Quentin Tarantino has announced that the story of Rick Dalton, the character portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, has come to a close. Tarantino revealed this news on The Video Archives podcast, which he hosts with Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary. The death of the character was announced through a series of tweets, and the upcoming episode of the podcast will serve as a memorial to Rick Dalton.
The Video Archives podcast is a platform where Tarantino and Avary “revisit classic films on VHS and discover new favorites.” Although new episodes usually arrive every other Tuesday, the schedule was reportedly expedited to accommodate this breaking news.
Tarantino had previously shared his plans for Dalton’s life. In a 2021 interview with podcaster Jeff Goldsmith, he had mentioned that he had written a biography of the character called The Films of Rick Dalton. The book was written as if Dalton were a real person and included synopses of all of his movies as well as critical quotes from the time. The book also chronicled his career until its end in 1988 and documented all of his episodic television shows.
During the same interview, Tarantino had discussed a movie called The Fireman, which starred Dalton and Brad Pitt’s character Cliff Booth. The movie was set a decade after the events of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. The lead character in the movie was a Vietnam War veteran who became a cop and discovered a group of corrupt cops who had killed his partner (played by a young Sam Jackson). Dalton’s character then targeted these corrupt cops and burned them down while dressed as the Fireman.
With the announcement of the end of Rick Dalton’s story, it appears that The Fireman will remain an imaginary film and not be explored further. Tarantino has always been known for his unique approach to storytelling, and his decision to close the book on Rick Dalton is in line with his penchant for unconventional and unexpected narratives.