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'Pacific Rim 2' gets an official release date and possibly a new cast member

After languishing in development limbo for quite a while, the Pacific Rim sequel appears to chugging along again, with Universal Pictures announcing an official release date for the still-untitled film, and a subsequent, unofficial report indicating that the movie might also have a new cast member.

According to the studio, the Pacific Rim sequel will arrive in theaters February 23, 2018, with production expected to start later this year.

Related: Things are heating up on the Pacific Rim: John Boyega joins sci-fi sequel

Just after the studio announced the release date for the film, The Hollywood Reporter also indicated that The Longest Ride actor Scott Eastwood might join the previously announced John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) in the film. Although Eastwood’s casting remains unconfirmed at this point, it certainly seems like the project suddenly has quite a bit of momentum behind it.

Set to be directed by Daredevil and Spartacus showrunner Steven S. DeKnight, the Pacific Rim sequel features Boyega as the son of Stacker Pentecost, the character played by Idris Elba in the first movie. The script for the film was penned by Jurassic World co-writer Derek Connolly.

There’s no word on the character that Eastwood could play in the film, but the actor is certainly having a good run in big-budget genre films right now. He was recently announced as one of the new cast members joining F. Gary Gray’s upcoming Fast & Furious franchise sequel, Fast 8, and he has a featured role in this year’s DC Comics supervillain team-up movie, Suicide Squad.

The release date for the Pacific Rim sequel currently puts it in theaters just one week after Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, so that could be a cause for concern and might result in a schedule change down the road — but the fact that it has a release date at this point should be considered a win for fans of the first film.