When Pacific Rim first hit theaters in 2013, it was something of an anomaly in the world of action movies. Typically, a movie with large-scale CGI and giant monsters doesn’t come paired with anything in the way of compelling characters or story structure. That’s exactly what Guillermo del Toro gave us though, delivering a stunningly realized final product when all was said and done.
Now three years later, we’re finally getting some concrete details concerning what we can expect from the long-planned sequel. The film sat in development hell before it was finally revived, but given the massive box office appeal of the franchise, it was only a matter of time before the studio got their ducks in a row. So what exactly do we know about the project? Let’s dive in.
1. The official title and release date
Many big-name franchises have eschewed numerical designations for sequels in recent years, and this film will be no exception. Pacific Rim Uprising is the official title, and the movie is set to release March 23, 2018, after originally being scheduled to release on Feb. 23, 2018.
This would put it in theaters a full five years after its predecessor, which by today’s standards is a pretty massive separation between films in a series. That said, it’s not a project that can be rushed, especially when you consider the amount of special effects and post-production work that goes into creating giant robots fighting inter-dimensional monsters.
2. Steven S. DeKnight will be directing
Guillermo del Toro won’t be returning to direct the Pacific Rim sequel, but that doesn’t mean the project isn’t in good hands. Steven S. DeKnight is signed on to helm the film, sporting a considerable resume that includes Daredevil, Spartacus, Angel, and Smallville.
Pacific Rim Uprising will represent his first try at directing a big-budget movie. Still, don’t let that underscore his talent, given that DeKnight came up in the industry alongside Joss Whedon. And while del Toro has stepped aside as director, the visionary creator will stay signed on as a producer and writer for the film.
3. John Boyega has been officially cast as the male lead
When it comes to rising stars in Hollywood, Universal couldn’t have picked a better one than John Boyega. Even with the young actor already locked in as a key character in the ongoing Star Wars saga, Boyega will still find enough time to lead a yet-to-be-revealed cast, while also signing onto the project as a producer.
Rumors suggested that he’ll take on the role of Jake Penecost, the son of Stacker Pentecost, who was played by Idris Elba in the first Pacific Rim. That role has since been confirmed as seen in Boyega’s tweet below.
Elba leaves some considerable shoes to be filled, although that could very well play into a story about a son trying to live up to the legend of his war hero father.
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) February 7, 2017
4. Cailee Spaeny has been officially cast as the female lead
Per Variety, this relatively unknown actress and pop singer will play the female lead in the upcoming sequel. No other details are known at this time.
According to IMDb, the only other films that Spaeny has appeared in is the indie horror movie Counting to 1000 and the upcoming drama The Shoes.
5. Other cast members
Scott Eastwood will reportedly play a supporting role as well. His character’s name is Nate Lambert, although details are still unknown.
IMDb also cites the following cast members and character names: Adria Arjona as Jules; Jing Tian as Liwen Shao; Rinko Kikuchi as Mako MorilCharlie Day as Dr. Newt Geiszler; and Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, among others.
6. Charlie Hunnam won’t be returning to reprise his role
It’s always unfortunate when a film’s star is unable to return for the sequel. Sadly, Charlie Hunnam won’t be back as Raleigh Beckett, blaming scheduling conflicts tied to “politics and business.” The British actor certainly hasn’t been idle in the years since the first Pacific Rim, having wrapped up his run on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, while starring in 2017’s epic, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
That being said, when del Toro was asked why Hunnam and his Pacific Rim co-star Rinko Kikuchi were not returning for the sequel, he cryptically responded by saying, “That’s not entirely true.” Hopefully that at least leaves the door open for Kikuchi to reprise her role as Mako Mori, although there’s not a whole lot of information out there to support or deny that.
7. The writing team
Here’s where things get a little hazy. Because the project was trapped in development hell for so long, the original screenplay has likely seen its fair share of different treatments and drafts over the last couple years. The result of this is that there are upwards of seven writers credited on the film.
The writers saga as we’ve been able to lay it out goes as follows: Originally, Zak Penn (X-Men 2, The Avengers) and Guillermo del Toro partnered up on the first draft of the screenplay way back in 2014. Since then, further treatments of the script have gone through (and in no particular order) Jon Spaihts (Prometheus), Emily Carmichael (The Adventures of Ledo and Ix), Kira Snyder (The 100), Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim), and Derek Connolly (Jurassic World).
All told, it’s a who’s who of talented sci-fi writers, so we can at least rest easy knowing that the story has gone through a series of trustworthy creative talents.
8. The first photo from the set
Our first real look at Uprising comes to us courtesy of John Boyega’s own Instagram, where the leading star posted a photo straight from the film itself.
In it, we can clearly see a Jaeger that appears to be none other than Gipsy Danger, now apparently under the control of two new pilots.
Stay tuned for more news as it arrives!
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