Pacific Rim Uprising has a new cast and director, but the initial vision Guillermo del Toro dreamt up three years ago is still very much intact.
Steven S. DeKnight understands the immense pressure that accompanies trying to step into del Toro’s shoes and carry that vision forward. Pacific Rim takes place 10 years after the original movie. The world has changed since the Kaiju attack and a new generation of Jaeger pilots have begun to train in effort to stop the next inevitable monstrous attack. Although it’s 10 years in the future, characters from the original film like Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) will be heavily referenced — and the pilot program he helped run.
DeKnight told Polygon at New York Comic Con that he tried to be in contact with del Toro as much as possible both before and during shoots as a way to ensure integrity was kept.
“Following in Guillermo’s footsteps was daunting,” DeKnight said. “I’ve been a huge fan of his since his first movie Cronos, followed his career and seen everything he’s done. Before he got busy on The Shape of Water we had many conversations and he was fantastic. From the very start he said, ‘Look, I’ll be there whenever you need me, but I’m going to stay out of your hair. I want you to make it yours.’”
It’s a sentiment that producer and leading actor John Boyega spoke about during the panel for Pacific Rim Uprising. Boyega said that the intention heading into Pacific Rim Uprising, from the earliest discussions to post-production, was building upon the world that del Toro introduced in 2014.
“I can tell you that the vision of this movie was not to rewrite what del Toro did but to build upon it and expand upon it,” Boyega said. “I think going in, I had the same creative passion as Steve and Guillermo. What i wanted to see after Pacific Rim, where I wanted to see the movie go, We’ve been able to implement that into the movie.”
Although del Toro faced his own problems trying to get Pacific Rim’s sequel made, DeKnight was adamant that they wanted to continue building the franchise del Toro always imagined. They couldn’t do it with del Toro, unfortunately, but DeKnight thinks there’s a chance to bring more of del Toro’s style into future installments.
“This is hopefully the first step in a bigger Pacific Rim franchise,” DeKnight said. “We wanted to explore the universe and look at the first movie and expound on it. There are references to the first movie and what happened in the first movie. As people try to understand why the Kaiju attacked. We wanted to honor the first movie while still pushing it forward.”
Pacific Rim Uprising will be released on March 23, 2018.