Pacific Rim: Maelstrom, the on-again off-again sequel to Pacific Rim, appears to finally be standing on solid ground. Steven DeKnight (Spartacus, Daredevil), who earlier this year replaced Guillermo del Toro as director, looks to have things in hand. Del Toro’s influence, however, can still be seen throughout the film as he’s credited for the screenplay and will be producing along with a host of partners. But del Toro is very coy about a potential return for the characters who saved the world in the first film.

Fans know that Charlie Hunam will not be reprising his role of Raleigh Becket, the return of Ron Pearlman as Hannibal Chau has been rumored, and there’s no word what-so-ever on whether or not Rinko Kikuchi will be back as Mako Mori. The only real hint of film synopsis we have received is that John Boyega will be playing Stacker Pentacost’s (Idris Elba) son, and Pentacost’s former partner Herc Hansen (Max Martini) will be back. The state of the world after the breach was closed is unknown, and we do not know how long after the events of the first film this one takes place. Presumably, the Jagers (and their pilots) are going to be bigger and better to combat those category five (or higher) Kaiju. Joining John Boyega will be Scott Eastwood and Cailee Spaeny.

In another tidbit of casting news, Legendary has announced that Chinese superstar Jing Tian has been added to the film. Tian has been seen in major Chinese hits like New Police Story opposite Jackie Chan and in Special ID opposite Donnie Yen. She will be making her presence known to American audiences in upcoming films The Great Wall and Kong: Skull Island. Legendary did not specify which role she will play in Pacific Rim: Maelstrom — the company and director have been pretty mum about plot details and cast members. When asked who else from the first film would be returning, DeKnight used his Twitter account to simply reply, “I can say nothing.”

Jaeger and boat Pacific Rim Pacific Rim 2 Adds The Great Wall Actress Jing Tian

China’s influence can be heavily felt in Legendary’s slate since the it was bought out by Chinese company Wanda Group. After the announcement of David Goyer and the Russo Brothers signing lucrative deals with Chinese studios, Hollywood is on the cusp of becoming a truly global marketplace. Chinese companies that once just invested in Hollywood features are upping the ante by bringing on big name actors and behind the scenes talent.

Legendary appears to be taking a page out of the DC book by releasing their film so far ahead of summer blockbuster season. While the first film may have inspired an alternative to the Bechdel Test (aptly titled the Mako Mori Test), it was not so well received by critics. Thanks to a major boost from the overseas markets, Pacific Rim raked in over $411M. Now audiences all over the world will get the chance to head back into the drift.

Pacific Rim: Maelstrom beings production in Australia in November 2016, and the film hits theaters February 23, 2018.

Source: Legendary Pictures

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