Director Steven S. DeKnight reveals Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam almost returned for Pacific Rim Uprising – and could still return for another film in the franchise. Hunnam starred in the original 2013 film from director Guillermo del Toro. Pacific Rim followed Hunnam's Raleigh Becket who returned to the role of a Jaeger pilot after the death of his brother some years before. Becket teams up with the adopted daughter of General Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), with whom he's drift compatible. Along with other Jaeger pilots, Becket and Mori are able to close the rift through which the terrifying Kaiju kept appearing and terrorizing Earth.
The story of Pacific Rim Uprising picks up many years after the events of the first film, during a time when the Jaeger program has been revitalized. The sequel stars John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, the son of General Stacker, and Scott Eastwood as Nate Lambert. Though Pacific Rim Uprising also sees the return of Kikuchi as Mako Mori, Charlie Day as Dr. Newt Geiszler, and Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, the majority of the sequel's cast is made up of newcomers to the series. This wasn't originally the plan, as director DeKnight - who took over from del Toro - reveals the sequel was all set to follow Hunnam's Raleigh Becket for another adventure.
In an interview with Screen Rant while promoting the upcoming release of Pacific Rim Uprising, DeKnight revealed just how far into the scripting process he had come before it became clear Hunnam wouldn't be able to return. Plus, the director reveals whether there's still room for Hunnam to return in a potential future installment of the Pacific Rim franchise.
Absolutely! Charlie Hunnam and I sat down and talked about this movie. We actually wrote an entire script with Raleigh Becket as the main character. I turned it in. Everybody loved it and the next day it was announced he was doing the remake of Papillon, which shot at the exact same time we were, and I know it was a passion project for Charlie. I love Charlie. I would love to work with him. There is definitely room in the franchise to bring him back.
It was officially revealed that Hunnam wouldn't return for the Pacific Rim sequel while he was promoting his then-upcoming film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, when he explained the scheduling conflict that prevented him from piloting a Jaeger in Uprising. Additionally, Del Toro left when Pacific Rim Uprising was delayed and he decided to instead work on The Shape of Water, his Academy Award-winning ode to classic cinema and monster flicks. Considering the success of The Shape of Water it's easy to see why del Toro chose to move on, and it opened up the Pacific Rim franchise for a new director to take the helm.
It remains to be seen what's in store for the future of the Pacific Rim series beyond Uprising. The first film received decent enough reviews and performed well at the international box office, but wasn't a hit domestically when it arrived in theaters in 2013. It did, however, inspire a devoted fan following that is eager to finally see the followup this year. Now, depending on the critical and financial success of Pacific Rim Uprising, the series could continue on for another installment, which could bring Hunnam back if he doesn't have another conflict.
Whether or not Pacific Rim continues beyond Uprising, fans will get to see Boyega and Eastwood gear up for the highly anticipated sequel later this month. Perhaps we'll even find out where Hunnam's character is that he couldn't return to battle. We'll see when Pacific Rim Uprising hits theaters.
- Pacific Rim Uprising (2018) release date: Mar 23, 2018