Pacific Rim Uprising won't see many familiar faces from the first movie, yet in new footage which was released at Tokyo Comic-Con, actress Rinko Kikuchi, who played Mako Mori, has confirmed her return. The return is a bit of a surprising reveal (albeit a welcome one) because Charlie Hunnam who played Mako's drift partner, Raleigh Becket, will not be back for the sequel, which is jumping ahead a few years in time.
The new footage is less a trailer and more of a mix of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, spliced together with some material from the movie. In the interviews, stars John Bogeya, Scott Eastwood and Cailee Spaeny, as well as Uprising director Steven S. DeKnight, talk about the movie and why they felt the story of the sequel needed to be told. It's during this line of interviews that Rinko Kikuchi appears and although she speaks entirely in Japanese, some plot details can be gleamed from her appearance.
Rinko is dressed in character during the interview and Mako is wearing what appears to be the uniform of a relatively high-ranking official. The interview comes around the time that Steven S. DeKnight is explaining that Uprising tells the story of a global conflict and international organization. It's reasonable to assume then that since the events of Pacific Rim, Mako has risen esteem and influence. She did, after all, save the world in the previous movie. Perhaps Mako will even take on a mentorship role to the new jaegar pilots in a similar way that Idris Elba's Stacker, who is the father of John Boegya's Jake Pentecost, led the first group of pilots.
Fans of the first Pacific Rim shouldn't get their hopes up too much about seeing a lot of Mako Mori. Although Mako will be apart of the sequel in some capacity, Pacific Rim Uprising still seems like it will very much Jake Pentecost's story, along with his fellow new characters. Rinko Kikuchi has little more than a cameo in the new footage / trailer. Otherwise, the sneak peek is devoted almost entirely to Bogeya and the rest of the new blood. The impression is that unlike the first movie, which was more less a contained story, Pacific Rim Uprising is looking to create a franchise. Uprising will be sequel to the first movie but it feels as if it's also being created to be a fresh start.
It's an interesting approach to take and not just because the first Pacific Rim was far from a smash hit, domestically - although it did quite well internationally. This new franchise approach for Pacific Rim might mean that Mako's appearance in Uprising will amount to little more than ceremonial passing of the torch. Fans will just have to wait and see when the film premieres. At the very least, Uprising promises a ton of jaegar on kaju action, which ultimately is what the movies should really deliver.
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