When it was announced that The Hateful Eight was going to be Quentin Tarantino’s next film, there was plenty of reason to be curious. While the filmmaker has delved in similar genres before, this was the first time he was making two films back to back that were very specifically genre pieces—Westerns, in fact. This was coming on the heels of Tarantino’s first ever Western, Django Unchained, and the director himself admitted that he wanted to do another Western because he felt he only really mastered the genre once he completed Django. With The Hateful Eight, he could put all that experience to good use. It turns out, however, that Hateful Eight and Django Unchained actually have much more in common than simply being in the same genre—they were originally connected by the character of Django himself.
Speaking with David Poland during a video interview, Tarantino revealed that the story idea for The Hateful Eight originated with a novelized sequel to Django Unchained that he was developing:
“After doing Django I knew I didn’t want to do any Django movie sequels or anything, but I liked the idea of there being several paperbacks that could be the further adventures of Django or maybe go back in time, a couple more Django/Schultz adventures. So I hadn’t written a novel before and I thought I would just try my hand at writing a Django paperback. At the time it was called Django in White Hell. Instead of [Samuel L. Jackson’s] Major Warren it was Django.”
So what made Tarantino change course? Well he realized The Hateful Eight is a non-heroic affair:
“Because I was introducing such rough characters in this piece, and there would be even more disreputable characters waiting for them [at the haberdashery], at a certain point I realized, ‘well you know what’s wrong with this piece? It’s Django. he’s needs to go. Because you shouldn’t have a moral center when it comes to these eight characters.’ ”
Indeed, The Hateful Eight’s cast of characters is a colorful bunch of mean folks. While Django enacted his revenge in bloody fashion, at his core he’s a heroic character. Having seen The Hateful Eight I can confirm that Jamie Foxx’s freed slave would not have fit in as a piece of this whole at all—the movie’s true to its title.
But that doesn’t mean The Hateful Eight isn’t without delight or characters to root for. Tarantino masterfully weaves this tale of snowy violence with some wonderfully conceived character arcs that are immensely satisfying. I would highly suggest you catch the film when it opens in theaters. The Hateful Eight will be released exclusively in 70mm on December 25th and opens everywhere on January 8th.