Fans of Pacific Rim now have a damn good reason to look forward to a sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s kaiju kerfuffle. That reason is none other than John Boyega, the massive talent who you’ll know as Finn from the new Star Wars films. Earlier this week, Deadline broke the news that Boyega had been cast in the lead role in Pacific Rim 2. He’ll be playing the son of Idris Elba’s character from the first film.
For this sequel, directing duties fall upon Steven S. DeKnight, the creator of Spartacus and the season one showrunner of Netflix’s Daredevil. The film’s screenplay has passed through the hands of Guillermo del Toro, Zak Penn, Jon Spaihts (Prometheus), and now Derek Connolly (Jurassic World).
With Pacific Rim 2 now marching ahead to production, here are a few things we’d love to see in this monster melee.
All right, so Stacker Pentecost had a kid of his own. Fine, I’ll buy it. But what I’d love to know is where the heck this kid was during the events of the first one. Naturally, that’s going to depend on how much time has passed between the two films. Maybe Boyega’s character was just a kid, kept away from the danger of the Jaegers and the Shatterdome. But if this film picks up where the first left off, it’ll be odd to bring in Boyega’s character without one whopper of a reason why he was absent during the first film, and why neither Stacker nor Mako Mori ever talked about him. Which brings me to…
Tension Between Pentecost Jr. and Mako
With Stacker so clearly playing the role of surrogate father for Mako, things could be a bit weird between Mako and the new Mr. Pentecost. That sense of sibling rivalry would be an interesting conflict to explore, especially if Boyega’s character wants to be a hotshot Jaeger pilot like Mako. Keep in mind — all of this is assuming Mako will be in the film. We haven’t yet learned if she’ll show up or not, but it’d be a shame to have a Pacific Rim without her!
Unconventional Jaegers and Pilots
Pacific Rim was a showcase of brilliant and varied designs for mechs and monsters, but the Jaegers were nowhere near as exciting and memorable as their Kaiju foes. The Jaegers, on some level, have to be human-shaped because they represent humanity. It’s a key part of the mecha anime aesthetic that works so well in the first film. But my favorite Jaegers are the ones whose silhouettes were a bit more extreme, like the squat Cherno Alpha or the three-armed Crimson Typhoon. We want more Jaegers like them, and more great pilots to go along with them. Cherno Alpha’s pilots were some of Pacific Rim’s most memorable. Though they can’t return for a sequel, we want to see more pilots like them.
I know, I know. It kind of goes without saying that Pacific Rim 2 is going to need awesome new kaiju. But I challenge the filmmakers and designers of this sequel to explore different body types, movement patterns, and silhouettes in this film. I’d love to see a kaiju with no jointed limbs, or heck, no bones at all — like an octopus or squid. Maybe a biomechanoid fish kaiju inspired by Gyo, which is one of Guillermo del Toro’s favorite horror manga. Perhaps we could see the body of a kaiju turned into a Jaeger. That’d be a lot of fun.
A New Twist on the Premise
In the first film, we learned that the kaiju were organic weapons created and controlled by a race of colonizing aliens with the goal of destroying humanity. The sequel shouldn’t repeat the same premise. Of course, there needs to be a reason for new kaiju to show up and get rocket-punched in their faces, but repeating the same premise (aliens open a new Breach and send in more kaiju) wouldn’t be a smart way to keep this franchise going. The most fertile ground for new conflict comes with the state of the world after the kaiju have been absent. What happened to the black market created by Hannibal Chau and those like him? What happened to the kaiju cultists who developed a religion around them? What if someone like Hannibal Chau found a way to make kaiju of their own, out of necessity?
Whatever happens in Pacific Rim 2, at least we know John Boyega will be fighting alien monsters. That’s something he did pretty well in Attack the Block, and I’m eager to see him do it again. Pacific Rim 2 starts filming this fall.