John Wayne Was the Inspiration for a Jaeger in Guillermo del Toro’s Movie ‘Pacific Rim’

Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim is an action movie favorite of many audiences. It brings giant robots along to fight massive monsters in exciting settings. However, many moviegoers don’t know how Western movie star John Wayne inspired a major component in designing an element of a specific Jaeger.

‘Pacific Rim’ introduces the fight between Kaiju and Jaegers

Del Toro’s Pacific Rim explores a time when legions of terrifying creatures called Kaiju arose from the depths of the ocean. As a result, humankind is forced to engage in a war to defend Earth. However, they don’t have a whole lot of resources left at their disposal. They create mechanical Jaegers, which require two pilots to lock together in a “neural bridge” to control it.

However, the Jaegers prove to not be quite enough to defeat the Kaiju. A washed-up ex-pilot named Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) must work together with an untested trainee named Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). They have an old, obsolete Jaeger that they have to make work for a mission that all of humanity is relying on. It turns out that Wayne’s movies had an impact on Pacific Rim.

Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’ took inspiration from John Wayne for the Jaeger named Gipsy Danger

John Wayne movie 'El Dorado' in front of building with a bell wearing cowboy clothes
John Wayne | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

New York Daily News interviewed del Toro about the Kaiju and Jaeger concepts in Pacific Rim. When it comes to Gipsy Danger, a lot of different inspirations went into the mix in creating this design. Del Toro wanted to make it as “American” as possible. For example, the film uses the New York City skyline as one of its inspirations.

However, del Toro’s Pacific Rim also used Wayne as a major source of inspiration for the movie. It makes absolute sense to use an American icon to capture the essence of the Jaeger’s design.

“Concept artist Oscar Chichoni and I discussed the idea of basing its shape on the art deco buildings of New York like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building and combining it with John Wayne,” del Toro said. “I wanted him to have the gait of a gun-slinger. If you watch the movie, he has the hip movement that gunslingers have in Western movies.”

John Wayne movies inspired fight scenes

Wayne starred in a wide variety of Western movies with iconic fight sequences, so it makes sense that del Toro would take inspiration for Pacific Rim. He made history for making his characters “fight dirty” in a way that Hollywood never did before. Wayne didn’t mind getting his hands dirty and putting his full body into his movements, which is exactly the way that Gipsy Danger handles its movements in the movie.

The Western star continues to inspire modern mainstream cinema in various ways. He’s the personification of an entire genre and his movies deeply impacted the movie industry. Del Toro and his concept artist certainly took note of that while making Pacific Rim.

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