What Happens After Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

How life and society is changed in the aftermath of Tarantino's violent fairytale.

Margot Robbie Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Sony Pictures Releasing

Since the release of Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino has demonstrated a knack for re-writing history in ways both ironic and deeply satisfying.

His World War II epic ended with Hitler getting his face blasted to bits with a machine-gun, and so when the filmmaker decided to tackle the night of Sharon Tate's August 1969 murder, most fans expected similarly reality-shifting shenanigans.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood eventually arrives at that fateful night, only to flip the script and have Charles Manson's (Damon Herriman) cronies get taken down by fading actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his pal Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) in hilariously ultra-violent fashion.

We all saw it coming, and yet none of us did - at least none of us expected Rick to light one of the Mansons up with a damn flamethrower.

But beyond being a satisfying exercise in wish fulfilment and an unexpectedly poignant tribute to Tate, the film's conclusion does raise one major question - what happened next?

It goes without saying that had the Manson murders been stopped in their tracks, the lives of those affected would've turned out entirely differently, with the ripples even felt across Hollywood, the wider Los Angeles area, and perhaps American culture as a whole.

So, dig in for these highly subjective speculations on what may have happened in the world of Tarantino's movie after the end credits rolled. Let's kick things off with what the director himself thinks happened to Rick Dalton...

10. Rick Dalton Gets A Modest Career Revival

Margot Robbie Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Throughout the movie, Rick Dalton is presented as an actor whose career is beginning to wind down, but after Rick and his stuntman pal Cliff Booth successfully fend-off the Mansons, Tarantino himself suggests Dalton's career would've enjoyed a modest upswing. In a Q&A, the writer-director said:

"The whole incident with the flamethrower and the hippies got a lot of play. No one quite knows what a big deal that was, but it was still a big deal. And it's a big deal that he killed 'em with the flamethrower, with the prop from one of his most popular movies. So he starts becoming in demand again...He's got some publicity and now all of a sudden 'The 14 Fists of McCluskey' is playing more on Channel 5 during Combat Week and stuff.
And so he gets offered a couple of features - low-budget ones, but studio ones. But the thing is, on the episodic-TV circuit, he's a bigger name now...Rick's about where John Saxon was, maybe just a little bit higher."

While fans have speculated on what Rick's closing introduction to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) may have done for his career - her being married to Roman Polanski (RafaƂ Zawierucha) and all - we have it right from the horse's mouth that he wouldn't have become a mega-star.

Even so, being compared to late, great character actor John Saxon is no bad thing at all. And from the sounds of it, Rick's noted substance abuse issues didn't overcome him, so that's a relief.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.