Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro's Gothic romance/horror thriller Crimson Peak will open in theaters just a few weeks before production starts on del Toro's next directorial effort: Pacific Rim 2, the sequel to his Japanese giant mecha genre-inspired 2013 tentpole. The original Pacific Rim laid the foundation for a larger franchise to be built upon, and that is exactly what is happening right now (with a Pacific Rim animated series and comic books also being developed, along with the film sequel).
Pacific Rim 2 will require extensive production and post-production work to brings its futuristic world of enormous robots and monsters to life, which is why del Toro has been gearing up to start filming by Fall 2015 for much of the past year. It appears the project remains on course to make that launch date, even after Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures elected to push its originally-scheduled theatrical release date back by four months.
Official details on Pacific Rim 2 are currently hard to come by, though at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con (where he was promoting Crimson Peak) del Toro reaffirmed the filming start date for the Pacific Rim sequel - with a story that picks up a few years after the events of the first movie and focuses more on the mythology behind the Kaiju. Global News (hat tip BMD) is reporting that Pacific Rim 2 will begin shooting at Pinewood Toronto Studios in November 2015, under the working title Maelstrom.
It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility that Pacific Rim 2 will end up being called Pacific Rim: Maelstrom or something along those lines, seeing as subtitles are very much in fashion for upcoming Hollywood sequels right now (for example, Independence Day: Resurgence) and Maelstrom seems appropriate for this particular franchise. However, much as the in-development Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) sequel won't necessarily retain its working title (Half-Shell) as a subtitle, Pacific Rim 2 might end up with a different subtitle (if any) altogether.
Many sequels have fallen into the trap of retreading too many plot beats from their predecessor, but del Toro has indicated that Pacific Rim 2 should be able to avoid making such a mistake. To be exact, the filmmaker previously said it's going to be "quite a jump" from the first movie to the followup, where the Kaijus are no longer attacking Earth (and Jaeger technology is being used for different purposes). Once upon a time, del Toro was even considering making quirky scientist Newt (Charlie Day) an antagonist in the Pacific Rim sequel, though such plans may've been long abandoned by now.
The commercial success (or lack thereof) of Pacific Rim 2 will determine whether or not the franchise lives on for a third installment, though it sounds as though del Toro already has some ideas in mind for what Pacific Rim 3 would be about. Then again, if the Pacific Rim sequel is a box office success, then it seems del Toro's pipe dream would be to finish another trilogy of his, before returning to the world of Kaijus and Jaegers a third time...
Pacific Rim 2 opens in U.S. theaters on August 4th, 2017.