Some movies are runaway hits, others are box office flops, and then there are those that fall somewhere in the middle. Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 monsters-vs-mechs sci-fi action adventure Pacific Rim fell into the latter category, and for a long time it was unclear if the (expensive) film’s $411 million worldwide box office gross was enough to warrant a sequel.

Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull said earlier this year that he considers Pacific Rim a financial success, especially considering the fact that it was an original IP. There were further good omens this summer when del Toro revealed that he was working with Zak Penn on writing a sequel, and now Universal has officially announced that Pacific Rim 2 will arrive in 3D and IMAX theaters on April 7th, 2017.

This will come as very welcome news for those who enjoyed watching the battle for the domination of Earth between the invading Kaiju and the man-made Jaegers in Pacific Rim, and are intrigued to see what else could be done within the universe. In a video announcement of the news, del Toro also revealed that an animated series based on Pacific Rim is now in development, and that the comic book series that started with Travis Beacham’s Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero will be continued.

There might be a long wait until we get to see the next major movie in the Pacific Rim franchise, but this announcement means that Legendary and Universal are convinced enough by its potential to turn Pacific Rim into a franchise rather than just a standalone release. Putting three separate projects based in the Pacific Rim universe into development simultaneously is a pretty major commitment.

There have been a few hints and teases regarding what Pacific Rim 2 might be about, such as Charlie Day’s comments that del Toro was interested in turning his character, Newt, into a villain for the sequel. In a new statement made to Buzzfeed, del Toro confirmed that Jaeger pilots Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) and Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) will definitely return, along with a few other favorites:

“The characters I love will return. Raleigh, Mako, Newt, Gottlieb and who knows, maybe even Hannibal Chau – but we are taking them into a fresh territory that will display amazing sights and battles. The first film set the stage and now we’re ready to have a blast.”

The co-writer and director didn’t give away any extra details about the plot of Pacific Rim 2 in his video announcement (though that looks like Crimson Peak material in the background) but he did sound very pleased by the deal, saying, “We’re all very happy to be bringing you more Kaijus and more Jaegers kicking each other’s butt.”

Pacific Rim 2 is set for release on April 7th, 2017.

Source: Universal Pictures, Buzzfeed