Director Steven S. DeKnight is hoping Pacific Rim Uprising is just the first step towards a larger franchise. Backed by Warner Bros., visionary director Guillermo del Toro launched the Pacific Rim property on the big screen in 2013. The giant robots vs. monsters film wasn’t a huge hit at the domestic box office, but international audiences gave Pacific Rim a massive boost commercially and inspired WB to (eventually) green-light a sequel… but without del Toro directing.

Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight took over the reins on the Pacific Rim sequel (with del Toro still serving as a producer), while the lead role was passed from Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost to Star Wars: The Force Awakens John Boyega. The latter is leading an ensemble cast of younger stars in Uprising, and already there is hope that this will mark but the beginning of their adventures together.

Related: Pacific Rim Uprising Synopsis Teases Global Threat

Screen Rant was present for Pacific Rim Uprising‘s New York Comic Con panel – and during the Q&A portion of the panel, a fan asked how this new team went about making Uprising original while still staying faithful to what came before it. Much of the expansion of this world was made with the hope that this is only the first of many more Pacific Rim films to come, according to DeKnight:

Pacific Rim Uprising John Boyega Pacific Rim Uprising Is The First Step Towards a Bigger Franchise

Guillermo [del Toro] set the table and it was a fantastic visual feast. We wanted to make sure we honored what he had created, and also expand the universe. This is hopefully the first step in a bigger Pacific Rim franchise. We really wanted to explore the universe and look at the first movie and expound on it. We actually, there are references to the first movie and what happened in the first movie, and as our people try to understand why the Kaiju attacked, why the aliens sent the Kaiju. So we really wanted to honor the first movie while pushing things forward and going ten years in the future gave us that kind of room to do that.

Based on the look of the first trailer, Uprising is definitely implementing the strategy that more of everything is better. The film has a bigger cast, new and improved Jaegers, and even more deadly Kaiju to fight this time around that will bring on an all-out assault on humanity. With the time jump allowing for the PPDC (Pan Pacific Defense Corps) to become a bigger organization and global protection service, the story looks to be bigger than ever here. The sequel will in turn introduce several new elements to the world of Pacific Rim (locations, characters, and so forth) that can be further explored in potential sequels.

While it is hardly a surprise that a major studio has franchise hopes in mind for an upcoming blockbuster, Uprising still has to deliver before any sequels move forward. While Pacific Rim was mostly well-received, it only made $411 million worldwide (and just over $100M domestically) on a reported $190 million budget. The budget of the sequel is unknown, but it can’t be that much less given the visual nature of this franchise. If Uprising is going to be the launching point for more Pacific Rim movies, then it will need to dominate the box office when it arrives next year.

NEXT: First Pacific Rim Uprising Trailer Released

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