Quentin Tarantino has been careful in building a sort of shared universe between his films over the last couple of decades. There's not a huge degree of crossover, but certain things — like Red Apple cigarettes — recur across his movies, while a character from one film can be related to another, like Mr. Blonde and Vincent from "Pulp Fiction" being brothers, or Donny Donowitz from "Inglourious Basterds" being the father of Lee Donowitz from "True Romance."
It remains to be seen if further connections will be found in this Christmas' "Django Unchained," but there's one that nearly came to pass with another upcoming picture that Tarantino is involved with as an executive producer, in the shape of RZA's "The Man With The Iron Fists." The Wu-Tang Clan star turned actor turned director was originally set for a small role in 'Django,' but as he revealed to us a few weeks back, he had to drop out to scheduling conflicts, presumably with his imminent directorial debut.
And as it turns out, had he made it to the "Django" shoot… he would have been playing a younger version of his character from "The Man With The Iron Fists." RZA tells Movies.com "There was a tie [between "The Man With The Iron Fists" and "Django Unchained"]! And because of the schedule for Iron Fists, I had to let another character do it. I didn't make it into the film. The idea was that Thaddeus would be on the auction block. You've seen the trailer, when the camera passes by all the guys? So Thaddeus is supposed to be on that line."
The multi-hyphenate goes on to reveal a little bit more about the genesis of the crossover idea. "When Quentin finished Django," he says, "he read the whole thing to me – it was 90-some pages at the time. I spent a few days with him. And this is right before I went to China. And then when I came back I was like, "Yo Quentin – we should have Thaddeus…one of the slaves is Thaddeus!" So this way, we'd tie both movies together. And I told him that'd be the ultimate tie-in that'd really rock the fans. And he's like, "Yeah – you're right!" But, my schedule fucked it up."
It wouldn't have been entirely without precedent — Michael Keaton played FBI agent Ray Nicolette in both Tarantino's "Jackie Brown" and Steven Soderbergh's "Out Of Sight," although one could probably explain that away as the two sharing Elmore Leonard source material. It certainly would have been fun to see an extra tie to "The Man With The Iron Fists," so it's sad it didn't come to pass.
"Django Unchained" hits theaters on Christmas Day, but RZA's film arrives a little earlier, on November 2nd, and if you're after a little more backstory, you can check out three videos below: one an animated prequel to the film, the other two character trailers focusing on Russell Crowe's Jack Knife and RZA's The Blacksmith. And if that's not enough, there's also the new video for Black Keys and RZA's "Baddest Man Alive" from the soundtrack.