Paul Austerberry reveals Guillermo del Toro’s original vision for Pacific Rim 2. Universal Pictures released del Toro’s monster mash movie, Pacific Rim, in 2013. Although the movie earned decent reviews from critics and was generally liked by audiences, it underperformed at the domestic box office and relied entirely upon its international haul to justify future installments. While del Toro originally planned on making Pacific Rim 2 himself in addition to developing a tie-in TV series, he, unfortunately, had to bow out in February 2016.
Spartacus creator and Marvel’s Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight took over directing duties for the sequel, entitled Pacific Rim Uprising, and shepherded the sequel from story through post-production. DeKnight and The Maze Runner scribe T.S. Nowlin came up with Uprising‘s story and co-wrote the screenplay alongside The 100‘s Kira Snyder and The Adventures of Ledo and Ix‘s Emily Carmichael. Together, they brought about a story that’s drastically different than the one del Toro envisioned for the franchise’s second installment. Although audiences will never see del Toro’s version on the big screen, that doesn’t mean they can’t know what the acclaimed filmmaker had planned.
While promoting Guillermo del Toro’s latest film, The Shape of Water, production designer Paul Austerberry briefly discussed what del Toro’s vision for Pacific Rim 2 entailed in an interview with Collider. You can read his comments below.
I don’t know what happened but I think the script completely changed. But when we were doing it we were set in Shanghai, that’s why we were scouting in China. We had some scenes in Shanghai and we were using the river and the craziness of Shanghai as our backdrop, it was sort of a wall at the end of the river. And then we were in the desert because there were scenes in the desert and we went way into the desert to some amazing landscapes to use as part of our background.
And then, of course, I think we finished in the west coast, I think it was San Francisco that we were gonna end up in. San Francisco, where so many disaster movies take place (laughs). We were gonna destroy it with the great big battle between the kaiju and the big robots, so that was gonna be pretty exciting.
Austerberry’s point about destroying San Francisco is interesting because the last kaiju movie to release was Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, and that film’s entire third act took place in San Francisco. Godzilla’s battle with the MUTOs ultimately razed San Francisco to the ground. What’s more, Brad Peyton’s 2015 disaster film, San Andreas, also had the city brought down by earthquakes and tsunamis.
Overall, it seems del Toro’s Pacific Rim 2 would’ve been considerably different than the one releasing in March, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. DeKnight’s sequel takes place 10 years after the events of the first movie and lays the foundation for more stories to be told, if the studio plans on continuing the Pacific Rim franchise beyond Uprising. The sequel brings back Charlie Day as Dr. Newt Geiszler and Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, as well as Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori, while also introducing audiences to John Boyega’s Jake Pentecost, Scott Eastwood’s Nate Lambert, and Cailee Spaeny’s Amara Namani, among others.
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