Now that Pacific Rim 2 has wrapped production, with John Boyega sharing a final photo from the set last week, fans are starting the countdown to the first trailer for this action-packed sequel. This follow-up will be quite different from the original in a few different ways, one of which being that original Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam won’t be back as Jaeger pilot Raleigh Beckett. But the biggest difference that may upset most fans is that Guillermo del Toro is not coming back to direct, although he is still on board as a producer. While promoting his new Netflix series Trollhunters, Guillermo del Toro revealed exactly why he stepped aside as the director of Pacific Rim: Uprising.
We first reported on this Pacific Rim sequel back in December 2012, just months after the original Pacific Rim opened in theaters, with original writer Travis Beacham coming back to write the script. Guillermo del Toro would later come aboard to co-write the script in 2014, with a 2017 release date being set and a fall 2015 shoot being planned. Then in the fall of 2015, rumors spread that the Pacific Rim sequel was being canceled altogether, but the sequel was brought back to life, after Legendary was acquired by the Chinese-based Wanda Group. The original Pacific Rim earned more in China than in any other market, including the U.S., but while this acquisition lead to the sequel finally happening, it also lead to a big delay that had Guillermo del Toro leaving the director’s chair. Here’s what the filmmaker had to say in an interview with Collider about why he dropped out of directing Pacific Rim 2.
“The timing started to suck. I had this little movie that I wanted to do, The Shape of Water, very, very much. At one point it was Justice League Dark or Pacific Rim, I said, ‘Let’s go to Pacific Rim.’ The reality is they said, ‘We’re gonna need to postpone,’ because they were changing hands. Legendary was going to be sold to China, to a Chinese company [called the Wanda Group]. They said, ‘We’ve gotta wait nine months’ and I said, ‘I’m not waiting nine months, I’m shooting a movie,’ and I went and shot The Shape of Water and we chose Steven DeKnight.”
Steven S. DeKnight was announced as the new director back in February 2016, with Jurassic World writer Derek Connolly coming aboard to work on the script, although he currently isn’t credited as a writer on the project. While this could very well change as we get closer to the February 23, 2018 release date, Guillermo del Toro currently has a story credit on the sequel, with Steven S. DeKnight, Emily Carmichael (The Adventures of Ledo and Ix), T.S. Nowlin (The Maze Runner trilogy) and Kira Snyder (The 100). When asked about how much of his script is still in the movie, Guillermo del Toro had this to say, while adding that the movie is “doing great.”
“It’s going great. I see dailies every day, I see early cuts, I see teasers. They’re doing great. It lets him have his style, lets him have his notion of the characters. I wrote a screenplay, developed two or three drafts of that screenplay, this is different than what I developed, and I’m OK. A producer is in the corner, the director is in the ring. The producer’s not getting the punches, the director is, so shut up, wait in the corner, refresh the towel and wait for the director to come to you.”
After Steven S. DeKnight was chosen as the director, the cast started coming into place, with John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Levi Meaden, Tian Jing and Kevin Kago coming aboard to star. While no original Pacific Rim cast members have been confirmed, a set photo teased that original Pacific Rim stars Rinko Kikuchi (Mako Mori), Charlie Day (Newton Geisler) and Burn Gorman (Gottlieb) were returning, alongside a previously-unannounced new cast member Karl Urban. While those cast members still haven’t been confirmed yet, Guillermo del Toro spoke about why Steven S. DeKnight was the perfect choice for the sequel.
“It was such a great choice. I mean I love [DeKnight], love what he does, I think he’s really brilliant. He’s making it his own. I’m not breathing over his shoulder saying, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ He’s doing things differently and I like that. When I produce I try to produce the way I would like to be produced. I say to everyone I produce, ‘If you need me I will be there 100% all the time. If you don’t need me, I’m not there. You show me the cut then we’ll start interacting.”
Legendary has issued a February 23, 2018 release date for Pacific Rim: Uprising, which was once believed to be titled Pacific Rim: Maelstrom. Pacific Rim: Uprising doesn’t have any direct competition on February 23, 2018, but it will come between Marvel’s superhero adventure Black Panther on February 16 and Warner Bros.’ shark thriller Meg on March 2. The original Pacific Rim movie only earned $101 million at the domestic box office, but it earned $411 million worldwide, with $111.9 million coming from China alone, the largest gross from any country during its theatrical release. Now that production has wrapped, hopefully we’ll get to see the first trailer sooner rather than later.