Guillermo del Toro’s massively hyped 2013 giant-robot epic Pacific Rim underperformed at the U.S. box office, but became a cult classic stateside and racked up plenty of dough overseas, revving up plans for a sequel. Pacific Rim Uprising (which is spelled without a colon, according to the studio) hits theaters March 23, 2018, and the latest update on the film brings a new trailer packed with fresh footage.
Directed by Steven S. DeKnight (Marvel’s Daredevil series) from a script penned by DeKnight, Emily Carmichael (RPG OKC), Kira Snyder (The 100), and T.S. Nowlin (The Maze Runner), Pacific Rim Uprising is is set 10 years after the events of the original movie and follows a new generation of pilots tasked with battling massive “Kaiju” beasts from the sea using gigantic robots known as “Jaegers.” Star Wars: The Force Awakens actor John Boyega leads an international cast for the film, which will also introduce a new group of Jaegers — giant mechs piloted by humans — in humanity’s war against the monstrous Kaiju.
The enemy within?
A trailer released in January 2018 not only offered quite a bit of never-before-seen footage from Pacific Rim Uprising but also hinted at a conflict brewing between the Jaeger pilots and one of their own — another massive robot with a mysterious pilot.
The trailer also revealed a bit more of the character played by Cailee Spaeny, a young girl who’s an aspiring Jaeger pilot and — as the previews seem to indicate — has pieced together her own Jaeger that she can pilot solo.
A new teaser, straight from Tokyo
Attendees at Tokyo Comic-Con in December 2017 got the first look at some new footage from Pacific Rim Uprising that debuted in a special preview featurette created for the convention. The video was posted online by Legendary Pictures just after the conclusion of the convention, offering everyone who couldn’t make it to the panel a peek at what to expect when Uprising arrives in theaters.
Along with some new scenes from the film, the featurette also offers some of the backstory on a few characters joining the franchise in Uprising, and provides some commentary from Boyega, DeKnight, and Rinko Kikuchi, who reprises her role as Mako Mori, who co-piloted the Jaeger known as Gipsy Danger with Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) in the first film.
A trailer, a plot synopsis, and lots of giant robots
Many of the questions surrounding Pacific Rim Uprising were finally answered when the first full trailer for the film was released during New York Comic Con in October 2017.
Along with offering a thrilling look at the new Jaegers and their pilots, the trailer also provided some hints about the threats they face this time around — and it appears that giant monsters won’t be the only thing endangering the world. The trailer also featured quite a few familiar faces for fans of the original film, as well as one of the new, monstrous kaiju making its debut in the movie.
The new trailer was accompanied by an official plot synopsis for the film.
“John Boyega stars as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous Kaiju,” reads the synopsis. “Jake has since abandoned his training, only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy by his estranged sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) — who is leading a brave new generation of pilots that have grown up in the shadow of war. As they seek justice for the fallen, their only hope is to unite together in a global uprising against the forces of extinction.”
The first teaser
The first Pacific Rim was one of the darlings of Comic-Con International in San Diego before it hit theaters, so it wasn’t surprising that the first, official teaser for Pacific Rim Uprising made its debut during the 2017 edition of the annual event.
Titled “Join the Jaeger Uprising,” the teaser doesn’t contain any footage from the film and reveals very little about the story, but it does feature some of the cast members and new Jaegers that will be introduced in Uprising. Among the most notable of the new bots is Gipsy Avenger, an updated version of the Gipsy Danger robot that played a key role in the 2013 film.
A legacy character
The cast of characters in Uprising is intended to be the next generation of Jaeger pilots in more than just a figurative sense.
Early reports indicated that Boyega would play the son of (spoiler alert) deceased Jaeger program leader Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) in the film, and although precious little has been confirmed about the film or the roles its cast members will play at this point, Boyega later appeared to confirm this particular rumor in a February 2017 post on Twitter.
