Light Mode

Kill Bill Turns 20: Quentin Tarantino’s Lost Trilogy

It’s hard to believe two decades have passed since we collectively wiggled our big toe, donned our yellow biker suit, and whistled “Twisted Nerve.” While the back catalogue of Quentin Tarantino has never been afraid to break through the cultural zeitgeist, few movies have done it like Kill Bill.

As soon as we saw a bloodied black-and-white Uma Thurman as “The Bride”  having her brains blown out at the start of Kill Bill Vol. 1, we should’ve known we were onto something special. As the name suggests, the 2003 masterstroke was just the first chapter of an epic tale of vengeance, with Kill Bill Vol. 2 releasing less than a year later.

The deftness of Kill Bill’s storytelling was partly that Vol. 1 played out as a samurai saga, while Vol. 2 was a spaghetti Western. Then things were seemingly tied off with a neat, bloody bow–and with the titular Bill meeting his maker at the wrong end of a Five-Point Palm Exploding Hand Trick, many remain content with Beatrix Kiddo and B.B driving off into the sunset. As for the rest of us, we’re still asking … whatever happened to Kill Bill Volume 3?

- Advertisement -

Shotgun Wedding

Tarantino isn’t exactly known for his sequels, and while Reservoir Dogs’ Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) is the unhinged brother of Pulp Fiction’s Vincent Vega (John Travolta), the long-mooted Vega Brothers movie never came to pass. Similarly, plans for The Hateful Eight to be a Django Unchained sequel were reworked. Kill Bill was already an outlier for getting a sequel, yet there’s a lingering sense that we’re missing out on a trilogy that could’ve been up there with Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy.

It’s no coincidence that Tarantino referred to the Kill Bill movies as his own Dollars series when mulling a third chapter in a 2004 interview with Entertainment Weekly. In the years since, the idea of Kill Bill Vol. 3 has been thrown around a lot, with Tarantino always saying he’d want the characters to have aged up before completing the whole savage affair.

Speaking to The Joe Rogan Experience while promoting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Tarantino said it would be “f*****g exciting” to return to these characters twenty years later. Even better, he already has some inspired casting in mind, pitching Maya Hawke (Thurman’s real-life daughter) to replace Perla Haney-Jardine as B.B, with the two on the run.

An obvious route to take would be the daughter of Vivica A. Fox’s Vernita Green seeking out The Bride. Kill Bill Vol. 1 wasted no time getting into the action, with its opening moments seeing The Bride quickly off Vernita, and little Nikki (Ambrosia Kelley) walking in on the bloodbath. The movie even cued Nikki’s own vengeance saga with Beatrix telling her, “When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I’ll be waiting.”


In a June 2023 interview with The A.V. Club, Fox cleared up some confusing reports that she’d want Zendaya to take over from Kelley as Nikki. Though Fox had previously implied she’d like to see Zendaya as Nikki, she’s since said that the fan-casting was taken out of context.

‘Driver’ To The Church On Time

Speaking to  Andy Cohen Live on SiriusXM, Tarantino admitted that while a third movie would be about what The Bride has been up to, he has some reservations: “I wouldn’t want to just come up with some cockamamie adventure –- she doesn’t deserve that. The Bride has fought long and hard.”

- Advertisement -

Thankfully, there are plenty of people out there who want Beatrix’s head.

It’s not just Nikki out for vengeance, with the mystery of Daryl Hannah’s Elle Driver another dangling plot thread. The one-eyed assassin was arguably Kill Bill’s baddest b*tch and got a suitable dose of karma for her ending — that is,  having her remaining eye plucked out and being left in Budd’s (Michael Madsen) trailer with a deadly Black Mamba snake.

It went unnoticed by exactly no one that Beatrix’s Death List Five couldn’t quite cross Driver off, leaving a question mark over her name in the credits. Given Hannah’s unforgettable performance, it’s easy to imagine her becoming a blind, hate-filled mentor, keeping the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad alive while training Nikki.

