So Who Wants the Inglourious Basterds Prequel/Sequels?


More than a month and a half before his Inglourious Basterds stampeded to a stunning debut weekend, Quentin Tarantino was teasing moviegoers and critics with word of a Basterds prequel if the first film opened. He'd even shot some of the footage, he said, leaving it out of the final Basterds cut just in case. And that's to say nothing of the sequels co-star Eil Roth alluded to in interviews of his own. Here we are now, $37.6 million later, and my thought returning to the potential of a Basterds franchise. Could it happen? Would you actually want one? (Warning: Spoilers follow!)

A quick recap: Some time after Cannes, Tarantino confirmed that he had trimmed a sequence in which Donny Donowitz (played by Roth) bumps around Boston before his deployment to Europe, having local relatives of Holocaust victims sign the baseball bat he'll eventually use to bludgeon Nazis to death. One scene features Cloris Leachman as his neighbor Mrs. Himmelstein; Tarantino said it came out well, but didn't fit in the already-too-long final cut. So into the archives it went, awaiting either the public's demand for a prequel or the DVD release, whichever came first.

But how exactly would that work? The filmmaker acknowledged having half the thing written, featuring "a whole other group of characters, these black troops that come across the Basterds," etcetera. Not to naysay or anything (I'm an unabashed Basterds fan), but I'm not so convinced that their hour or so onscreen in the current film demands some sort of origin or back story beyond the one we already have. Brad Pitt's Lt. Aldo Raine is a pretty one-note gag (a funny, well-done one, but still) that probably couldn't withstand an entire feature, and Roth fares best as Donowitz when his mouth is shut. A Landa origin story, though? As an above-average detective whose means, talent, guilt and ego surge in proportion to his complicity with the Nazi regime? Anything to get more Christoph Waltz out there. Or even a tale of how Bridget von Hammersmark came to spy for the Brits might work.

I can probably be convinced about the other stuff, too. Not so much for the sequels that Roth mentioned in his own interviews, if only because (again: spoiler alert) doesn't everyone pretty much, like, die? You either get Aldo Raine going to Korea or cracking skulls Dirty Harry-style back in Tennessee (bzzzt), or the later exploits of B.J. Novak's Smithson Utivich, who might be one of Lyndon Johnson's earliest advisers dispatched to Vietnam. But Donowitz himself was standing over a theater-exploding bundle of dynamite after shooting Hitler in the face, Shoshanna Dreyfus is done for, and Landa winds up in Nantucket, I presume, with a swastika carved into his forehead (close enough to dead)... Who did I miss?

Or rather, what am I missing? If you've got treatments/ideas, feel free to dazzle me below. Otherwise, I'm content to let Raine have the last word -- "I think this might be my masterpiece" -- and move on.


  • Colander says:

    Oh, S.T., you know by now that Tarantino is whistling dixie. He talked up the Vega brothers movie, a movie about Vernita Green's daughter from Kill Bill...this is just what he does. People ask him questions, he gives them some sort of answer.

  • ThePlaylist says:

    Quentin already said the prequel would center on Pitt and Roth's Basterd characters and the gone-AWOL black soldiers (of which you've linked to and QT has talked about several times). Obviously, he'd probably have to put in some other story to float that whole boat, but I seriously doubt we would see more Shosanna or more Landa.
    All the excised Roth scene was was a flashback to his character's history, so if he wanted to that could easily be used in said Roth/Pitt/Black soldiers court-martialed-and-then-gone AWOL story.

  • ThePlaylist says:

    Also, Basterds can make $200 million and I'm sure it still won't happen.

  • Katey says:

    I'd give anything for a Landa prequel, absolutely anything. A story about a detective doing his job in 1930s Berlin? Sounds tremendous.
    But I agree with the others-- never gonna happen.

  • JB says:

    1930's Berlin detective story? How about this:
    "Fascists, communists, hookers, cowards and a rumpled German homicide detective who's just trying to do his job. Welcome to novelist Phillip Kerr's Berlin during the Weimar Republic. ... Kerr's police detective tries solve routine murders while all around him the ascendant Nazis plot and start to carry out much bigger crimes."

  • np says:

    Yeah the only characters I'd be interested in seeing another story about are Landa or Hammersmark, and I don't see it happening. As Colander points out, this isn't the first time he's talked up a prequel/sequel, and it never happens.

  • Florian says:

    I could imagine that there's an earlier story between the basterds and aldo rayne, something like:
    After the hard-fought victory over Rommels Troops in North Africa the OSS realizes that they need to cause confusion behind enemy lines and so they build two units of "basterds". The first of them consists of some degenerated roughnecks under the command of aldo raine and includes the bear jew. The black unit consists of war crime suspects who were promised to be free if they will survive their mission. After they landed in italy, the basterds under the command of aldo raine captivate Benito Mussolini and kill some highly awarded italian generals on their journey to meet up with hitler, but the the second unit got ambushed and couldn't arrive in time. Soon they find themselves surrounded by the german and italian troops. The basterds try to use Mussolini as a hostage so that the nazis meet their conditions, but they didn't calculate with Hans Landa, who victimises Mussolini just to kill the basterds. The Basterds are brought to rome and on their way to their public execution their transporter is attacked by the wrought-up crowd on the market place and most of the basterds are getting lynched by the people, but in the last minute when they were about to kill raine and donnowitz suddenly the second unit appears and saves their asses, so the basterds manage to escape from landa.
    sorry for my bad english, i don't speak english very often so i hope you can understand it 😀