Pacific Rim: Uprising, the sequel to Guillermo del Toro‘s 2013 kaiju movie, has had a a rough road to production. For a brief time the project was shelved entirely until suddenly pre-production had begun with del Toro serving as producer, not director. Uprising stars Star Wars: the Force Awakens‘ favorite Stormtrooper John Boyega as the son of Idris Elba’s character Striker Pentecost. Bogeya leads the cast alongside Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, Snowden).
While there has been little information forthcoming about plot or character details in Pacific Rim: Uprising, photos emerged today of Boyega’s character suited up and jumping into action. Since it is known that he will be playing a Jaegar pilot it can safely be assumed that this is the new Jaeger gear.
These photos raise the question of the length of time that will have passed between Pacific Rim and Pacific Rim: Uprising because the gear worn is quite different than audiences saw Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) who will not be returning, and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), wearing when they co-piloted Gypsy Danger. The blue highlights are certain to be enhanced by visual effects, which may lead to even more of a different look in the final product.
Pacific Rim: Uprising is shooting in Australia under director Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil), who came onto the project after del Toro stepped aside. It will be interesting to see if the designs of the Jaegers seen in the film will look as different under DeKnight as their pilots do. This will be his debut as a feature film director, and with his strong genre pedigree (the aforementioned Daredevil, along with Spartacus, Smallville, Dollhouse), he is sure to make a unique impression on a fan-favorite property.
It is very exciting to finally get a look inside Pacific Rim: Uprising. These pictures give the impression that Boyega’s character will be the focal character of the movie with actors like Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, and Nick E. Tarabay likely to play supporting characters. They would also seem to indicate that the Kaiju-attacked world audiences will be entering the next time around could expand the rich world created by Guillermo del Toro. Fans of the franchise will know that the original Jaeger interiors were heavily CGI and the sequel appears to be shooting this part in much the same way.
Although, the only thing these photos really show is Boyega running around a giant parking lot in a suit with some blue screens… and a bit more hair than seen previously in The Force Awakens. Concern has also been voiced about the Pacific Rim franchise plucking a relatively green actor out of the Star Wars franchise for the sake of getting a few more eyes on the silver screen. It could be seen as stunt casting to revive a franchise that was dying before it rushed production to Australia. Regardless, Boyega’s performance should not be criticized until the movie hits theaters next year.