In fact, it would be easy to assemble a whole squad of deadly assassins and flip the reverse of Kiddo’s Death List Five against her. Alongside Nikki and Elle, Julie Dreyfus’ Sofie Fatale had her arm sliced off but lived to fight another day, while early concepts for Kill Bill had the cut character of Yuki Yabari looking for revenge as the sister of Gogo (Chiaki Kuriyama).

Kill Bill has never been far from pop culture. As well as Lady Gaga and Beyoncé used the infamous Pussy Wagon in their “Telephone” video (its director denies taking any inspiration from the movie), SZA released “Kill Bill” as a 2022 track that had plenty of swordfighting and even starred Vivica A. Fox.

Of course, there are questions about what you’d even call the movie. David Carradine passed in 2009, so it’s not even like we could have Bill accompany the Bride as her spectral guide.

- Advertisement -

Wedding Day Blues

Behind-the-scenes troubles and the film industry grinding to a pandemic-related halt also haven’t helped the prospects for a Kill Bill Vol. 3. In 2018 Thurman candidly told The New York Times about a car crash on the set of Kill Bill, blaming Tarantino for putting her behind the wheel of a stunt car, and calling it a “cheap shot” that almost inadvertently killed her. Despite a fractious relationship and the fallout of the #MeToo movement — Thurman has also called out Tarantino for not protecting her against executive producer Harvey Weinstein — the pair have lately returned to better ground.

Meanwhile Tarantino has put his efforts into the likes of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and his upcoming 10th movie, The Movie Critic.

Circling back to Kill Bill Vol. 3, Tarantino told the Happy Sad Confused podcast in 2019: “If any of my movies would be taken — me and Uma were literally talking about it last week — so if any of my movies were going to spring from one of my other movies, it would be the third Kill Bill.” Other factors might be at play here, though, for while promoting his Once Upon a Time novelization to Playlist, Tarantino said he was reluctant to pen more stories in the Kill Bill universe. Pull a U-turn, then, on his original plan to direct “three Kill Bill movies, one every ten years.”

Tarantino also said sayonara to an anime focusing on The Bride with the Deadly Vipers and a Bill anime origin. The director confessed, “I f*****g killed myself on ‘Kill Bill,’ went around the world, I don’t want to think about that sh*t anymore.”

These days, the Kill Bill Vol. 3 conversation has been swallowed by Tarantino’s insistence that he’ll only direct ten movies before retiring. The final nail in the coffin seemingly came in 2023, when he commented on the prospect of a third Kill Bill to the Flemish newspaper, De Morgen: “I don’t see that happening. My last film is about a film critic, a male critic and it’s set in the 70s.”

But Tarentino’s hardly been consistent answering questions about his ten-movie plan. He  told Deadline  much earlier that it isn’t “etched in stone,” adding, “If later on I come across a good movie, I won’t not do it just because I said I wouldn’t. But ten and done, leaving them wanting more — that sounds right.”  Still, with Tarantino’s meta take on storytelling (like Inglourious Basterds rewriting history), imagine if The Movie Critic ends by jumping to the present day and features our titular character reviewing an in-world Kill Bill Vol. 3. This stuff practically writes itself.

Like it or not, Quentin Tarantino definitely seems like he’s hanging up his director’s hat after The Movie Critic. And though Tarantino’s looming retirement also nixes the far-out idea of his R-rated Star Trek movie (yes, that was an actual pitch), we can’t help but feel Kill Bill Vol. 3 is a bigger loss.

For a while back there, we were sure Thurman would be swinging her Hattori Hanzō sword one more time.

Click here to read more from Tom Chapman on Kill Bill and its surprising connections to Tarantino’s classic Inglourious Basterds.

Based in Manchester, UK, Tom Chapman has over seven years’ experience covering everything from dragons to Demogorgons. Starting out with a stint at Movie Pilot in Berlin, Tom has since branched out to indulge his love of all things Star Wars and the MCU at Digital Spy, Den of Geek, IGN, Yahoo! and more. These days, you’ll find Tom channelling his inner Gale Weathers and ranting about how HBO did us dirty with Game of Thrones Season Eight.

- Advertisement -