|Legendary Pictures, Pacific Rim, 2013|
According to Universal Studios in a recent statement, production on Pacific Rim 2 has been "taken off the table" indefinitely while Guillermo Del Toro goes on to direct the remake of Fantastic Voyage at 20th Century Fox. There is a sliver of hope that the film will be made, but I am betting it will be unlikely that it would ever emerge from the Kaiju graveyard.
To me, that is disappointing!
This cancellation, to me, was not a "huge" surprise. There were signs of this from way back last year. There were multiple rewrites, and filming was supposed to be scheduled for last Fall. On top of that, the fate of the film relied heavily on the performance of Guillermo Del Toro's most recent film, Crimson Peak (2015) which did relatively sub par at the box office. Universal had insisted publicly that these delays were to ensure that Guillermo Del Toro was able to achieve his perfect version for the film. Was that complete nonsense? Multiple factors could have been in play. Perhaps the joint production between Legendary and Warner Bros. for their own giant monster cinematic universe that ties together Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017), Godzilla 2 (2018), Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) and more, frightened Universal from a business standpoint. After all, Pacific Rim 2 would have been released around the time Kong: Skull Island comes out in Summer 2017 had it maintained it's original production schedule. Were they afraid that Legendary and Warner Brothers' Kong would outperform Pacific Rim 2? Or could it have been a creative decision at Legendary to avoid confusion between Pacific Rim 2 and their formulation of a shared cinematic universe between multiple other giant monster films? Who knows... What we know is that a potentially amazing film is now in the dumper.
Plot details and ideas for Pacific Rim 2 were teased by Guillermo Del Toro and Legendary Pictures themselves since the release of the first film in July 2013. Personally, the ideas they teased fans sounded amazing!
- We would have seen how Jaeger technology has been integrated into the world years after the "end" of the Kaiju War.
- We would have seen further development on Pacific Rim's charming secondary characters, Dr. Newt Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman).
- There would have been further explanation as to what the "Drift" is, more than what we were told in the first film.
- A new shift in focus to the Kaiju homeworld: the "Anteverse" and the alien overlords who create and control them.
- Gipsy Danger 2.0 - I would've loved to see a second Gipsy Danger with an updated design, yet remaining as distinctive as the original.
- A Kaiju/Jaeger Hybrid - whether it was to be man-made or built in the Anteverse from salvaged remains of (the first) Gipsy Danger and other Kaiju was never specified.
And the idea of Game of Thrones' resident badass, Maisie Williams potentially being cast as a Jaeger pilot - the most recent tease shared by Guillermo Del Toro last year.
Plus it was also confirmed a while back that Pacific Rim 2 would have set up certain events that would lead into the third/final film of a proposed trilogy. It was noted that Pacific Rim 2 would focus largely on new characters, yet bringing back some familiar faces, and then in the third film we would see things tied together and maybe have some climatic finale between humankind with Jaegers and the invasive alien colonizers and their Kaiju. It's fun to think about, but sad to think that it will never see the light of day.
Even though Pacific Rim 2's production has been canceled "indefinitely," we are still being indulged in the world of Pacific Rim through the comic book series Pacific Rim: Tales from the Drift that focuses on other Jaeger teams prior to the events of the 2013 film. The current arc focuses on the Japanese Jaeger, Tacit Ronin (check out our figure review for NECA's figure here). I haven't read any of the issues of the new series yet, but I intend to. There was also an animated series planned to help bridge the first and second film more fluidly (since the sequel would have taken place several years after the first,) but no word has surfaced whether production on that is still going on or it has been canceled altogether.
While things look pretty grim for the world of Pacific Rim, I honestly can say that I am not too worried about the future of Kaiju films since we have a lot to look forward to: Toho Studio's Godzilla Resurgence releasing this July, a potential reboot of the Gamera franchise, an adult oriented Ultraman TV series, and Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros' very own giant monster cinematic universe shared by the silver screen's biggest stars: Godzilla and King Kong! Whether you're bummed out about the status of Pacific Rim 2, there is no denying that it's still a great time to be a Kaiju fan.