One of the more intriguing sequels that is moving into production in the near future is Pacific Rim: Maelstrom. The biggest reason for the sequel moving forward is the impressive financial haul that Pacific Rim did overseas. After taking in just over $100 million domestically, the foreign markets accounted for three times as much. Even after a successful first film, changes are being made across the board for the sequel. Guillermo Del Toro is not returning as the director, with Daredevil season 1 showrunner Steven S. DeKnight taking over control of the Jaegers. Inside of the giant robots will presumably be two new leads, John Boyega and Scott Eastwood.
Recently, Cailee Spaeny was cast as the female lead, while Jing Tian has also recently joined the project. With pre-production moving along ahead of the November start, a new cadet has just been added to the team as well.
Variety is reporting that Levi Meaden will be joining the cast of Maelstrom, playing a character named Ilya who is said to be “an irreverent and offbeat cadet.” Meaden is a relative newcomer to Hollywood, and has mainly made appearances on TV shows such as Legends of Tomorrow, iZombie, The 100, and Aftermath for which he is best known for.
One thing that has become clear during the stages of casting is the young cast that they are assembling. With that youth also comes some level of inexperience. Both Boyega and Eastwood will certainly be the selling points for the film after roles in Star Wars: Episode VII and Suicide Squad respectively. The other three new additions of Spaeny, Tian, and now Meaden, will be jumping right into a big blockbuster.
Tian is the more established actor of the three newcomers, but her role is the one being kept the most secretive. This will also be DeKnight’s first feature film, so Legendary has plenty of question marks on the sequel. This is not to say that the movie will not be as good as the first, especially since it had a mixed reception, but it does not have established names in the industry attached at this point. Boyega is easily the biggest name attached, but the first had names like Del Toro, Idris Elba, and to a lesser extent Charlie Hunnam – who will not be returning.
This could turn out to be a good thing for the film if expectations are lower, so that the sequel could shine brighter than the first. It is all but certain that the Jaegers, and whatever they fight, will look good doing so and provide great moments of entertainment, but the younger cast could allow for the actors to grow into these roles and give audiences a reason to care about them in this film and potentially moving forward.
Pacific Rim: Maelstrom beings production in Australia in November 2016, and the film hits theaters February 23, 2018.