What Happens After 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 (Rafał 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.