For a while there, Pacific Rim: Maelstrom was very much in limbo. With the first Pacific Rim having had somewhat middle-of-the-road domestic box office sales bolstered by considerable success at the international box office, its sequel was an on again, off again, on again affair for quite some time.
Fans were put at ease when a release date for Pacific Rim 2 was finally announced following the addition of Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega to its lineup. With a firm release date in place and a high-profile actor sure to draw some attention from sci-fi movie fans, the sequel finally seems like a sure thing. But with Boyega added to the cast, will any of the previous cast be M.I.A. for the sequel?
In a recent interview with THR, Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro was asked that very question in regards to actors Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi. His response may disappoint those who were hoping for a full return of the movie's cast, but also leaves room for hope that they will make an appearance:
"As a producer I learned not to declare anything about a movie I’m not directing. I can tell you this — a lot of the cast from the first movie is coming back. I leave those communications to [Pacific Rim 2 director] Steven DeKnight. He’s not only a director, but he’s actually a guy I respect and admire and it’s his movie."
While del Toro is happy to leave the major (and potentially controversial) casting announcements to DeKnight, he is also not shy about praising the casting decisions that have been announced. When asked about the addition of Boyega to the team, del Toro was complimentary of the actor:
"I admire him tremendously. The idea for me is that this is a continuation of the great leadership character that was Idris Elba. It’s a very different character but I love the idea of having a main character who is not a white Anglo-Saxon guy. Before the heated conversation about diversity in film started we were doing Pacific Rim. And I think that universe is a huge proponent of that."
Now that Pacific Rim 2 has a release date, a big-name actor, a director from a critically lauded TV show, and a writer with experience dealing with large creatures, all that remains is for the movie to actually get made. It may have been a long time coming and constantly on the verge of getting canceled, but it looks like things are finally coming together for the continuation of del Toro's kaiju vs. giant robots franchise.
Pacific Rim: Maelstrom is expected to hit theaters on February 23, 2018.