studio Miramax owns the finished film. Evidently, when Tarantino tried to make "Pulp Fiction" NFTs, he wound up in a lawsuit with Miramax that ended in 2022. If just making non-fungible tokens was that contentious, imagine how it might've hampered the making of another movie.

What could be explored in Pulp Fiction 2?

Over the last three decades, "Pulp Fiction" writer-director Quentin Tarantino has openly discussed at least three films that would've expanded the film's universe. In the 1990s, following the back-to-back successes of "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction," Tarantino toyed with the idea of linking the two films in a new project called "Double V Vega." In that movie, Michael Madsen and John Travolta would've reprised their respective "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction" roles of Vic Vega and Vincent Vega — because they're brothers. 

Essentially a prequel to both movies, it would've been about the Vega siblings hanging out in Amsterdam (which Vincent Vega alludes to in his "Pulp Fiction" opening monologue). Tarantino never developed anything about "Double V Vega" (also billed as "The Vega Brothers") other than that premise, and as 30 years have passed, it's probably too late for Madsen and Travolta to play younger versions of their characters.

As for other possibilities, there's a scene in "Pulp Fiction" in which Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) tells Vincent, "I'm just going to walk the Earth. ... You know, like Caine in 'Kung Fu.' Walk from place to place, meet people, get into adventures." Tarantino thought about making that into a whole movie, but he told Movie Nerds that it never moved beyond the idea realm. As for the third potential film, while promoting "Kill Bill" in 2003, Tarantino told Aotearoa News (via Empire) that a sequel was stirring. "There's an idea I have," he said. "Bottom line, the studio wants it, the fans want it. I'm sure I can compromise somewhere. It'd be my way of apologizing for never getting 'Vega Brothers' off the ground, I guess." Nevertheless, that movie never did get produced.

Who would star in a Pulp Fiction sequel?

Due to the events of the first "Pulp Fiction" and circumstances affecting the cast's ability or willingness to participate in the present day, any follow-up film set in the same cinematic universe couldn't serve as a direct sequel. For example, Vincent Vega, portrayed by John Travolta in the film, doesn't make it out of "Pulp Fiction" alive, while Bruce Willis, who played rogue boxer Butch Coolidge, retired from acting after developing dementia. 

As for the rest of the cast, it seems like it might take Tarantino a lot of work to convince Samuel L. Jackson to reprise his role of hitman Jules Winnfield. In 2022, Tarantino derisively discussed the "Marvel-ization of Hollywood" on the podcast "2 Bears, 1 Cave." Obviously, Jackson portrays Nick Fury throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe and took umbrage at his "Pulp Fiction" director's comments, firing back at him on "The View." As for Uma Thurman, who played Mia Wallace, her relationship with Tarantino has been rocky. In 2018, she told The New York Times that she nearly died in a car stunt gone awry during the filming of "Kill Bill" — a stunt the director reportedly forced her to do — and that Tarantino spat on her and choked her for two separate scenes. 

Granted, Thurman has said that she forgave Tarantino for the car incident after the director apologized. And it's very likely the filmmaker could patch things up with Jackson over their Marvel feud. Still, it seems like there might be some friction between Tarantino and the key players involved, so even if a "Pulp Fiction 2" were a possibility, getting the band back together might be pretty difficult at this point.

Pulp Fiction may resurface in a different medium

Writing, directing, producing, and releasing a film (particularly a sequel to a 30-year-old film) is a difficult and complicated task. It may be much more pragmatic and easier for Quentin Tarantino to release the long-rumored and often-speculated "Pulp Fiction" follow-up in another format — like the written word, a medium Tarantino has actively explored in recent years. 

In 2021, he published "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," a novelization and expansion of his 2019 film of the same name. In the 2010s, he began writing a literary spinoff of his "Django Unchained" project called "Django in White Hell," which evolved into "The Hateful Eight," according to an interview with Dave Poland. However, he did give Django life on the page, pairing the gunfighting hero up with one of the world's most famous masked vigilantes in the comic book "Django/Zorro."

And while these aren't real sequels, other artists and professionals have revisited the world of "Pulp Fiction" in their projects. In 2023, Deadline reported that production had started on "Stealing Pulp Fiction," a heist movie from director-writer Danny Turkiewicz about a group of friends who try to abscond with Tarantino's copy of the original 35 millimeter "Pulp Fiction" film reels. And back in 2014, Harvey Keitel reprised his role as the inscrutable and effective "Pulp Fiction" fixer Winston Wolfe in a series of commercials for U.K. insurance company Direct Line, representing the business for several years.