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) February 7, 2017
Subsequent reports indicate that his character’s full name will be “Jake Pentecost” in the movie. How he ends up piloting another Jaeger ten years after his father’s death remains to be discovered, though, and there’s a possibility that he might not be the only legacy member of the Jaeger pilots.
Out with the old class, in with the new
The events of Uprising are set just ten years after the “Battle of the Breach” chronicled in the original film, but surprisingly few characters from that movie appear to be returning for the sequel.
Among the only confirmed returning cast members so far are Kikuchi as Mako, Burn Gorman as the scientist Hermann Gottlieb, and Charlie Day as Newt Geiszler, the eccentric scientist who discovered a way to tap into the Kaiju’s hive mind. Hunnam confirmed that he’ll be unable to reprise his role.
The absence of many returning characters opened the door for a large cast of newcomers, though, and the studio appears to have cast a wide, international net for the next generation of Jaeger pilots.
Joining Boyega (pictured) and the rest of the franchise veterans will be Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious), Jing Tian (The Great Wall), Wesley Wong (Buxiude Shiguang), Cailee Spaeny (Counting to 1000), Lily Ji (Transformers: Age of Extinction), Karan Brar (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Lan Yingying (Empresses in the Palace), Qian Yongchen (The War of Beauties), and Zhang Jin (Ip Man 3). Most of the cast members’ roles are unknown at this point, but several of the actors are featured in the first teaser for the film.
Where the story picks up
Details regarding the plot of Pacific Rim Uprising have been a closely guarded secret, but a website created for the film and launched during San Diego Comic-Con in July 2017 offers up some hints about what to expect from the film.
As confirmed on the website GoJaeger.com Uprising is indeed set 10 years after “The Battle of the Breach.”
“Vindicated by the victory at the Breach, the Jaeger program has evolved into the most powerful global defense force in human history,” reads the synopsis for the film. “The PPDC now calls upon the best and brightest to rise up and become the next generation of heroes. When the Kaiju threat returns, we will be ready.”
The first photos from the set of Pacific Rim Uprising began finding their way online in November 2016, just after cameras began rolling.
Boyega himself posted the first photo, offering fans a glimpse of the script for the movie on the first day of filming. (At the time, the film’s working title was “Pacific Rim: Maelstrom.”)
This was followed by a series of unofficial photos from the Australia set of the film featuring Boyega in costume, looking disheveled as he navigates a ramshackle tent village.
— John Boyega France (@JohnBoyegaFR) November 21, 2016
— John Boyega France (@JohnBoyegaFR) November 21, 2016
Titles, and delays, and release dates, oh my
The original film’s lackluster performance at home made the sequel’s journey to the screen a troubled one, to put it mildly.
It initially seemed as if a sequel was a foregone conclusion, with Guillermo del Toro indicating at various points throughout 2014 that he was not only working on the film’s script but also expected the movie to hit theaters in 2017. Those plans got sidetracked in 2015, however, when Universal Pictures took the Pacific Rim sequel off its production calendar and delayed it indefinitely.
Things picked back up again in early 2016 when it was announced that Del Toro had bequeathed the director’s chair on the Pacific Rim to Steven S. DeKnight, the showrunner on Marvel’s Daredevil series. With Del Toro sliding into a producer role on the film, the sequel — which was still untitled at that point — was poised to be DeKnight’s feature directorial debut.
Del Toro expressed his satisfaction with the choice of director on Twitter.
Met w DeKnight and we are all so happy with our choice to take Pac Rim 2to where we know it can go!!
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) February 24, 2016
Development moved along quickly from that point, with the film assigned a February 2018 release date a short time later, and the cast filling out at a rapid (by Hollywood standards, at least) pace.
The sequel’s working title of Pacific Rim: Maelstrom was revealed in November 2016, only to be changed a month later to Pacific Rim Uprising. The release date was also pushed back an additional month to March 23, 2018.
With its official title confirmed and a release date in place, cameras began rolling in March 2017.
Update: We added a new trailer for the film.
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