Film Theory: Pulp Fiction Is A Prequel To Reservoir Dogs

The two films are more connected than you might first think...

Mr Orange Pumpkin

It's widely believed by now that Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, the first two films in Quentin's Tarantino's directorial catalogue, take place in the same universe. At one point Tarantino had plans for a spin-off flick, The Vega Brothers, which would have starred John Travolta's Vincent and Michael Madsen's Vic from the respective movies. However, it's never been explained as to how the two films fit together.

Well, one Reddit user has theorised that Reservoir Dogs is actually a direct prequel to Pulp Fiction. Not only that, but the films are more connected than you might first think, with a couple of characters in Tarantino's debut actually reprising their roles in the sequel at an earlier point in their lives.

According to the theory, it all stems down to Mr Pink's (Steve Buscemi) rant about not tipping at the start of Reservoir Dogs. He mentions that he's against the idea of tipping, having once worked as a waiter at a minimum wage job, and doesn't see the point in tipping unless you get special service.


Fast forward to Pulp Fiction, where Vincent Vega doesn't tip the waiter that well at a diner, with the waiter being played by (you guessed it) Steve Buscemi:

"Mr. Pink mentions that he once worked minimum wage, i.e. working as a Buddy Holly impersonator at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. A fun extra detail that could be added is the fact that he doesn’t believe in tips because he wasn’t a good waiter (mentioned by Vincent) and didn’t get tipped well."

The theory also claims that Pumpkin (the bank robber in Pulp Fiction played by Tim Roth) is actually Mr Orange (also played by Roth) before he became a cop. It says Pumpkin was inspired by the events of that film to turn his back on a life of crime and join the police, then choosing to go undercover in Reservoir Dogs as his previous criminal background was an advantage for the job:

"Freddy changes, taking Jules words to heart and becomes a better man...becomes a cop. Since we aren’t told of any criminal records held by him and the fact that he isn’t in jail at the time of Pulp Fiction, he shouldn’t have any trouble with that.
"Now fast forward. Freddy gets chosen to be an undercover cop and he has to take it so he doesn’t look suspicious but also because he feels he can do a lot of good as an undercover, which is the entire reason he became a cop."

There's some interesting connections there, and the theory adds a whole new light to the two characters when you watch the films back-to-back.

Do you know of any other connections between the films?

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Jamie is a freelance broadcast journalist and writer, with a particular obsession for sci-fi, theatre and politics. In his spare time he enjoys amateur dramatics and making homemade curries.