Development hell is never kind to any film that ends up on its shelves, and the makers of Pacific Rim know this more than most. Exploding onto the scene in 2013, with a stellar cast and an original, eye-popping premise, the Kaiju vs. Jaeger blockbuster pulled in $411 million on a $190 million budget. A sequel was immediately predicted — and then it stalled, falling into the glittering void. Following some conflict between Legendary and Universal Pictures, Pacific Rim 2 was halted indefinitely, and after a subsequent removal from Universal’s release calender during September of 2015 — usually the dreaded death knell for a film of any magnitude — many feared the worst.
In February of this year, momentum gathered for the sequel again, and development was back on. In June, Deadline confirmed that Stars Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega would take the lead role in Pacific Rim 2. With the casting well underway, and development hell firmly behind them, the filmmakers have dropped some big news this weekend; they confirmed that Pacific Rim 2 will now be released in 2018, and have given the movie an official release date. Oh, and they’ve also cast a Suicide Squad actor in a key role.
The official release date was confirmed by The Wrap, who revealed that the movie will stomp into theaters on February 23, 2018, which will be great news for fans, and those who were worried they would never see a second movie. However, this wasn’t the only big revelation; Deadline also confirmed that Suicide Squad actor Scott Eastwood — the son of Clint Eastwood — will star in the movie. The young actor is fast becoming a household name, with roles confirmed in the Oliver Stone movie Snowden, and blockbuster sequel Fast 8, and although his character in Suicide Squad is yet to be revealed by name, sources have confirmed that his role in Pacific Rim 2 will be very significant.
John Boyega is currently making waves in Hollywood, and in Pacific Rim 2, he will star as the son of Stacker Pentecost, the charismatic leader played by Idris Elba in the original movie. Elba starred alongside Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) in Pacific Rim, but neither actor has been confirmed for — or hinted at — a return. Eastwood’s role has been described as key, but no details have been given as of yet. The good money is on him playing a fellow Jaeger pilot, which is a pivotal element of the plot. With development currently in progress, more details will surely follow in the coming months.
As for a director, Guillermo Del Toro will not be returning to the helm for the sequel, but the director’s seat has been handed to Steven S. DeKnight, who will be making his directorial debut. Some may see this as a risky prospect for such a big money blockbuster, but DeKnight is coming fresh off an executive producing role with Daredevil. He will also be directing from a script penned by Del Toro, who remains as producer, which seems like a very unique combination. They haven’t ruled out a Pacific Rim 3 yet either, if the whispers are anything to go by, so watch this space. I think they’ll want to get Pacific Rim 2 on film before counting their chickens — or robots as the case may be.
With such great developments, the fans will be glad that Pacific Rim 2 didn’t slip into eternal development hell. Many suspected the worse after the initial halt of production, but some never had any doubt that the film would rise from the dark void. When speaking to Empire, Guillermo Del Toro was always positive about the sequel all those months ago, and has always insisted it would see the light of day again.
“We are still turning in a screenplay and a budget in three weeks. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not gone. We’re still on it.”
And now? Pacific Rim 2 has a release date, a slight if very promising young cast, a budget in place, and hushed, hopeful whispers of a third movie. Considering Pacific Rim 2 was on hold in September of last year, and not even on the release slate for the studio that was developing it, the film has definitely come on in leaps and bounds. Let’s hope the momentum continues.
Directed by Steven S. DeKnight and starring John Boyega and Scott Eastwood, Pacific Rim 2 arrives in theaters on February 23, 2018.
[Image via Warner Bros. Pictures]