Pacific Rim 2 is finally moving in the right direction, casting Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega as the lead of the new film. After several setbacks, including an indefinite release delay, the Guillermo del Toro film brought screenwriter Derek Connolly on to pen the much-anticipated sequel, but very little information about who would lead the cast was given. That changed today with the big announcement about Boyega.
— Pacific Rim 2 (@PacificRimMovie) June 6, 2016
As we reported in January, part of the reason for the initial delay for Pacific Rim 2 was the huge special effects task that the film involved, with del Toro himself admitting that the movie was extremely ambitious. The Hollywood Reporter, however, reported last September that there was a behind the scenes war going on between Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures, with several projects — including Pacific Rim 2 — being caught in the middle.
According to Entertainment Weekly,Legendary Films described Boyega’s role as the “lead role,” so the future of Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam is still unclear. Boyega revealed on Instagram that he would be pulling double duty on the film, acting as a co-producer through his company UpperRoom Productions.
The original Pacific Rim earned more than $411 million worldwide, but the bulk of that money came from Chinese viewers. The movie came with a price tag of $190 million, so it was still profitable, but it didn’t quite connect with U.S. moviegoers like del Torro would have liked. He has acknowledged that Pacific Rim 2 will need to be quite different if it will have any chance of catching on domestically.
Boyega’s character will be the son of Idris Elba’s character, Stacker Pentecost, from the first Pacific Rim. Since Elba’s character did not survive the first movie, it is unlikely that he will appear in Pacific Rim 2, but you never know with movies. No other information about Boyega’s character or the movie have been released but del Toro had this to say about Boyega joining the cast:
“I am very proud and happy to welcome John into a fantastic sandbox. ThePacific Rim universe will be reinforced with him as a leading man as it continues to be a multicultural, multi-layered world. ‘The World saving the world’ was our goal and I couldn’t think of a better man for the job.”
According to the official Pacific Rim 2 press release, Boyega has a number of upcoming projects including, of course, Star Wars: VIII, The Circle starring alongside Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, and Imperial Dreams, Watership Down alongside James McAvoy and Sir Ben Kingsley. Boyega will also be making his stage debut next year appearing in Woyzeck.
There is no doubt that Boyega’s star is on the rise after the acclaim he and fellow Star Wars: The Force Awakens newcomer Daisy Ridley received. But Boyega is also giving back and honoring his roots. Theatre Peckham, the theater Boyega worked at from the age of nine to 14, revealed that the movie star had become a patron of the place where he got his start in order to give back to the community. The Theatre is located in South London, and it offers classes from the age of three on up in voice, drama and dance.
According to What’s On Stage, Boyega has launched a name the seat campaign to help raise funds for the theatre’s new location. The Pacific Rim 2 star said that he was honored to be able to give back to the company that he graduated from:
“…I admire Theatre Peckham’s continued mission to increase diversity in the creative industries, inspiring young people like myself to be the change we want to see in this industry.”
While Pacific Rim 2 was originally slated to hit theaters in April 2017, as of right now it doesn’t appear to have a set release date. Production has not begun yet, so it will likely be late 2017 or sometime in 2018 before fans get to see it.
[Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images]