What does the Pacific Rim Franchise have in store for us?

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Now that we’ve had time to collect ourselves after frenzied celebration following Guillermo del Toro’s official announcement of Pacific Rim 2, we’ve become overwhelmed with curiosity about what the sequel and Animated Series will entail. Luckily for us, the writer/director loves geeking out about his franchise as much as we do.
Guillermo del Toro seems to have a couple of different directions he wants to take the film, each one crazier than the last. In a recent interview promoting his new FX series The Strain, del Toro promised to push the story forward rather than retread the 12 years of the first Kaiju War.

“Some people were wondering if we were going to do the prequel. I was never interested in doing that first wave of invasion,” del Toro said. “I’m going for very new, very crazy ideas on the second one, which are very different from the first one — but you will get really great spectacle.”

While it is exciting to hear the franchise is moving forward, it isn’t entirely true. Moviegoers may not get to experience the full history of Pacific Rim, but the history will likely be covered in the promised continuation of the comic book series started in Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero.
It’s also unclear what the animated series will cover, as details are scarce at this time. We do have 12 years of history that is largely unexplored, and it would be fun to see the race to build the first Jaegers. It’s also possible that Legendary will be taking a page from Marvel, and use the show to further the plot and expand the world of its film franchise, a la Agents of Shield. It’s not hard to imagine a Power Rangers styled Freak-of-the-Week outing designed to sell toys. However, it seems more likely fans will get something more akin to the lauded anime series Evangelion, which offered inspiration for the summer blockbuster. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information at this time.

 

As for the film, Del Toro has enthusiastically discussed what we can expect. In an interview, found here, following the release of the 2013 film, the director discussed the return of fan favorite, Gipsy Danger. “I’ll tell you a couple of things. We will have Gipsy 2.0 for sure. Second thing is you’re gonna see a merging of Kaiju and Jaeger. And that is quite special.” Del Toro also stated

“We’ve drifted with a Kaiju brain. Well, then start riffing on that and you’ll get to something.”

If we do start riffing on this, it sounds like we’ll see a team up of human/kaiju drifting to co-piloting Jaegers, giving the massive machines minds of their own. If this is the case, then the Kaiju hive mind could have a readymade army already on earth, and simply turn our own defenses against us.
Fans will remember that the film’s climactic battle ended with the original Jaeger destroyed in the Anteverse, a parallel dimension that spawns the Kaiju. Del Toro hints that this will play into the story of Pacific Rim 2. “Just think about it for a second, we sent Gipsy to the other side, right? It exploded, but whatever remains stays there.” Could this mean that the invaders will be the ones making the Kaiju/Jaeger hybrids rather than humans?
Additionally, Charlie Day, who played tatted up scientist Newt in the first film, dropped some additional information regarding the film. See the article here.

“I remember when I first met with [Del Toro] that he liked the idea of Newt becoming a bit of a villain in the second film. But, I think over the course of making the film, and the way the character resonated with the audience, I don’t think he would want to turn him into a villain now, but I really have no idea.”

Newt, who drifted with Kaiju twice, has caught a glimpse of the creatures’ hive mind. If Pacific Rim 2 does follow this original plan, it could be that sharing his brain with the Kaiju corrupted him somehow, making him an agent of the Kaiju. Guillermo del Toro has mentioned that the sequel will revolve around this drift.

“We’re writing… and the main idea that we’re bouncing off is the fact that Newt drifted with a Kaiju brain and all Kaiju brains were connected…”

While this may hint at Newt still being the villain, it may also reference that the Kaiju have much more information on humanity, our defenses, our culture(s), and know just how close they came to defeating us.
Here’s where we can begin to speculate on the plot for the sequel. There is a lot we don’t know about the Kaiju hive mind, but we do know that after drifting with Newt, the Kaiju Otachi was able to track down Newt in a bomb shelter. This hints at something left over from the drift, and could cause them to attempt a second invasion into our world with new and improved Kaiju/Jaeger hybrids with Newt as their man on the inside.

 

However, there’s a very different and equally exciting possibility. With Jaegers that are now part monster and part machine, humanity would be able to pass through the Kaiju’s portal at will. Could Pacific Rim 2 follow mankind’s invasion of the Anteverse? This would make for a beautifully bizarre film as Jaeger pilots attempt to survive in the hostile world of the Kaiju, especially if they knew we were coming thanks to Newt.
No matter what it has in store, Pacific Rim 2 is likely to surprise us with del Toro’s talent for creating beautiful visuals, compelling characters, and exhilarating action sequences. Three years seems like too long to wait for the next film, but at least we’ll get some other great projects by del Toro in the meantime, like The Strain, premiering July 13 on FX.

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