It has been nearly four years since Guillermo del Toro’s amazing “Pacific Rim” movie, and now it looks like we’ll finally get the sequel that we deserve in just a few months. After a number of setbacks and cancellations, “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is finally coming to movie cinemas everywhere in March 2018. The movie has a new director (Steven S. DeKnight will replace del Toro), a new title (the movie was originally titled “Pacific Rim: Maelstrom”) and a new release date (it was originally scheduled for August 2017). Here’s what we know so far about “Pacific Rim: Uprising.”
The first “Pacific Rim” movie featured Charlie Hunnam as the Jaeger pilot leading the resistance against the Kaiju. This movie, though, will feature John Boyega in the lead role. He will play Jake Pentecost, the son of Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost from the first movie. There will be a huge twist here with character of Jake Pentecost. Remember, in the first “Pacific Rim,” Stacker Pentecost was a morally upright and inspirational character. Well, it turns out that his son will be anything but morally upright. John Boyega, in fact, has said that his character will be an “absolute crook” at the beginning of the film. This will introduce a bit more complexity and texture to the film, and keep from seeming too much like the original.
The action will take place a few years after humanity has defeated the Kaiju, and Boyega’s character has decided to make a lot of money by stealing and selling Jaeger parts to the highest bidder. That leads to the creation of a lot of rogue Jaegers, and so Jake Pentecost must eventually find a way to atone for his actions – and that just happens to involve saving planet Earth!
For fans worried that the loss of Guillermo del Toro as director for the second “Pacific Rim” would be too monumental to overcome, relax: the big cinema blogs are reporting that del Toro is still taking a role in this movie. He’s reviewing visual concepts for the film and he’s also taking a first look at drafts of the script. He has also given a big thumbs up for John Boyega.
The director of the film will be Steven S. DeKnight, who will be making his feature film debut. (Which might be why the production studios are so relieved at having Guillermo del Toro around!) DeKnight is best known as the first season showrunner for Netflix’s “Daredevil.” He also has writing, producing and directing credits for “Smallville,” “Angel,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” So if you’re
wondering what the look and feel of the second “Pacific Rim” film is going to be, you might want to stream a few episodes of “Daredevil” on Netflix.
As noted earlier, the action of this sequel will take place a few years after humanity has fought off the threat of an apocalypse from the Kaiju. In that time period, there has been time to update the look and feel of the Jaegers, making them even more powerful. The advance buzz is that the action sequences involving these Jaegers – especially the climactic final battle to the death to save planet Earth – will be off-the-charts amazing.
The film will focus on a new generation of Jaeger pilots led by John Boyega (as Jake Pentecost). There will be a few hotshot pilots, too. One thing that might stir up the pot, too, is the presence of so many rogue Jaegers. It’s not clear right now if they will be used in the battle against the Kaiju or not.
One big concern from fans of the original “Pacific Rim” movie is that the sequel had the potential to be seen by non-fans as just another “Transformers” movie. This might account for some of the setbacks and cancellations from 2013 to 2017: the movie has been struggling to find its own distinct voice that will resonate with fans. That might be why the production studios eventually settled on the choice of DeKnight to helm this project – they are more interested in making this more of a “superhero movie” than a movie about “monsters vs. machines.”
That might also explain why they are making the character of Jake Pentecost so “dark” at the outset. If you think about most superhero movies these days, the trend is to create dark, complicated characters with fully fleshed-out back stories that audiences can identify with. Also, in the notes for the film, there is the potential for John Boyega to repair his relationship with his “estranged sister.” So, again, this is an effort to perhaps make John Boyega much more of a believable superhero character and the face of this film franchise.
Already, we know many of the cast members who will appear in “Pacific Rim: Uprising.” Among those already named to the movie are Scott Eastwood (who will play Lambert) and Charlie Day (who will return as Dr. Newton Geiszler). Other big names in the cast include Burn Gorman, Cailee Spaeny, and Rinko Kikuchi. The combination of all these talented actors and actresses should more than make up for the departure of Charlie Hunnam from the cast.
One question at the outset of filming was whether the second “Pacific Rim” film would be a sequel or a reboot. After all, it was getting a new director and a new lead actor. But now it’s all clear: this will be a sequel with very real ties to the original. For example, the new lead character (John Boyega) will be the son of the character played by Idris Elba in the original (Stacker Pentecost). And the action will take place a few years after that of the original movie.
What this all means is that March 2018 could be a very exciting time for anyone who has been waiting close to five years for the second “Pacific Rim” movie. Judging from the trailer that has been released, this is going to be an epic movie telling the story of humanity’s battle against an impending apocalypse. There will be plenty of action, plenty of great CGI effects, and best of all, a whole new cast of Jaeger pilots that we can root for.